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San Diego County, California

Record Attendance For VMF's 4th Annual Julian Film Festival

It was lights, camera, NATURE for the Volcan Mountain Foundation's 2015 Julian Film Festival on August 21st & 22nd. Film-goers turned out like never before for the San Diego County backcountry's celebration of nature and the environment through the art of film.

The record audiences really embraced the move from spring to summer for the 4th annual festival, but especially packed the house for 'OR7-The Journey' which won the festival's Audience Choice Award, and for which an additional 20 seats were brought over from the library for the afternoon session. The film documented the journey of OR7, a grey wolf which was collared in Oregon and eventually dispersed from his pack into Northern California. Erin Hunt, Director of Operations for the California Wolf Center, along with her colleague, Karin Vardaman, spoke after the film about the wolf populations that are expanding from the Pacific Northwest into Northern California. Ms. Hunt, who also appeared in the film, accepted the award on behalf of film-maker Clemens Schenk, who was unable to attend.

The Best of the Festival Award was presented to San Diego film-maker Bill Wisneski for his Emmy-nominated documentary 'Breaking Point' which focuses on a critical water issue and a potential environmental crisis in Southern California. Mr. Wisneski was on hand to present more information and give a call to action to help save the Salton Sea, California's largest lake, which is rapidly disappearing and close to reaching an ecological breaking point.

The spirit of a small town similar to Julian, was celebrated with the Spirit of the Festival Award which was given to 'Dryden: The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game'. David Braun, co-founder of Americans Against Fracking and New Yorkers Against Fracking, spoke passionately and informatively about the broad range of concerns about fracking, and also received the award on behalf of Earthjustice multimedia producer, Chris Bloch-Jordan.

Abbey Smith and James Karl Fischer also attended and spoke about the films, 'I Heard' and 'Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night'. Mr. Fischer, of the Zoological Light Institute, spoke following Brilliant Darkness, which featured the negative effects of light pollution on fireflies in Japan and other wildlife all around the word. 'I Heard', the final screening of the festival, was a child-led, Seuss-like, poetry journey through the nation's wilderness areas. Ms. Smith created the short-film in celebration of last year's 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act.

The festival kicked off with an energetic party and hour of film-screening on Friday night at Julian Station in Wynola with enthusiastic support from Station owner, Albert Lewis, Paul Thomas of Julian Hard Cider, Cara & Jose of Mr. Manita's Fruteria, The Cooler, and Golden Coast Mead.

Grand Canyon Sundown's music added to the festivities of the Saturday Night Awards Party to close out the festival with awards created by internationally-known, Julian artist, James Hubbell, and dinner provided by Granny's Kitchen. Dennis & Rita Cantor provided out-of-this world baked goods and desserts for sale all day Saturday.

The film festival started in 2014 with the vision and leadership of Terry Ross, and Brian & Nancy Kramer. This year's festival would not be possible without their continued passion, coordination from Sheana Fry, Kathleen Beck, Peter Bergstrom and Chris Elisara, many volunteers and sponsorship from Acting Professionally, Nancy's Vacation Rentals, Kramer Design, Orchard Hill Country Inn, Julian Lodge, Borrego Springs Bottled Water, Ramona Disposal Service, Nickel Beer Company, Blue Door Winery, Volcan Mountain Winery, Woof n Rose Winery, Camp Stevens, Ilan Lael Foundation, Melanie & Don Klika, and Tex Xelowski. THANK YOU to all the supporters, sponsors and all who were part of the record attendance.

To learn more about Volcan Mountain and the Volcan Mountain Foundation visit www.VolcanMt.org

To learn more about VMF's Julian Film Festival visit www.JulianFilmFestival.com

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