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Toad People; Screening with: Return of Harbor Porpoises to San Francisco Bay

  • Courtyard Theater 1060 River Street Suite 110 Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 United States (map)

Toad People

(EarthVision Environmental and Social Justice Film, 1 hr 16 mins)


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Synopsis: Toad People is a story about hope, community and the struggle to save the western toad. The documentary showcases families in different regions of British Columbia, working to save species at risk in their backyards.

Director: Mike McKinlay was born in North Vancouver and raised in the Okanagan Valley. During his 15 years as a cameraman/DP, Mike’s film subjects have varied; from non-fictional narrative to wildlife and environmental awareness films, Mike has had the opportunity to work within both the corporate and documentary world. Some of his most recent clients have included National Geographic, the National Film Board of Canada, Wilderness Committee, Nature Trust of BC and the Pacific Wildlife Foundation. Mike is also a professional skateboarder. Isabelle Groc is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer, focusing on environmental science, wildlife natural history and conservation, endangered species, marine mammals and ecosystems. She has also worked as the Species at Risk Project Coordinator for the Wilderness Committee since 2010. Her work has appeared in many publications, including National Geographic News, BBC Wildlife and Canadian Wildlife. Isabelle has produced videos for National Geographic, and she co-directed and wrote ten short films on BC’s species at risk with Mike McKinlay. A fellow of the Explorers Club, she has travelled to remote places to raise the profile of many little-known, elusive and under-appreciated threatened species, aiming to inspire concern and action for their conservation. She is inspired by the Western toads’ tenacity and gentleness.

Screening with:

Return of Harbor Porpoises to San Francisco Bay

(EarthVision Environmental and Social Justice Short Film, 9 mins)

Scheduled to attend: Jim Sugar

Synopsis: By the end of World War II in 1945, San Francisco Bay had become a dead body of water. Stringing a large net across the Bay to trap Japanese and German submarines also prevented large predators such as porpoises, dolphins, whales and sharks from entering or leaving the Bay.

Director: Jim Sugar worked as a photographer for National Geographic for 22 years. He traveled extensively, both in the U.S. and around the world, producing more than 30 stories. He has won the NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year Award and was a runner-up in the White House News Photographers Photographer of the Year competition. He has illustrated two entire books for the National Geographic Book Division. He has won numerous awards for individual photographs and for various Art Director’s awards for his photo illustrations. He said he has mastered many aspects of photography including photojournalism, lighting, and now digital imaging. He says mastering post-production digital workflow has presented his biggest challenge in photography. Sugar has been a working photographer since he was an undergraduate at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. In addition to still photography, he shoots and edits digital video. His films Swimming in a Dream, and Swimming: Mind, Body, Spirit have been screened at five film festivals. He is married and lives in Mill Valley, California.