Lemonade: More tear jerkers, gut busters and mind blowers at the Nevada City Film Festival | TheUnion.com

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Lemonade: More tear jerkers, gut busters and mind blowers at the Nevada City Film Festival

Nine years ago, on a warm summer weekend, the first Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF) was conceived when a then aspiring local filmmaker named Jason Graham, along with a few of his twenty-something-year-old friends wanted to share their handmade films with an audience.

The first film festivals were held at the Magic Theatre, a quaint 65-seat boutique cinema on Argall Way, and were a no-holds-barred exhibit of young, imaginative filmmakers. In 2007, when the crowds had grown too large, festival organizers then moved the event to larger venues in downtown Nevada City. Films and filmmakers poured in from around the world.

In nine years, film festival directors Graham, Magic Theatre owner Jeff Clark and filmmaker David Nicholson have created a one-of-a-kind experience where film buffs, filmmakers and industry professionals can come together in beautiful, picturesque Nevada County to experience the best in independent cinema.

This August, NCFF will screen over 30 short films and two feature length movies. Inspired and driven by creative, boundary-pushing cinema of both rising talent and established directors, NCFF offers four exciting days of screenings, panels, happy hours, and after parties. The films selected, span genres, languages, and format, with something for everyone.

In previous years, NCFF has attracted everyone from director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) and editors of the Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! – to music supervisor Brian Reitzell (Lost in Translation, Stranger Than Fiction) and documentary filmmakers Arne Johnson & Shane King (GIRLS ROCK!).

This year is no different with more than a dozen filmmakers on hand to answer questions from the audience after each of their films. NCFF kicks off opening night, Thursday, Aug. 20 at The Center for the Arts, with the feature film Like Dandelion Dust. Based on the best-selling novel by Karen Kingsbury, the film stars Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino in one of the best performances of her career. Like Dandelion Dust has already caused quite a stir by winning best feature at the Vail, Sonoma, Palm Springs, Sedona and Las Vegas International Film Festivals. Like Dandelion Dust director Jon Gunn and producers Kevin and Bobby Downes will be in attendance that night to share their experiences making the film and give further insight into the characters and storyline.

On opening night, NCFF will also announce the winner of the “My Nevada City” Video Contest sponsored by Citizens Bank. In May, NCFF and Citizens Bank partnered to celebrate the pioneer spirit of independent filmmaking with a video contest for residents to share their vision, their love, their Nevada City with audiences. Submissions needed to be no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than two minutes and use the town of Nevada City as it’s organizing theme. A panel of NCFF filmmakers and Citizens Bank representatives then judged the films on creativity, storytelling ability and execution. In addition to being screened on opening night of the film festival, the filmmaker of the winning video will receive a $250 savings account.

Friday and Saturday programs are located at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center and features the much talked about dark comedy Visoneers starring the Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis (fondly referred to as fat Jesus in the film) and six short programs that include comedies, films to change your world, music videos, films staring, written or directed by favorite celebrities like Bill Murray, Courtney Cox, John C. Reilly and more, and of course the inventive, the unexpected, the stuff you can’t quite explain. Attendees should stick around Saturday night for the awards ceremony to see which film will receive the Audience, Jury, and Festival awards.

On Sunday, the 9th Annual NCFF ends where it all began, back at the Magic Theatre with a best of program for anyone who missed a screening or for those who just don’t want the fun and films to end.

Lemonade is cool and refreshing, usually sweet and a little bit tart. Jesse Locks is a freelance writer and has worked with NCFF since 2007. You can reach her at jesse@arthurmag.com.