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Films inspire, delight more than 5,000 at Wild & Scenic Film Fest in Nevada County

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer
The 13th annual Wild & Scenic film festival, presented by the South Yuba River Citizens League, took place over the weekend in Grass Valley and Nevada City. On Saturday morning at the Turtle Vison Pedal Power Stage on Commercial Street in Nevada City, attendees danced the Tango to the music of the Beucoup Chapeaux band.
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

A documentary about a family that disconnects from civilization for nine months in the Canadian North wilderness won “Best of Festival” at this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada County.

“All the Time in the World,” by Suzanne Crocker of Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, was said by judges to not only have spectacular nature and wildlife shots, but also “astounding love and heart,” said juror Alison Jones-Pomatto at Sunday’s awards ceremonies.

“It is delightful, funny, sad and wonderful,” she said. “This film has it all.”

More than 5,000 people attended the four-day festival, the 13th annual event sponsored by South Yuba River Citizens League. More than 100 films screened at venues throughout Nevada City and Grass Valley.

“The festival just keeps growing every year,” said festival director Melinda Booth. “Not just in size, but also in inspiration from the community and from the filmmakers.”

A selection of award-winners will screen tonight (Monday) at 7 p.m. at Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St. in Nevada City. A separate ticket ($20) is required for the “Local Appreciation Night” event, new this year.

“This is one of the best festivals in the country, hands down,” said Matt Stroecker, one of three filmmakers of “DamNation,” a film that documents the rise and fall of national attitudes toward big dams.

Booth said the festival, the major fundraiser for SYRCL, raises more than $100,000 from the four-day event and from tours of the films at 140 locations around the world.

“At least 30,000 people are seeing these films,” Booth said, referring to the total attendance from the festival and from the tours.

In addition to the films, a street “Enviro Fair” with booths, crafts, a bicycle-powered stage, musicians and dancing took place both Saturday and Sunday on Commercial Street in Nevada City.

“This is the best,” said Sally Margolis of Santa Cruz, who, with her family, was attending the festival this year for the first time. “I’m so inspired by the films.”

Margolis said one of her favorites was “Death Makes Life Possible,” by Deepak Chopra and Marilyn Schlitz.

“It’s about living life fearlessly,” Margolis said. She added that she was also inspired by the adventure films showing extreme rock climbing and bicycling.

“This is my first time, but it won’t be the last,” she said.

Other award-winning films include:

— Spirit of Activism: “The Starfish Throwers.”

— Most Inspiring Adventure Film: “Valley Uprising.”

— Best in Theme: “Emptying the Skies.”

— Best Short: “Pride of Namibia.”

— Jury Award: “Drawn.”

— Jury Award: “DamNation.”

— Student Filmmaker Award: Jason Jaacks and Steve Fisher, “Silent River.”

— John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award: Denis Delestrac, “Sand Wars.”

— Honorable Mentions: “Wrenched,” “Black Ice” and “Sand Wars.”

— Best Youth Film: “Lady B’s First Winter; From Puppy to Avalanche Dog.”

— Runner-up Best Youth Film: “Elisha and the Cacao Tree.”

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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