Honors for Hempel Film

October 20, 2011—Monty Hempel, Hedco Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands, has won the John Muir Award for Best Environmental Film at the 2011 Yosemite International Film Festival.

Hempel’s 2011 documentary, “Spirit of Place,” tells the story of Dr. Marilee Scaff, an extraordinary 95-year-old woman whose love of magnificent forests, flowers, mountains, and streams has taught her valuable lessons about the meaning of life.

Concerned about the future of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, she sets off across the American West to rekindle the spirit of place that deeply enriched her own childhood. During her courageous encounters with wildlife and wild places, she reflects on the “seasons” of her own life and celebrates the powerful sense of wonder and awe that nature evokes.

Easton Stuart, Yosemite festival director, noted that Hempel’s film “demonstrated originality, imaginativeness, and professionalism. Only select projects from each competitive category, and a strict maximum of 10, were selected to be honored with this prestigious award from among hundreds of submissions originating from all around the globe.” 

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