• Sitka Conservation Society, other groups to host Sitka Food Film Festival on Feb. 22-24

Food Film FestThe Sitka Conservation Society and several other partners will host the Sitka Food Film Festival on Friday through Sunday, Feb. 22-24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Larkspur Cafe. The films are free, but donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

In addition to the dozen films, the festival will feature an appearance by Tlingít chef Robert Kinneen about the Store Outside Your Door (a project with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) promoting healthy traditional foods). There also will be a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency (food security).

The festival opens with a feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Larkspur Cafe.

On Saturday at Harrigan Centennial Hall, the schedule includes Ratatouille (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Ingredients at 12:30 p.m., End of the Line at 2:30 p.m., Two Angry Moms at 3:45 p.m., followed by a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday’s schedule concludes with another feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. at the Larkspur Cafe.

Sunday’s schedule at Harrigan Centennial Hall opens with A Feast At Midnight (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Food Fight at 12:30 p.m., Bitter Seeds at 2:30 p.m., and Food Stamped at 4 p.m. Robert Kinneen is the keynote speaker at 6 p.m., discussing the Store Outside Your Door and showing film shorts from the project. The festival concludes at 7 p.m. with The Economics of Happiness.

Besides the Sitka Conservation Society, the film festival is sponsored by the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, SEARHC, Sitka Food Co-op, ArtChange Inc., Sitka Film Society, Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co., and the Larkspur Cafe. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Tracy Gagnon with the Sitka Conservation Society and Andrianna Natsoulas with the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust were interviewed on KCAW-Raven Radio’s Morning Edition program about the film festival, and you can click here to listen to the interview.

• Sitka groups band together to host the movie ‘Vanishing of the Bees’

The Sitka Film Society, Sitka Global Warming Group/Sustainable Sitka and the Sitka Local Foods Network are teaming up to present the movie “Vanishing of the Bees” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the Coliseum Theatre.

This is a special Earth Week presentation (Earth Week is April 17-23, and Earth Day is Friday, April 22). Tickets are $8 and available from Old Harbor Books.

The movie, narrated by Ellen Page, describes a recent phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, where entire hives of bees die off, leaving hives full of honey other bees won’t touch (normally when a hive dies off, other bees will raid the hive and take the honey). The loss of the bees is of critical concern for farmers and gardeners because honey bees are one of the major ways crops are pollinated. Without these bees pollinating the crops, we lose our ability to grow much of our food.

Here is the synopsis posted on the movie’s website:

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss.

Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.