We should never take mountains lightly. Because, as this short film makes beautifully clear, the processes that combine to create, sustain and, ultimately, destroy the world’s mountains are elemental, powerful and deep with meaning — meaning that may exceed our capacity to measure. One line from the narration captures the essence of mountains perfectly: “All the good and evil things that happen in the world are of no consequence to the magnitude of their scale.”
The fight to preserve wilderness is not waged by just wooly-headed radicals and bleeding-heart intellectuals. It’s an issue with advocates on all sides, including hard-working, down-to-earth farmers, ranchers and guides in Montana, where the controversial Heritage Act — designed to identify new wilderness and manage non-wilderness lands — has pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Long thought to be extinct, the Lord Howe Island stick insect was rediscovered under a bush on a desolate craggy island peak far off the coast of Australia. This lushly animated documentary tells the story about a remarkable creature — the Dryococelusaustralis is so large that it was nicknamed the “tree lobster” — thought to have gone the way of the dodo nearly a hundred years ago. Sticky highlights a group of intrepid and passionate scientists who went on a climbing adventure in an almost prehistoric place, resulting in a wonderful conservation success story.
Juan Martinez grew up in urban Los Angeles, but when he stepped off a bus in Grand Teton National Park in 1999 and saw the stars for the first time, he knew his life would be in the outdoors. He became an emerging explorer for National Geographic and in 2012, met Vanessa Torres, a Grand Teton park ranger whose background from a family of Mexican-American migrant workers was similar to his. This short film tells the story of their love for the park and growing romance with each other.
Fighting threats of poaching, habitat destruction and the instability of new national independence, a community in Namibia must protect the exceptional local wildlife and surrounding natural environment. Sustainable wildlife tourism is essential to their survival, but frustrated farmers often shoot a lion that kills livestock. Residents take conservation efforts into their own hands, assuming personal responsibility to protect the free-roaming lions and other wildlife.
If Wes Anderson were inspired to make a surf film, it might look like The Fortune Wild. Borrowing from Anderson’s signature style, director Ben Gulliver creates a witty and light-hearted film about a beautiful wild area — Haida Gwaii, a chain of wave-swept, lushly forested islands off the British Columbia mainland. Surfing, camping and foraging for food on the unspoiled beaches, three surfers step away from the modern world and into a quieter — and quirkier — existence that is both more attuned and self-sufficient.