Bill Belleville

Bill Belleville
Bill Belleville

Bill Belleville is a Florida writer and documentary filmmaker specializing in nature and conservation topics. He has authored six books, contributed to eight national anthologies, written over 1,000 articles & essays, scripted and co-produced seven films.

On assignment, Belleville has traveled to Australia, the White Sea of Russia, the Galapagos, Central and South America, Cuba and throughout the Antilles. Florida, where he lives, remains his favorite place for its natural diversity and "wonderful cultural surreality".

Belleville will team with Margaret Ross Tolbert during the 2011 Festival of the Moving Image to present a lecture about Florida's natural springs called Springs Eternal?.

He also will screen two of his films.

The first, In Marjorie's Wake: Rediscovering Rawlings, a River & Time, is a 60-minute documentary film about Florida writer Majorie Rawlings (The Yearling) that Belleville co-produced and scripted for National Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The film re-creates a two-woman journey that Rawlings once made on the St. Johns River. (She wrote about that trip in the "Hyacinth Drift" chapter of Cross Creek.)

Belleville also will show Wekiva: Legacy or Loss?, another hour-long documentary that ran on the l4 PBS affiliates in Florida. The film focuses on the spring-fed Wekiva River in Central Florida, which is one of the best protected rivers in the state, thanks to ll0 square miles of land protected in its basin. Still, it faces a number of challenges due to habitat loss and spring degradation.

Losing It All To Sprawl

From the preface of Belleville's book Losing It All To Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape:

"Sometimes the confrontations of nature evolve before my eyes, a nature documentary with no on or off switch. Once I saw an orange-and-black corn snake up high in a cedar tree with a massive bullfrog in its mouth, the frog screaming like a little kitten. I shook the tree, the snake opened its mouth, and down came one fat, grateful bullfrog with a resounding thud and a croak.

"On another day, I watched a half-grown gopher tortoise come barreling through a remote portion of the yard in his distinct wobble-crawl, entirely perplexing a baby possum that had strayed too far from its nest.

"Being part of an experience like this requires a dose of commitment, a desire to slow down and leave things as they are. I have a country neighbor who lives in another old cracker house nearby. He's connected here, and understands. He is a big, heavy man who does big politically incorrect things like hunt and fish and drink Jack Daniels whiskey and eat too much of all the wrong kinds of food.

"We have brief conversations in the street in passing every few months, and recently, during one of those, he stopped midway in a sentence and said 'red shouldered hawk.'"