As our staff and volunteers have been busily preparing for the 6th annual Colorado Environmental Film Festival, the question came up as to how the whole thing started in the first place. Well…
When in Washington DC in March, 2005 it was suggested that I might want to catch a film at the 10 day long Environmental Film Festival. I did, and was astounded at the number of people who attended. As I left the film, I mentioned to the woman walking next to me that we, in Colorado, were missing the opportunity to provide environmental education to the segment of our population who do not attend our typical environmental workshops, hikes, or programs; but, who might come to watch an influential and entertaining film.
When I returned home, I mentioned the idea to a few colleagues and after researching other environmental film festivals in the country, we presented our first Colorado Environmental Film Festival (CEFF) in 2006 -- as a program of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. We purchased a “Best of Fest” touring package of films from the 3 year old Wild and Scenic film festival, and although we attracted only 50 viewers, we considered it a great first event and learning experience.
We decided that we’d screen and select films the following year from the “Without a Box” service. Our committee gained new members, some of whom were filmmakers, and we crafted an event that provides a much needed venue to present films with messages that need to be seen, heard and discussed.
We considered two festival models. The Washington DC model consists of many different venues all over the metro area each showing a film or two during the same 10 day period. Meanwhile, the Wild and Scenic or Telluride Film Festival model, stays in one small community and involves multiple businesses within walking distance, in the films, parties, forums and accommodations.
We chose the latter model and plan to stay in Golden, Colorado, working to gain support and collaboration from local businesses. The City of Golden has proven an invaluable partner, appreciating the business CEFF brings to town during the off-season.