It’s been nearly a year to the day when nature filmmaker and friend of the SBIFF, Mike DeGruy, went down in a helicopter accident while filming off Australia. It happened during the 2012 Fest and the shock waves of his death cast a pall over the rest of the week more than any storm could do. In all the years of covering the Fest, the only vaguely equivalent tragedy was the 1999 passing of Stanley Kubrick, but this was completely different. This was close to home; this was one of the festival’s own, a man who not only had started the Reel Nature film sidebar, but also Field Trip to the Movies, bringing school kids out to see films, creating who knows how many film buffs.
And so this year the SBIFF will honor their fallen friend with a retrospective of Mr. DeGruy’s films, spanning over thirty years.