‘Something for everyone’: Nevada City Film Festival turns 21 | TheUnion.com

‘Something for everyone’: Nevada City Film Festival turns 21


When it comes to resiliency the Nevada City Film Festival knows a thing or two.

From humble beginnings the festival has grown over its 21 years and in 2020 was voted the third best film festival in the country, according to USA Today. Beating out such other well known contemporaries as Austin, Chicago International, and Atlanta film festivals, the nonprofit organization has helped put Nevada City on the map as a cultural hub; a place where creators come to create and in turn appreciate the artistry of others.

While the pandemic has not been able to squash the spirit of Nevada City Film Festival, it certainly made things a bit more difficult for Executive Director Jesse Locks and her dedicated staff as well as its many devoted volunteers. Festival coordinators recently made the difficult decision to move their event to online screenings, forgoing any in-person screenings.

The Nevada City Film Festival will once again this year serve as an online experience out of an abundance of caution for the safety of patrons and staff. The festival will run online from Aug. 27 to Sept. 12. The decision was not an easy one for them, nor is it one that is taken lightly.

“We believe this is the socially responsible thing to do for the health and safety of our community, and to support our local hospital and healthcare workers,” said Locks. “Our small hospital is at max capacity; we are choosing to listen to the medical experts and do our part by not worsening the situation.”

“This decision does not affect our entire festival,” said Jeff Clark, the festival’s co-founder. “Movie lovers can still stream the 80-plus films in the festival and participate in filmmaker Q & A’s via Zoom, Facebook, Instagram Live, and YouTube.

“We will do everything we can to make this season as fun and inspiring as previous years. We hope everyone will understand and continue to support [us] by joining the festival online.”

Locks is quick to point out that the challenges shouldn’t be perceived as weaknesses. Featuring dozens of films from creators all over the world, this year’s festival promises to be a reprieve from all we’ve been dealing with and showcases the talents of many filmmakers who have spent countless hours honing their craft.

Of this year’s festival Locks said: “We definitely have one of our most inclusive slates of movies. We have films that represent Indigenous people, people of color, women, those of the LGBTQ community. We really made an effort to make sure that the movies represent a wide swath of folks. There’s something for everyone in there.”

The event will also host a 20th anniversary salute to the Terry Zwigoff-directed comedy “Ghost World” which Locks pointed out as one of the rare examples of a “smart” teen film, based on the comic book of the same name. It is important, she said, that that film not be lost in time.

The shorts program this year is extensive, and according to Locks will take viewers places they’ve never been, metaphorically speaking.

As per usual they will be screening children’s programming, ensuring that the beauty of film is not lost on future generations.

From a pool of about 500 submissions, the film festival staff was once again tasked with narrowing down the selections to 100, which is no easy feat.

Said Locks “We have some really inspirational feature length and unique shorts. That connection between the filmmaker and the audience; that’s the most exciting thing.”

Although the fest has crossed over numerous hurdles this year, Locks and her staff are optimistic that they can offer an experience to audiences that will captivate, inspire and educate. They’ve hosted many independent filmmakers in the past who have gone on to create much-loved and celebrated works.

“I think that the most important thing is what a unique opportunity it is for local people who love cinema and film to be part of a critical process of independent filmmaking,” said Locks. “You get to see a lot of first-time filmmakers – we could read a list of [past] filmmakers who went on to illustrious careers after coming to the festival. It’s something really special.”

Audiences can watch this year’s films from home via television, computer or smartphone. You can either purchase individual films and shorts programs, or a festival pass for all the films online. Films are available to watch at your leisure from Aug. 27 through Sept. 12. Tickets are $8 per film or program or there is the option to buy the entire festival pass for $75. More information can be found at http://www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com

Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer based in her hometown of Nevada City. She can be reached at jenkrisnobles@gmail.com


WHAT: The 21st Annual Nevada City Film Festival

WHERE: Online at nevadacityfimfestival.com

WHEN: Aug. 27 through Sept. 12

PASSES & INFO: nevadacityfilmfestival.com or call 530-362-8601

"I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking)" tells the story of a recently widowed woman who loses her home and convinces her eight-year-old daughter they are camping in order to relieve her child's uncertainty.
"The Cuban Dancer" follows Alexis, a 15-year-old dancer who has stars in his eyes. Shot over five years, the film documents this brave performer's life as he struggles to acclimate to a new life in a new country.
Feature film "The Conductor" details the career of Marin Alsop, the first female music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
While previous film fests have been conducted in person at various local theaters and venues, this year the event will take place virtually.
Photo by Kial James

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