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Free Double Feature of Environmental Films


How do you approach an angry 15-foot python? Are chimpanzees really ticklish? Brooklyn, NY filmmaker Mariah Wilson answers these questions and raises many more in her heartfelt eco-adventure documentary, Volunteer. Wilson will be in town screening her film as part of the Whaleback Environmental Film Festival's double feature on May 21 at the Portsmouth Public Library from 6:30-8:30 pm. (Click title for full article) 

Wilson's film is quick-paced and entertaining, bringing us with her on a journey to see how - for the price of a plane ticket - we can help affect global change.

"After stumbling across a sea turtle conservation program while on a trip in Costa Rica, I was inspired to embark on my own environmental adventure," Wilson explains. Setting off on a volunteering voyage, she experienced two conservation programs on opposite sides of the world. One of those programs focused on endangered and threatened animals in Africa and the other on coral reefs in Fiji.

"Not knowing what I might find," she continues, "I decided to bring a small camera along and make a volunteering video diary of my experiences in order to inspire others to make their own cross-continental conservation excursions." The result is an engaging film that brings the audience behind the scenes with Wilson to raise a young serval kitten, clean python cages, count butterfly fish along a coral reef, and even get an underwater teeth cleaning.


Wilson will be in Portsmouth for the Whaleback Festival to introduce us to her film and participate in an informal filmmaker Q & A following the screening. Volunteer has also been screened at the Red Rock Film Festival, Williamsburg International Film Festival, and was awarded a Jury Prize from the Honolulu Film Awards.

Only 500 left? Whaleback Festival continues its support of student films by opening the evening with a screening of The Right Whale: Urbanizes, a short film by high-school senior, Noelle Anderson. Edited and directed by Anderson when she was sixteen, this 14-minute film outlines the history and future of the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Researchers Scott Krauss and Rosalind Rolland of the New England Aquarium narrate the film, examining the threats that the North Atlantic Right Whale has faced over the past two centuries, as well as the solutions that need to be further researched.

Wednesday's double feature is a free event, hosted by the Portsmouth Public Library from 6:30-8:30pm. More information and event details can be found on the festival website at

Whaleback is organized by The Red Eft Project, a nonprofit headquartered in Portsmouth that fosters conservation and environmental protection through research, education, and opportunities to explore and connect with nature. To find out more about Red Eft, visit The Festival is named after the iconic lighthouse that marks the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. Like Whaleback Light, the festival illuminates and draws in stories celebrating our environmental culture.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018 
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