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Conserve Sauk Film Festival November 9!

A free international film festival with a local focus debuts from 2 PM to 9 PM on Saturday, November 9 at the UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County campus. Covering topics including local and Midwestern conservation, sea turtles, coral reefs, howler monkeys, California predator hunts, threatened bird populations, and conservation history, Conserve Sauk Film Festival will showcase 22 films highlighting conservation topics relevant to Sauk County and its residents.

“We have a unique and rich conservation legacy in Sauk County and the Driftless Area”, explains Film Fest planner Justine Bula. “From the writings of Leopold to the grassroots conservation efforts guided by the International Crane Foundation, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, visionary Rob Horwich, Millie Zantow and many more, Sauk County has had a global impact on conservation. We have selected a group of films that reflect this legacy, remind us of what we can accomplish when we work together, and challenges us to face new and emerging conservation issues, both large and small.”

Featured films include The Biggest Little Farm, detailing the 8-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature; Decoding the Driftless, a breathtaking exploration of the archaeology, paleontology, geology, and biology of the Driftless region; the inspirational, regenerative agriculture documentary Farmer’s Footprint; the classic Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, produced in part by the Aldo Leopold Foundation; Journey of the Whooping Crane, telling the story of the recovery of what was once North America’s most endangered bird; and Living in the Park, which follows grassroots conservationists from southwest Wisconsin in their work here and around the world.

Complementing these documentaries will be screenings of 16 finalists in the Conserve Sauk film contest held for amateur and independent filmmakers. Awards for the finalists include the Alliance’s Restoring the Sauk Prairie: A Story of Hope and Healing, the unanimous selection for Best of Fest. Produced by Kurt Wenger and Jeff Elsoffer, in association with the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, it follows the grassroots effort to create a new future for the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Killing Games: Wildlife in the Crosshairs was selected for Best Interpretation of a Conservation Theme. The film’s producer and director is the award-winning, California-based conservationist Camilla Fox, working with Project Coyote. Anders Gurda’s documentary Of Connection and Renewal: The Historic Apple Trees of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant produced for the Alliance was selected for Best Production and Cinematography. Three films won Honorable Mention: Treasures from the Tides, UK biologist Catherine Brookes’ story of a small rural community’s protection of sea turtle nesting beaches in El Salvador; and two Midwestern films about bird conservation and banding, Bracelets for Birds by Charles Johannsen; and Fight for Flight by Jason Whalen. In addition to these awards, the Fan Favorite will be selected by attendees at the festival.

Throughout the festival, facilitated discussions will allow audiences to engage filmmakers about subject matter and the creative process. The festival will conclude with an awards ceremony at 8:00 PM where Matt Krueger, Executive Director of The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association will be the keynote speaker and all awards will be presented.

Conserve Sauk Film Festival is open to the public, and admission is free. Conserve Sauk Film Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Sauk County UW Extension, Arts, & Culture Committee and Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Other sponsors include UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, Wisconsin Farmer’s Union, Sauk County Pheasants Forever, Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park, Friends of the (UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County) Campus Inc., International Crane Foundation, Baraboo Range Preservation Association, Devil’s Lake Climbing Guides, The Nature Conservancy, Bekah Kate’s, Sauk County Conservation Network, Sauk County Land Resources and Environment Department, Baraboo Public Library, and Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Further information and a complete lineup of films for Conserve Sauk Film Festival may be found at

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