Memory Lane: Recalling “Forests in Crisis” (2005)

Editor’s Note:  “The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”  William Faulkner

The NWAF! blog isn’t the first time Shoshone County, Idaho has been active in the great debate over our national forests.  For instance, back in 2005 then county commissioners Jim Vergobbi, Sherry Krulitz, and Jon Cantamessa committed $20,000 of Title III SRS educational funds to the production of a documentary film on what was then called, simply, “Craig-Wyden.”

Robin Stanley, Mullan’s school superintendent, was the film’s main instigator (and, incidentally, has played a key role in the launching of the NWAF! blog as well). The Pulaski Project, a local nonprofit with a forestry- and wildfire-related mission, offered a convenient organizational vehicle for the film’s production. We were very fortunate to secure the services of Nancy Hanks, a Wallace resident and professional film specialist and videographer, who became the film’s chief producer, director, and editor. I (Ron Roizen) was chiefly responsible for researching the film and constructing the script.

Now, in 2013, eight years later, the film’s narrative is definitely dated in a number of respects. For one thing, the nation’s financial meltdown happened in 2008, three year’s after the film’s release. With the meltdown came, of course, a new era of heightened federal preoccupation with deficits, national debt, and expenditures. Still, much of the film’s story has relevance today.

It turns out that producing a film like this — on a shoestring — is a little like herding cats. Everybody has a stake in what the film should convey but nobody’s hopes are ever fully satisfied. The production process, moreover, doesn’t really come to a conclusion. Instead, the money runs out at some point and everybody collectively decides to leave it where it stands. Yet, and despite all the frustrations of the process, what emerged was not, I believe, entirely unsuccessful.

“Forests in Crisis” runs just short of a half-hour. Enjoy!

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