20,000 Frames Under the Sea

We’ll be feeling the pinch of the drought years in just a few short months, as reservoirs shrink and we’re compelled to reduce our water usage. Sometimes, though, it takes a little inspiration (or old-fashioned peer pressure) to embrace our responsibility to the community. The sixth annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival has just the ticket, spotlighting a pair of splendid documentaries about uncommonly determined Earth-loving individuals among its usual cascade of eye-popping travelogues, blood-quickening maritime adventures, and vibrant ethnographies. Ron Colby’s Pirate for the Sea (Feb. 20) is a love-him-or-hate-him portrait of the Canadian take-no-prisoners ecowarrior Paul Watson, who puts his ship, life, and reputation on the line to protect the big creatures of the deep from human marauders. Too extreme for his country’s Greenpeace chapter (which he cofounded), Watson sets out on his own course, making enemies and even a few friends along the way. Passions run nearly as deep in local filmmakers Bill Chayes and Chuck Olin’s Call It Home: Searching for Truth on Bolinas Lagoon (Feb. 22). The loyal, iconoclastic community that has lived for decades on the lagoon grapples with various solutions to the gradual silting that is slowly reducing the lagoon’s depth. Citizen participation is a marvelous thing, though sometimes it’s smart to start at the shallow end.
Feb. 20-22, 2009

 
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