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Nevada City Film Festival celebrates 10 years of independent film

The Nevada City Film Festival kicks off their 10-year anniversary with a Summer of Film series Thursday, June 17, at the Center for the Arts, with a special local screening of “The Practice of the Wild,” a film about the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder.

This is the first of several events the Nevada City Film Festival is presenting over the next two months leading up to their annual fun-filled weekend of independent film in August.

“We wanted to do something exciting to commemorate our 10-year anniversary, so we are going all out,” explains Jesse Locks, the film festival’s new director. “We are screening a series of films throughout the summer in a variety of locations. These films embody excellence in storytelling and filmmaking – all things we look for in the films we show during the festival.”

“The Practice of the Wild” borrows its name from one of Snyder’s most eloquent non-fiction books and revolves around a life-long conversation between Snyder and his fellow poet and novelist Jim Harrison (Legends of the Fall).

These two old friends and venerated men of American letters converse while taking a wilderness trek along the stunning wild country of Big Sur.

Snyder has been a creative force in all the major cultural changes that have created the modern world. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he was a central figure of the Beat generation. He helped bring Zen Buddhism into the America scene and has been a powerful spokesperson for ecological sanity and bioregionalism.

The film was an official selection at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival and features vintage black and white film of a young Snyder in San Francisco, poetry readings by Snyder and interviews with friends such as poet Michael McClure, publisher Jack Shoemaker and former spouse Joanne Kyger.

Opening up the evening is a sneak preview from this year’s upcoming film festival with a showing of the short film “Shelter” about geodesic dome godfather, Lloyd Kahn. Thursday night’s event is a benefit for both, The Center for the Arts and the Nevada City Film Festival.

“In 10 years, the Nevada City Film Festival has grown from a two-day festival at the 62-seat Magic Theatre that featured local filmmakers to a four-day, multiple venue festival that still showcases local filmmakers along with the best in independent filmmaking from around the world,” says Locks. “It’s definitely something to celebrate.”

The volunteer staff of the Nevada City Film Festival will be busy this summer. In addition to film screenings, they will be working with the two students who were awarded the KSK Records Young Filmmakers Grant.

Camen Hodges, a 20-year old student at Sierra College and Jeff Dunant, an 18-year old graduate of Bear River High School were chosen by the film festival to each receive a grant package worth nearly $10,000 to produce their respective films which will be screened opening night at the film festival.

“Each student had such a distinct storytelling style, it was difficult to chose just one, so we went with both Camen and Jeff,” explains Nevada City Film Festival Program Director and filmmaker, David Nicholson. “We are so excited to help make their visions come true and continue the local filmmaker tradition here in Nevada County.”

Last year the Nevada City Film Festival was the first film festival to stream live in its entirety on the Internet. This year, they will once again be streaming live for the world to experience the best of the film festival and Nevada County. Viewers will be able to watch films, interviews with filmmakers and behind the scenes from their computers and iPhones.

“We are immensely influenced by the tech businesses here in Nevada County, and are always trying to push the technology and one up ourselves each year,” says Locks. “The live streaming and the iPhone application is a great way for us to broaden our audience and showcase the filmmakers and our beautiful town.”

The 10th Annual Nevada City Film Festival happens August 19 to 22, 2010 at the Center for the Arts, Miners Foundry and Nevada Theatre. Go to http://www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com for more information.