Reviews for Arid Lands

"A smart, comprehensive, and beautiful film." Willamette Week

"Stunning documentary...a provocative, complex portrait of Eastern Washington." Crosscut Magazine

"Creatively ecological...[one of] today's best environmental films." The Chronicle of Higher Education

"A clear-thinking portrait of our state....[a] must-see for all Washingtonians." Seattle Times

"One of the most informative and eye-opening documentaries you'll see anywhere." National Media Museum, UK

"An insightful look into...the concerns of the people who work and develop the land." City Pages

"The film performs a scientific, economic, and cultural excavation of the area and comes up with lots of unexpected, unforeseen facts and insights." The Stranger

"Engrossing." Seattle Times

"In this age of golf courses in the desert, this honest look at the state of the west is as refreshing as a tall drink of water." Missoula Independent

"A love song for the ailing, if resilient, expanse of sagebrush and bunch grass that still thrives on the Hanford nuclear site...a comprehensive and, at times, profound and entertaining narrative."Minnesota Daily

"I'll let you in on a little secret...I was leery of reviewing this film. I was afraid it might be dry and boring, or cornponishly hokey, or off-puttingly biased, and that I'd have to slag on it like some sort of bone-chewing, Tri-Cities-hating ogre. I was cleared of those doubts within about two minutes. Well-shot, well-edited and refreshingly even-handed, Arid Lands finds wider meaning through a close look at a unique place." The Tri-City Herald (

Educators' Reviews

"Exquisitely filmed and carefully crafted...The multiple perspectives showcased in the film highlight debates and issues that go far beyond the local environs -- land development vs. ecology; science vs. real-world experience; and how to determine 'acceptable risk.' Minimal narration allows viewers to weigh the various economic, ecological, cultural and political vectors of the problems facing the Hanford area and reach their own conclusions, making this film an excellent launching point for classroom debates." Melissa Checker, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, City University of New York, Queens College

"Arid Lands is an engaging and thought-provoking film about shifting human adaptations and transformations of a particular landscape, and the incongruous absurdities sometimes generated in the process...[The film] provides a compelling springboard for discussion of some of the most important issues defining our times." Dr. Lene Pedersen, Dept. of Anthropology and Museum, Central Washington University

"Arid Lands does not offer easy answers. Is it truly safe? What does it mean if a town is desensitized to nuclear waste? When will the federal money run out? Will tourism be the answer to economic development and at what cost? The film presents a richly textured view on a community that battles nuclear waste, wrestles with development, and worries about the water. Arid Lands does what most sociology professors want to teach: the ultimate sociological paradox of examining how societal influences shape individuals and, at the same time, how individuals shape the outcome of community, institutions, and society." Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, Assistant Professor of Sociology, California State University - San Marcos

Librarians' Reviews

"Fascinating story...The filmmakers have taken a very evenhanded approach to exploring the paradoxes that make up this part of eastern Washington...This video is highly recommended in support of high school and college curricula in environmental studies, geography, and urban studies. It fully supports the broader topic of American studies, the consideration of the choices our citizens will have to make in order to maintain controlled growth of our country and our economy while considering the cost of abandoning or choosing to maintain our national and regional heritage." Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State University Libraries, Educational Media Reviews Online

"The award-winning Arid Lands, expressing a distinct point of view, is recommended for all libraries in Washington State and others building up environmental collections." David R. Conn, Surrey Public Library, Library Journal

Russell Jim of the Yakama Nation interviewed about the Hanford nuclear site in Arid Lands
Mule deer on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River

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