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ITSA Film Festival Presents David Vassar’s Remastered Academy Award-Nominated Documentary, Generation on the Wind

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Date(s) - 11/11/2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Sonora Opera Hall


The ITSA Film Festival Presents David Vassar’s Remastered Academy Award-Nominated Documentary, Generation on the Wind, in a Special Sneak Peak Presentation.
Sonora Historic Opera House, Friday, November 11, 2016

Calaveras County’s very own Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning writer, director, producer, and documentarian, David Vassar, will be a featured presenter at the ITSA Film Festival in Sonora on November 11, 2016. (

For the first time in 35 years, his Academy Award-nominated documentary Generation on the Wind will be presented in its entirety in this very special sneak peak not-to-be-missed presentation.

In 1976, the price of oil soared and domestic reserves plummeted resulting in long lines at gas stations. President Carter declared an ‘energy crisis.’ When David Vassar, then only 26-years old, learned about a group of backyard mechanics, artists and environmentalists who were building a windmill to generate electricity on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts, he sensed a story.

After raising independent financing from his lawyer and landlord, Vassar spent a solid year documenting the construction of the giant wind turbine. It was an engineering story as well as a story of the American Spirit, but most of all it was a story about generating power from a renewable resource.

In 1978, the Cutty Hunk windmill was the largest wind turbine ever constructed for the generation of electricity. It wasn’t built by General Electric or funded by the Department of Energy, it was built by hand with private money from small investors. Although retired from use, the Cutty Hunk windmill provided years of service and more importantly, ‘proof of concept’ for what is now a ubiquitous source of renewable energy.

In 1981, the 58-minute film was cut down to 22-minutes for educational distribution and classroom use. During that process, the original A/B negative was cut and the trims from the 58-minute version were lost. All that remained on the original version was a 16mm color reversal internegative, or CRI; a few 16mm release prints; and the one-inch video tape that was broadcast on PBS.

In 2016, Josef Lindner and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Archive ( completed a painstaking reconstruction and restoration of the 58-minute program, using the original A/B negative and the CRI as a C-roll. The original 35mm magnetic audio tracks were also found and included in the reconstruction.

Immediately after the Generation on the Wind presentation, Vassar will present a sneak-peek of selected scenes from Backcountry Pictures’ current production, Exquisite Wasteland, co-produced with Sally Kaplan, which advocates for desert protection and features scenes from Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, and the Mojave National Preserve.

The deserts of the American West comprise one of the largest intact ecosystems remaining in North America. Because desert lands are widely misperceived as barren and ‘worthless,’ they have been exploited without consequence for mining, nuclear testing, oil and coal extraction, agriculture, urban development and now, utility-scale renewable energy – solar and wind.

According to David Vassar, “After producing ‘Generation on the Wind,’ every time I drove through the desert and saw wind turbines spinning on the horizon or fields of solar arrays kicking back sunlight I felt vindicated. The world was turning to renewables in a big way, which held promise for reducing carbon emissions and global warming.

It’s an old adage but it still rings true; there is no such thing as a free lunch. Without considering the cultural, biological, recreational and spiritual values that deserts hold, millions of acres of pristine lands are currently at risk. I thought it would be appropriate to end the program with a preview clip from a film that is still in production.”

Vassar has been called a visionary documentarian whose films have consistently identified environmental and sustainability issues years before the mainstream media. He continues to lead the conversation on pressing environmental issues of our time in 2017, the year of the National Park Centennial, and beyond.

Don’t miss this very special Generation on the Wind Sneak Peak evening with David Vassar at the ITSA Film Festival, November 11, 6 pm to 8 pm, at the Sonora Historic Opera House. Tickets are only $15.

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