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Green Film Fest
Al Gore isn't the only guy out there making documentaries about the environment. In October, local organizers plan to launch the Charleston Documentary Film Festival (ChasDOC) in downtown Charleston. The four-day festival will offer indoor and outdoor screenings of 40 feature films and shorts focusing on environmental issues, while also hosting a raft of seminars, workshops on activist filmmaking, and yes, a few posh parties, too.

"The idea behind ChasDOC is to put on a film festival where the community can really get involved, make a difference, and have fun," says filmmaker Justin Nathanson, ChasDOC founder. "But ChasDOC hopes to be more than just a festival. The non-profit organization is dedicated to producing environmental films, assisting filmmakers, and educating Charlestonians about local environmental and social issues. ChasDOC is already working on its first project, Home, a film about the destruction of historic African-American communities in Mount Pleasant, and is and collaborating with LEEP on a film of a three-week trek through SC's waterways.The festival "debuted" on June 22 with a sneak peek at Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Nathanson says he's also secured environmental films produced by actors Woody Harrelson and Matt Damon, among others, for the festival, which lands Oct. 6 - 9. ­—Steven Zimmerman

Taking the Prize
Local author R.W. Ridley has an active imagination. Ridley's novel The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles, recently won the 2006 Independent Book Publisher Award in Horror. The Takers beat out 3,000 other entries in the 10th anniversary awards and was honored in a ceremony during Book Expo America in Washington D.C. earlier this month.

The Takers follows 13-year-old Oz Griffin as he tries to save humanity from man-eating monsters that were released upon the world after a neighborhood boy with Down syndrome committed suicide after constant taunting. Oz teams up with some unlikely allies, including a middle-aged mechanic and a gorilla who knows sign language, as he searches for a way to destroy the monsters. Ridley is currently working on Book Two in the series. If you like your adventure heavily dosed with fantasy, horror, and hyperintelligent primates, The Takers is available at Amazon.com ­—SZ

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