A Sneak Peek of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival



What is the wild and scenic film festival? It's it sounds like a bunch of hippies drinking up in Nevada Vada city. You're not wrong The Wild and scenic film festival is a opportunity for filmmakers and activists from around the world to come together to tell the stories that they care most about About protecting the environment. And this is your first podcast so low right you. You had all the equipment you went up you. You didn't know who you can exactly interview. What was it like Well it was exciting I did lose my phone with all the recordings on it for a period of about twelve of hours but luckily thanks to the The kind hearted people in Nevada city. I was able to get my my phone back with all these interviews. So crisis averted so Nevada city is like the heart of the like eighteen fifties goldrush right the forty niners that that's where everything happened is amazing when you go there because it looks looks like this old gold town. That's right it's it's right in the Sierra foothills in it it does look like and feel like in some ways that you're going back in time and and Melinda The Executive Director of the South you've ever citizens league tells us a little bit about Nevada city and history in the ways in which the Yuba river in particular has really shape the town cool so his Sarah talking with Melinda booth. Who's responsible for bringing this huge festival together every year? Uh So this film festival is now in its eighteenth year and it's an environmental an adventure film based festival here in Nevada city and Grass Valley California. So we're we're in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains about halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe and we had some beautiful snow last night. Blanketing our town. But it's sunny and melting and we're ready for the eight thousand people that are going to come to our small foothills town for this. Annual event. So South River Citizens League we affectionately refer to ourselves by our acronym circle was founded back in nineteen ninety-three and a bunch of concerned citizens came together when dams were proposed on the South Yuba River and they decided that's not what they wanted for the river in their community and they banded together and fought those dams over sixteen years. It was a sixteen year long fight but they were ultimately successful in protecting the river by by achieving California State designation for wild and scenic status for thirty nine miles to the south you bought which permanently protects it this community really is all about the Yuba River. It's an economic driver for us. It's a place of renewal. It's a place of recreation. It's habitat refuge. It's definitely one of the most scenic rivers in California cornea and you have these beautiful smooth granite boulders. You have these emerald waters you have deep pools. It's relatively warm in the summer and it's a magical place. There's more folks who enjoy the river naked than clothed but. Tell us a little bit about the film festival. I see that the Tagline is where activism gets inspired tired so back in nineteen ninety nine. One circled did achieve that wild and scenic status for the river they were to crossroads and decided You know they achieved what they set out to to do. And so then the question was okay well organization done. Did we reach our goal or is there more to do and they quickly realized that. Gosh there's so much more to do. Circles mission is to unite the community to protect and restore the river. And there's lots of work to be done year round so we're focusing on that mission throughout the entire watershed so from the headwaters waters up at sugarbush ski resort if people know the area that's near the headwaters all the way down to the confluence with the feather river in Marysville the founders of the film festival were very very forward thinking and realized if they could create something that could create a sustainable funding source to help the organization that would be a real help to achieving in our mission and so wild and scenic film festival was created. It was of course named after the win of wild and scenic status and it started as two nights heights and one venue back in two thousand and three and it's grown here in twenty twenty to take place in two towns. We have venues and grass valley and Nevada city. It's five days as we have ten film venues. We have activists workshops we have celebrations. We have virtual reality lounge. We have an environmental art exhibition. There's really a whole lot. Outgoing on does the film festival travel and are there ways for people that live elsewhere to enjoy the festival and enjoy these films. Yes so we kick it off every year in January January here in the foothills in Nevada city grass valley in January but then we hit the road and we take these films on tour so you might see a wild and scenic event near you we have about two hundred and fifty events annually reaching more than sixty five thousand people with these inspiring stories and you can search for an event in your area and if there's not one you can be a host so what we do which I think is really incredible. Is We're actually partnering with Environmental Organizations. Really any kind of organization who want it to host a festival in their area so that they can raise awareness for issues in their community and raise funds for the work that they're doing so it's a really cool partnership a way to get these films seen inspire more people and really Increase the groundswell for the environmental movement. As a whole I love that Can you give us an example or tells Tulsa story about maybe the most inventive or unusual way that people have brought the wild and scenic film festival to their community. I love it when people do outdoor screenings screenings. It's really great so we have some folks in Florida with their shoes off toes in the sand. Watch these films at night outside so one of the cool things about living in Sacramento obviously is the Sacramento River. And I've always had this dream of going being from reading down to the sea. One of the cool movies that you've got to see them super jealous about is cold the Sacramento at current speed and these guys go in that story story which is a teeny little boat and floated down and you go to catch up with them. Tell us about Tom and Mitch. Thomason mentor great to me. They really exemplify the film festival which his in many cases transforming what we might consider to be ordinary people. That didn't you know. Set their careers to be filmmakers or even necessarily activists who fell in love with place and wanted to tell that story to others. And that's exactly what happened with Mitch and Tom. They would go out occasionally with each other with their wives on the river and in came to be Really compelled by the river and wanting to protect it and so they made this film Which ended up winning the twenty twenty people's Choice Award a really beautiful film and Really Beautiful Film and story and I thought it was special to that. Of course the Sacramento River flows through Sacramento so we've paddled on it and Goes through the very place where a lot of decisions about water in the entire state are made so just a lot of Nice different connections with this one. Sara Fest Out Utah With Mitch Dion and then with Tom Bottles who made the Sacramento at current speed. Which won the People's Choice Award The wild and scenic Film Festival Mitch starts by explaining how the idea for the film was launched? A was just looking for a place to row my boat down a river. I Love Rivers. I really like my little dory boat and I live in truckee aunt kind of stumbled on the Sacramento as a place to do some overnight trips without having to drive halfway across the country to Utah. Colorado or Idaho so Several years ago my wife and I didn't overnight trip on a section of the upper for Sacramento where we through our bikes into the boats camped overnight and they invite the shuttle back up to the car and we had so much fun. And we were so enamored with with what we found down there that I started doing longer trips. and Um Tom and I done lots of adventures together. But we've never took advantage Jeff. Our professional lives. He's a videographer and has made lots of films so I started telling her friends. It's about the project down here on the Sacramento and Tom's ears perked up and he said found sounds very well. Maybe you should make a movie of IT and So just hopped in my boat and Loaded up with camera gear and some food and crackers and smoke cheese and took off below reading and Started in a two week journey down the SACRAMENTO Some of which I done before and below Qaluza all the way down into the Delta was was unknown unknown you. I know that people navigate this piece of river all the time but whether we could actually row it and make it out there we really have. I've no idea all heard that the winds were extreme down there that Might be a really difficult journey. And Good Luck. What is it that you wanted to share with people the Sacramento River? The big thing is this water belongs to all of us and people may not realize that it's public domain. It's the water is supposed has to be managed to use for the use that's most beneficial to the most number Californians and you know we know that's a simple concept and after after that everything gets really complicated because a lot of give and take in tug of war but we need to be wake watch. What's happening attention to what's going on Out there because it belongs to all of

Coming up next