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EARTHWATCH

Eco-Video : Film festival screens camcorder footage compiling a record of environmental wrongs.

April 25, 1991|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Terry Moore hefts her camcorder and trudges off to 10 hours of dump patrol.

"I'm just a local citizen exercising my right to document what's going on at the landfill," the Indiana farm woman says.

Six months and a couple of congressional testimonies later, she is on the "Phil Donahue Show." He asks her, "What got you so pumped up about this?" She replies with a level gaze, "Without the video, the message that the East Coast trucks were using Indiana as an illegal dump would not have gotten out. You have to go after the problem any way you can. Do it in a positive manner."

Moore is among a growing number of Americans who have put in long hours with a camcorder to compile a record of environmental wrongs. And now you can see some of this footage at the Aveda U. S. Environmental Film Festival that opens today in Santa Monica.

Two of the events I recommend, chosen from among the hundred films and hundred speakers, will be presented Saturday. "Camcorders: Activists on the Air--Workshop and Panel Discussion" is at 2 p.m. at Loews Hotel. And "Humor and the Environment: Those Wacky Environmentalists" is at 9:30 p.m. at the Monica Theatre.

One film, "The Last Supper" by Charlie Haid, is a dark satire with a horrified hostess who watches her guests ignore her delicacies while they discuss the harmful ingredients in the food.

In Ventura County, the camcorder is just beginning to be used as an environmental tool. But last month, the Tri-Valley Environmental Committee, a coalition of environmentalists, launched a regular TV show on public access cable Channel 8.

To make sure that they cover topics that interest you, please call them. You can also suggest that Channel 8 broadcast any of the productions being shown at the Environmental Film Festival.

Some environmental programming has been getting around the country lately by satellite dish. Deep Dish TV Network collects and redistributes it free--the eco-video equivalent of share-ware. Ventura County Cablevision has used this network to record and telecast episodes of "Green Screen," Deep Dish's environmental series. In Santa Barbara, it will be carried on cable Channel 19 starting May 7 at 9 p.m.

Peter and Jeannette Scovill of the Tri-Valley Environmental Committee underwent months of volunteer technical training before they began producing their show on Channel 8. They earn their bread and butter elsewhere as computer consultants.

Their show, and dozens like it, is part of the movement toward public access TV. In the series "Green Screen," distributed to 350 cable stations by Deep Dish, the footage may someday be transmitted nationally. Kevin Duggan, who weaves all this together for Deep Dish, says he wanted to "get the stories from the horse's mouth."

Folks, do you know what this could mean? Maybe it could mean no more Dan Rather. Just the likes of farmer Moore from Indiana. Uncensored. There are no anchors or sponsors on Deep Dish.

All this leads me to refer you to a picture Los Angeles Times cartoonist Paul Conrad drew last week. He showed a bomb disposal expert, hooded, protected and booted, delicately bearing an object to the place of detonation. The object was a video camcorder.

* FYI

* The Aveda U. S. Environmental Film Festival opens today and continues through Sunday in Santa Monica at the Mann and Monica theaters. For information, call (213) 285-8685.

* Ventura County Cablevision (Channel 8), "Focus on the Environment" every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m. To suggest an item, call Peter or Jeannette Scovill of the Tri-Valley Environmental Committee at 492-0811.

* "Bearing Witness--Homemade Tapes from the Environmental Front" produced by Karen Hirsch, a 25-minute video from Greenpeace. Call Dave Wakeline at (213) 842-9181. Send $10 to Greenpeace, Box V, 1436 U St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.

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