Feb 13, 2010

Film Festival Success: How to put on a great event.

The former school for wayward girls is an imposing building with narrow east facing windows and a campus of manicured lawns and driving lanes. The Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford did bring one’s thoughts to shepherding those lost sheep back into the fold of the flock, as well as stop any signs of social shenanigans. It was also the location of the first annual Environmental Film Festival brought to fruition by Sustainable Seattle on Thursday February 11, 2010.

Driving up to the venue you pass the neighborhood of Wallingford on your north and south and pass commercial districts, restaurants and gas stations before entering a purely residential area where homes are pulled back from the two way, park on both sides of the street, area.

People began filing in past the table manned by Marketing Director Gabriel Tevrizian to collect the last minute donations and suggested price for entrance. Gabe was welcoming and excited as more and more people came, filling the venue to its capacity.

The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly with Taylor Shellfish Farms providing organically grown oysters and other shellfish with the only requirement of the participants to enjoy their fair.

Also there were pastries from Trophy Cupcakes and the gathering was dotted with staff members from Sustainable Seattle ready and willing to engage with the participants.

Before the film festival began there was an informal session of chatting and networking as participants and staff shared their passion for the environment, sustainability and practical solutions to some of the concerns that brought us to this screening.

The films from filmmaker/consultant Shelly Solomon were beautifully shot around the concept of sustainable community development around shellfish, reclamation projects and natural farming.

The first film was a documentary on the reclamation project to save the Pinto Abalone in the Puget Sound. The film focused on a project spearheaded by the Puget Sound Foundation to bring back a native species that has seen a steady decline in its numbers since the fifties.

In the middle of the film festival there was a panel discussion with a few of the principles of the films with the audience asking questions ranging from sustainability to profitability. The panelists were gracious and informative and they shared in simple, truthful terms the challenges and rewards that their work in sustainability has brought them.

The conclusion of the evening saw people with smiles on their faces, ideas in their hearts and a renewed appreciation for the efforts that are happening right in our backyards to increase the likelihood of future generations to enjoy the beauty and bounty of our blessed region.

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