Helping heal Mother Earth — Wild & Scenic Film Festival back in Nevada City, Grass Valley Jan. 11-15 (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

Helping heal Mother Earth — Wild & Scenic Film Festival back in Nevada City, Grass Valley Jan. 11-15 (VIDEO)

It's become more apparent in recent months that people aren't content with sitting around and waiting for things to happen.

Our current political and sociological climate finds audiences demanding a more meaningful cinematic experience — and that's where the Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes in.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is operated by South Yuba River Citizens League, a group dedicated to protecting and restoring the rivers of our home watershed in its entirety.

The annual film festival — which began in 2003 — is devoted to educating the public on local and worldwide environmental concerns, with topics ranging from the organic food movement to the global carbon cycle.

The popular festival will run starting today and continuing through Monday, Jan, 15.

"One thing that's really incredible is the founding story of Wild and Scenic; what's most special [is] its founding roots," said festival director Melinda Booth. "SYRCL knew there was a lot more work to be done to keep the river safe and they needed funding so they created Wild and Scenic. We bring some really inspiring films that focus on environmental issues and adventure topics. It's an opportunity to celebrate the environmental successes in our community, and bring people together over a common interest."

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Full of activities

The festival will be taking place at a number of venues throughout Nevada City and Grass Valley, including The Center for the Arts and Miners Foundry.

The hub of festival activities, Wild & Scenic headquarters will be located at the Reiki Kitchen on Commercial Street in Nevada City.

Booth said that throughout the years of the festival's operation, she's seen many examples of the power of the films and their messages.

"There's a couple in town, and she was doing the film fest even before he was and every year she'd go home and say 'We're going to commit to …' whatever it was," said Booth. "One year it was bringing their own shopping bags, but every year she'd say, 'I'm going to Wild & Scenic — and her husband was like 'Oh what's changing next?' It's fun to hear the little stories."

For Booth, one of the more difficult aspects of the festival is in the initial selection process. Following an open call for submissions, a dedicated staff screens each and every entry — in excess of 500 films — in consideration for inclusion in the festival.

"It's important for the films to be screened by at least three people — [each sees] something different, and has a different perspective," said Booth. "It's a little heart wrenching. Every time I watch a film I want it to be the best film I've ever seen; they don't always pan out that way."

In addition to the extensive lineup of films Wild & Scenic maintains a schedule that is focused on education and awareness.

"We're a film festival at our core but we are so much more," said Booth.

Something for everyone

Booth is quick to point out that the festival offers an array of programs for people of all ages.

For example, Saturday morning will find Grass Valley's Del Oro theatre hosting Saturday Morning Kid Films featuring several age-appropriate shorts such as "Wild Inheritance" and "Norma's Story."

Many workshops are on the docket as well, with Booth mentioning that Saturday's Youth v Gov: An Environmentalist Justice Workshop is of particular significance. A number of youths who have filed a constitutional climate change lawsuit against the US Federal Government will be on hand to share their story and offer advice on how youth of all ages can assert their rights and use their voices for the greater good.

South Yuba River Citizens League also operates their own Film Festival on tour, bringing their message to over 165 cities and reaching over 40,000 people along the way.

When asked what her favorite part of the festival is, Booth needn't think long. "For me it's Friday, late afternoon when folks start rolling into town and there's all these people you've never seen before in your whole life," she said. "[The town is] palpable with energy. Just seeing it come to life and people enjoying it gives me the most satisfaction."

With all of the fun and excitement, the mission behind the festival remains at the forefront of everyone's mind: to inspire people to help heal Mother Earth.

"The more people who see the films, the more influence they will have," Booth enthuses. "We want these films to be seen by as many people as can be."

Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer for The Union and can be contacted at jenkrisnobles@gmail.com.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: 2018 Wild & Scenic Film Festival

WHERE: Multiple venues throughout Nevada City & Grass Valley

WHEN: Thursday through Monday, Jan. 11-15

TICKETS: Range in price from $8 (Saturday Morning Kids Films) to $375 (Friends of the Yuba pass, with access to all venues, workshops and Gala Event). Locals Only discounts available. Additional fee for online tickets.

INFO: http://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org or visit South Yuba River Citizens League at 313 Railroad Ave. Suite 101 in Nevada City.

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