DON'T BOMB THE BIGHORN!
While researching our desert documentary, Exquisite Wasteland, we discovered an alarming story. Just 20 miles north of Las Vegas lies the Desert National Wildlife Refuge; the largest in the Lower 48 States. The Refuge protects one of the most pristine deserts in the American Southwest and provides critical habitat for more than 1400 species of plants and animals, including one of the greatest concentrations of desert bighorn sheep on the continent. It is also a Native American sacred site protecting petroglyphs that date back thousands of years.
In 2016, the Air Force announced plans to withdraw 300,000 acres from the Wildlife Refuge for use as a bombing range and aerial combat training. Military use threatens this extraordinary desert wilderness and will close the Refuge to the public; all scientific and recreational opportunities will be lost. The final decision will likely be made this year.
In January we received a grant that provided funding for ten days of shooting for our desert documentary, Exquisite Wasteland. We spent three days on the Refuge producing one of the film’s central stories. Given the urgent threat of military takeover, we are also producing four web videos to support Friends of Nevada Wilderness and their campaign to save the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Donations will support the post production of three new videos.
A Desert Portrait
This rollicking and unpredictable documentary explores the magnificent deserts of the American Southwest; the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran.
Together, the desert mash-up illustrates how the human perception of desert has evolved from sacred space to “wasteland”.
Complex desert ecosystems are illuminated by scientists as they stalk an exotic landscape for unknown species. Extraordinary biological mechanisms that enable desert plants and animals to flourish are brought to life with computer animation.
Complex desert ecosystems are illuminated by scientists as they stalk an exotic landscape for unknown species. Extraordinary biological mechanisms that enable desert plants and animals to flourish are brought to life with computer animation. The popular misconception of desert as a worthless and barren place has provided the rationale for the exploitation of pristine lands without question or consequence. Precious metal along with oil and coal have been extracted with little or no regulation. Water - the rarest of desert elements - has been overdrawn to irrigate agricultural crops. Atomic bombs have been detonated leaving irradiated waste buried in the sand. And in the most recent iteration, mega - utilities are bulldozing thousands of acres of unspoiled desert for renewable energy; solar and wind farms.
By the end of the film, the audience is left with a new perception of desert. Rather than a worthless, empty wasteland, desert is portrayed as a wonderland teeming with remarkable life and a crucible that holds a dramatic human story. The grand desert expanse of the American West is among the last and largest places where one can still experience unbroken vistas, wildness, silence, and solitude.
Help support the making of Exquisite Wasteland by donating
OR Contact Sally Kaplan to make your donation fully tax deductible through our Fiscal Sponsor
Wild By Nature
A television series that will explore, amaze, and inspire as it celebrates the nation’s natural wonders and historic sites in state parks across America. The series will inform our understanding of who we are as a people and issue a clarion call to protect our priceless parks into the future. At its core, the series will introduce individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting parks across the country: scientists, activists, and adventurers who are wild by nature.
WILD BY NATURE will take viewers on an unforgettable journey to both familiar and hidden places. The American landscape in all its grandeur takes a leading role, inspiring citizens to stand up for preservation. Far more than just pretty pictures, each episode features incisive interviews, compelling characters, and sparkling narrative that all contribute to this singular celebration of America’s natural and cultural heritage.
For information about sponsorship and coproduction financing opportunities please contact David Vassar.