‘The Last Mountain’ returns to Park City | ParkRecord.com

‘The Last Mountain’ returns to Park City

The Summit Land Conservancy is hosting its third SYRCL Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Thursday, March 31 in the Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library building.

The main feature will be Bill Haney’s "The Last Mountain," which was one of the Official Selections of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

The documentary, featuring activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is about the impact of mountaintop-removal coal mining in Coal River Valley, W.V.

Summit Land Conservancy Executive Director Cheryl Fox said the film ties into the conservancy’s mission.

"The Summit Land Conservancy is a local nonprofit organization based in Park City that promotes sustainability and saves open space in Summit County," she said during an interview with The Park Record. "’The Last Mountain’ is a great film that will inspire and make some people squirm. It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking and dovetails what we’re trying to do to a certain extent. We’re not fighting coal mining here, but we’re trying to be sustainable."

Getting the film was a coup this year, Fox said.

"One of our board members, Richard Sheinberg, was able to meet Bill Haney at Sundance," she said. "Bill learned about our organization and agreed to bring his film to the film festival."

Haney will introduce the film and hold a question-and-answer session during a reception immediately following the screening, Fox said.

"We feel like it’s a great fit for Park City because it loves film and the people here are very passionate about conservation and sustainability," she said.

The SYRCL (South Yuba River Citizens League) Wild & Scenic Film Festival, which originates in California, is organized into packages so groups across the country can share interesting, inspiring environmental films, Fox said.

"It’s also the Summit Land Conservancy’s annual fundraiser," she said. "Without broad membership support, it’s harder for us to do our work to save open space. Memberships help us with advocacy and general awareness of open spaces and of our own properties. This is why we put this festival on every year."

In addition to "The Last Mountain," the Wild & Scenic Film Festival will screen five short films during the evening.

"The short films are quirky, eclectic and, while they all have an environmental theme, they can be everything from a documentary to a spoof," Fox explained.

Here is a list of the short films:

"Open Space," by Jeremy Roberts, examines the West’s threatened open-space assets and what the public can do to protect them.

"The Fishman," by Kathy Kasic, documents her husband Mike as he swims the rivers in Yellowstone National Park with a camera, giving audiences a glimpse of the ecosystems under the surface.

"Crossroads," also by Jeremy Roberts, is about conserving the shrinking sage-grouse habitat, and is pertinent to Summit County because of its sage-grouse population.

"The Majestic Plastic Bag," a mocumentary by Jeremy Konner, features narration by Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, and follows a plastic bag from a supermarket to the Pacific Ocean.

"Sense of Place," by the Summit Land Conservancy, talks about some of the organization’s conservation works.

The short films are designed to be funny, thought provoking or both, Fox said.

"A lot of times with environmental issues, there is a lot of doom and gloom, which can be daunting for someone who wants to help," she said. "Cynicism is our greatest enemy. I think the film festival helps fight that cynicism, because it gets people engaged and emotionally involved and shows them they can make a difference, even if it’s just taking their reusable bags to the grocery store or turning off their lights."

SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival, featuring Bill Haney’s "The Last Mountain," will take place at the Jim Santy Auditorium on the Park City Library Building, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, March 31. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the film screenings or $30 for the films and after-screening reception. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.summitlandconservancy.org or at the door.

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