Saving Beauty: Learning to Live with the Rare Ones Among Us

Dotted across the American Southwest, arid-land wetlands called “ciénegas” are home to endangered animals and plants found nowhere else on earth like the Pecos sunflower. However, 150 years of development, overgrazing, and climate change have made ciénegas the most endangered ecosystem of the Southwest. New Mexico State botanist, Daniela Roth, has taken up the challenge to engage city government, landowners, schools, and the community of Santa Rosa in conserving these unique wetlands and plants as part of the natural heritage and future tourism of the community. The 62 minute documentary puts ciénegas and their rare and endangered species on the map, before it’s too late.

Director Biography – Christina Selby, Arturo Anzures

Christina Selby is a conservation photographer, author, and naturalist. This is her first documentary film. She is the author of Best Wildflower Hikes New Mexico, a FalconGuide. Her work has appeared in bioGraphic, Scientific American, National Geographic Online, High Country News, New Mexico Magazine, and other publications. She draws on her many years of work in environmental education and international sustainable development to tell conservation stories. When she’s not chasing monkeys in the Amazon, tracking Mexican wolves in the Southwest, or hunting wildflowers in alpine meadows, you can find her at home in Santa Fe or camping with her two boys, husband, and Great Pyrenees “Glacier” in the stunning landscapes of the Southern Rockies.

Arturo Anzures is a filmmaker from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico now based in Santa Fe. He has created promotional and education videos for universities, commercial clients, and non-profit organizations. His first short film “Art” won multiple awards at international film festivals in 2020.


Christina Selby, Arturo Anzures


Christina Selby, Arturo Anzures


Christina Selby

Year Released:



United States




"Saving Beauty," is a story that highlights the need to preserve cienegas - a wetland system unique to the American Southwest - in Santa Rosa, NM. Due to development, overgrazing and climate change cienegas have become the most endangered ecosystem of the Southwest. Endangered animals and plants including the beautiful Pecos Sunflower (found nowhere else on earth) - live in the cienegas. The documentary features stunning visuals and engaging interviews with NM State botanist Daniela Roth and with active and passionate members of Santa Rosa including government officials, landowners, and school officials. The community members are in agreement to preserve the cienegas as part of the natural heritage and for the future tourism of the community.

First time documentary filmmakers Christina Selby and Arturo Anzures co-wrote and co-directed Saving Beauty. Christina is a conservation photographer and travels internationally for work; she's also an author and a naturalist. Arturo creates and produces educational and promotional videos for universities, commercial clients and nonprofit organizations. A short film he directed, "Art" won multiple awards at international film festivals last year.

Jean Sulli

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