The Saugerties Times

What’s so beautiful about the Hudson Valley?

by Crispin Kott on Aug 29, 201112:54 pm

When filmmaker David Becker moved to Saugerties from Brooklyn three years ago, he rediscovered his childhood love of the Hudson Valley’s natural beauty. He was so moved he decided to make a film about our environment and the people who love it. It’s called “To Be Forever Wild,” and with the help of numerous local volunteers — including interns from Saugerties High School — Becker, a media teacher at Woodstock Day School, is now in post-production at an office off Partition Street.

“The heart of the film is really the people we meet in the film,” Becker said. “It took several months of research to come up with an initial list, and then one person kind of led us to another from there. And some people we met by chance. It was a whole combination of ways that we met and connected with the people in the film. It’s their stories and passion. They all share the love of nature and interact with it in their own way. The people who we profiled, they get so much out of this interaction with nature that it becomes their life.”

The film profiles a number of local residents who interact with the wildlife and landscape of the Catskills in different ways. Among those interviewed are geologist Bob Titus, Ellen Kalish of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, natural historian Michael Kudish, and members of the Fertile Minds Collective. The film follows each of its subjects as they both talk about and experience the majesty of the local outdoors in the way they most enjoy it: a tantalizing trailer on the film’s official website opens on a group of children sitting along a stream talking about how much they like the sticks they find, shows aerial footage of a flight by astronomer Bob Berman as he takes the Castkills in from above, and visits drum circles and artists, community farmers and cliff divers. It visits with Kalish, who has set up her wildlife center in her own yard, and Mary Dette Clark, whose hand-tied fish flies are so popular that fishing enthusiasts travel from all around the world to visit her shop.

The film doesn’t just use locals on camera. Its production has also enlisted the aid of students from Saugerties High School, Ulster County BOCES and Bard College in a variety of capacities...

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