A high school senior concerned about global issues and the environment is bringing a film festival to Johnson County to share her passion with others.
Devon Dietrich, 17 and a student at Shawnee Mission East High School, has organized the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. The two-day event runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Glenwood Arts Ranch Mart Theater, 95th Street and Mission Road.
Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. All money raised from the event will go to local outreach and community service programs.
Dietrich said she hopes the 14 fast-paced, award-winning films will spark interest in global issues among students and others.
“These are wild adventure travel and extreme sports films featuring breathtaking landscapes throughout the world,” she said. The images highlight the powerful diversity of people and cultures worldwide, she added.
“As a young adult, I am very concerned about the world I am growing up into,” she said. “Every single human being has the power and responsibility to contribute to a better future. I am driven to leave this Earth in a better condition than it is today.”
Dietrich, of Mission Hills, first attended the festival two years ago, and found the films “incredibly inspiring.”
The student contacted the national film festival headquarters and raised the $3,500 needed to sponsor the event here.
Sponsors include The SME Coalition (Shawnee Mission East High School philanthropist group); U.S. Green Building Council - Central Plains Community; American Society of Civil Engineers - Kansas City Section; Bridging the Gap; Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co.; ASP Enterprises; Fine Arts Theaters; and the Kansas International Film Festival
Dietrich also persuaded 32 Shawnee Mission East teachers to offer extra credit to students who attend the event.
Volunteers from the school’s Coalition Club are selling tickets and promoting the program, while she has been promoting the festival through social media.
The film festival is latest in a series of science and environmental events and competitions that Dietrich has participated in throughout her education.
In middle school she competed in Science Olympiads and earned a ninth-place finish in nationals for Water Quality. She also competed in science competitions in ninth and tenth grade through Envirothon, and was part of a five-person team that won regionals, state and the North American championship.
While not certain of her career path, Dietrich said “protecting the environment and raising awareness for environmental issues will be a lifelong passion of mine.”
Doors open for the festival at 6:30 p.m. on both evenings. For more information, visit https://m.facebook.com/WildandScenicFestival/