Wildlife Film Fest double feature features extraordinary new research and photography.
The International Wildlife Film Festival's Post-Festival Tour continues this Friday, March 14 at 7 pm at the Ukiah Civic Center with two films, "Birds of Paradise" and "Smarty Plants." The first film reveals a fascinating world of birds on the other side of the planet, while the second unfolds the amazing forms of plant communication taking place right under our feet. "Birds of Paradise" (46 min.) portrays the astounding beauty of 39 of the most exquisitely specialized animals on earth. In expeditions to New Guinea, Australia and nearby islands, Cornell Lab scientist Ed Scholes and National Geographic photojournalist Tim Laman tackle impenetrable jungle and extreme elevations, where these birds have evolved some of the most bizarre and beautiful mating adaptations on earth. To Scholes, an evolutionary biologist, these 39 species are a crowning example of the power of sexual selection to generate biological diversity. To Laman, photographing these spectacularly ornamented birds was its own reward, in spite of the hardships involved. Joining forces in 2003, the pair spent nearly a decade on their quest. Also playing is "Smarty Plants" (52 min.). This film takes us on a journey into the real "secret world of plants," revealing an astonishing landscape where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their allies, call in insect mercenaries and nurture their young. It's a world of pulsing activity, where plants communicate, cooperate, and sometimes wage all-out war. "Smarty Plants" proves that plants are a lot less passive and a whole lot smarter than most people think. The films will show at the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue with live music by Shar 'n Chris (Chris Gibson and Shar Jacobs) starting at 6:20 pm and the films beginning at 7. Tickets are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the door for a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Proceeds from the film festival are an important funding source for the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), a special program of the Ukiah Unified School District that provides outdoor environmental education programs to over 2,000 students a year. For a full program of the film series and more information about the RVOEP visit its website, www.rvoep.org <http://www.rvoep.org> or call 472-5258.
— Roberta Werdinger