Rebels With a Cause: An Exclusive Sonoma County Screening

A new film tells the story of the "rebels" who saved Point Reyes and the Golden Gate National Recreational Area


Sonoma Land Trust and KRCB North Bay Public Media and will present “Rebels With a Cause,” an award-winning documentary by local filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto, on Thursday, January 24 at 7 pm at Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol. Special guests at the benefit screening will include favorite Sonoma/Marin Coast “Rebels” Bill Kortum and Marty Griffin, along with the filmmakers.

Ticket cost is $15 and all proceeds will help fund final production costs. This stunningly beautiful film was produced in association with KRCB and has already been shown at several film festivals to high acclaim. The goal is to put the finishing touches on it and distribute it to PBS stations nationwide.

The project began 14 years ago when Nancy Dobbs, KRCB’s President and CEO, read “Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast” by Griffin. The book tells of the saving of the Point Reyes peninsula for a national park, the salvation of the Bolinas Lagoon and the establishment of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It also presents the threat at the time: Marincello, the Gulf Oil-backed development that would have put 30,000 residents on the Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I knew that most local people didn’t know these stories,” said Dobbs, and she decided to find a way to tell them.

In 2007, KRCB teamed up with Kelly and Yamamoto, producers of the award-winning documentary “Smitten,” to bring the stories to the screen. They looked at the whole sweep of the Marin Coast, interviewing the Rebels and visualizing what might have been.

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand, the film spotlights the citizens from many walks of life who fought to preserve open space, protect agriculture and wildlife, and establish public parks next to a densely populated urban center yearning for access to nature. Their efforts set new precedents for protecting open space and shaped the local environmental movement as we know it today.

“This film shows how friends and neighbors not long ago stood up to large, well-financed forces to save the extraordinary landscapes we enjoy today,” said Ralph Benson, Sonoma Land Trust Executive Director. “Each of us owes them a huge debt that we can pay off by continuing to protect land for future generations.”

Highlights of the film include segments with former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, then 90 years old, and with 102-year-old Edgar Wayburn, a former Sierra Club president, shortly before their deaths in 2010. They, along with Griffin, are just three of the collection of “Rebels” who tell their stories in the hour-long film.

This event at Rialto Cinemas, co-sponsored by Sonoma Land Trust, KRCB North Bay Public Media and the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, will be an opportunity to support the film and to inspire the local community with this historical, yet contemporary, story. A question-and-answer session with the filmmakers and “Rebels” will follow.

To purchase tickets, please go to www.rialtocinemas.com/sebastopol. Tickets may also be available at the door as space allows.

“Rebels With a Cause,” won the Mill ValleyFilm Festival's Audience Favorite Award Best Documentary - Active Cinema. For more information, please visit www.krcb.org/rebels.

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