An insider’s guide to the Nevada City Film Festival | TheUnion.com
Tom Durkin
Special to Prospector

An insider’s guide to the Nevada City Film Festival

The Nevada City Film Festival started off 14 years ago as a showcase for local filmmakers. That investment has paid off.

"NCFF gave me the chance to screen my work publicly for the first time. This was incredibly validating for me," said Grass Valley native Patrick Brice in an email from Los Angeles Tuesday.

"I'm super excited to be able to screen 'Creep,' my first feature, at the same festival that screened my shorts while I was still in college," the 31-year-old writer/director/actor added.

A hit at the South by Southwest (aka SXSW) Film Festival in Texas, "Creep" will be released for theatrical and video-on-demand distribution next year. Furthermore, Brice has an option for two sequels and a job directing a comedy called "The Overnight."

The NCFF program describes "Creep" as a "darkly humorous found-footage thriller." Found-footage is a film genre where the videographer is one of the characters. Think "The Blair Witch Project," "Paranormal Activity" or "Cloverfield."

"Creep" shows tonight (Thursday) at 8:30 in the Miners Foundry Cultural Center. Brice will be available after the showing for a Q&A.

Must-see picks

With 60 films, three workshops, several after parties and a comedy show in four days, it's impossible to see everything at NCFF, but there are some best bets.

"Creep," of course, is a showcase film, but the screening of the classic car-chase flick "Bullitt" is sure to draw a crowd to Miners Foundry Cultural Center Saturday night at 8:30.

"'Kumiko' is stellar," said Festival Director Jesse Locks. "Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter" premiered to acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.

It's a funny and tragic "story of a lonely Japanese woman who becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in the film 'Fargo,' is in fact, real," Locks wrote in a background paper for the festival.

NCFF volunteer Peter Harrington wrote. "Miwa Matreyek is a must see. She combines animation with performance art – real, raw, personal, experiential, soul art."

Matreyek will present her remarkable live/film performance twice Friday evening at 6 and 8 at the Haven Underground.

While there are other notable features, NCFF is best known for what one local critic called its sometimes "edgy and offbeat" short film programs.

The 10 p.m. "Late Night Shorts" at the Foundry Saturday is not recommended for children, but the 11 a.m. "Best of Seattle Children's Film Festival" is especially for kids (12 and under free when accompanied by an adult).

Also, showing at 11 a.m. in the Foundry's Osborn & Woods Hall will be the Student Works Showcase – where Patrick Brice started his career.

Additionally Saturday afternoon at the Foundry, there will be programs of foreign, narrative, documentary and animation shorts.

Possibly the most edgy and offbeat aspect of NCFF won't be a film at all. Friday night at the Foundry, infamous "WTF comedian" Marc Maron will perform two shows at 8 and 10:30. Late night TV comic Nick Thune will open the shows with his deadpan humor and guitar.

How to GoPro and other workshops

The invention of the incredibly versatile and inexpensive GoPro camera has revolutionized do-it-yourself filmmaking.

Saturday evening at 6:30 at the Haven, NCFF will host "Storytelling with GoPro," one of three free workshops. This seminar will feature tools, tricks and tips on shooting and editing videos with GoPro.

Earlier in the day, at 11 a.m. at the Haven, the festival filmmakers will host a panel discussion on the state of the art and business of "indie" (independent) filmmaking.

"It's one of the coolest things we do, and it's free," said Locks. "It's a good, open, honest discussion, totally relaxed." She added it's an excellent opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to interact with the people who actually do it.

Later, at 1 p.m. at the Haven, producer Dave Kneebone will present "How to Create a Successful Comedy Series." He will incorporate clips and outtakes from some of his favorite shows, including "Drunk History," "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and "Great Job!"

The workshops are free, but the seating is limited to 80 people and tickets are recommended. People who pick up free tickets at the box office or print them out online will have priority seating, Locks said, but people can also just show up at the door and be seated if there's any room left.

In fact, "Everyone should show up at least 15 minutes before each screening," Locks advised. Even people with festival passes or advance tickets could be denied seating if a show sells out, she said.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada City. He can be contacted at tdurkin@vfr.net.

Know & Go

WHAT: 14th annual Nevada City Film Festival

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., and Haven Underground, 226 Broad St, Nevada City

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday

TICKETS: Individual screenings $9 general admission; $7 for Magic Lantern Film Society members, students (with ID), and seniors (64 and over). Festival passes are $89 for members, $99 general admission. Marc Maron comedy show is $25 for members, $35 for general admission. Available Miners Foundry box office, 530-362-8601 or http://www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com

INFO: 530-362-8601 or info@nevadacityfilmfestival.com