Motion picture madness – Film festival brings 2,000 to town |

Motion picture madness – Film festival brings 2,000 to town

Film fans and environmental activists from across the country jammed Nevada City this past weekend, as the South Yuba River Citizens’ League sold 2,000 tickets to its Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival.

“It was totally beyond what we could ever dream of,” festival director Kathy Dotson said of the third-annual event. “It was standing-room-only all weekend.”

Dotson said festival-goers came from New York, Washington state, Colorado, Southern California and the Bay Area.

“Nevada City is a perfect backdrop for this,” Dotson said. “I think people are thirsty for this kind of event. People were walking out of the films in tears and laughing.”

Dotson said SYRCL selected the 60 environmental films for their inspirational qualities.

The films were screened at the Miners Foundry, Nevada Theatre, Oddfellows Hall, and the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.

Featured guests included Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, who is also a film producer and activist. He made a special appearance at Cooper’s Saloon on Saturday evening, sitting in with the local Bodhi Busick Band.

Environmental activists John Quigley, Darryl Cherney, and Christopher Swain shared their stories on Saturday. Adventure celebrities included snowboarder Tina Basich, climber Ron Kauk, and kayaker Ed Lucero on Friday evening.

Some of the favorite films of the festival included filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia’s (widow of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia) award-winning film, “The Future of Food,” a look at genetically engineered food.

Industrial hemp activists from Texas and Kentucky engaged the crowd at the Nevada Theatre with their film, “Hempsters: Plant the Seed” on Saturday evening. James LaVeck, award-winning filmmaker from New York, spoke with his film, “Peaceable Kingdom,” an expose on factory farming in the United States.

Grammy award-winning Native American flutist Mary Youngblood played on Friday evening when she performed as an opener for the festival at the Nevada Theatre. Local musician Saul Rayo was also on hand.

SYRCL presented awards to six films:

• The Best Children’s Film Award went to Storyteller Production in Canada for “Stories of the 7th Fire.”

• The Most Inspiring Adventure Film honor went to Kelley Kalafatich and Carr Clifton for “Three Women, Three Hundred Miles.”

• The Spirit of Activism Award was presented to Australian filmmaker Peter Hegedus for “Inheritance.”

• The Best of Entries Award went to local filmmakers Tom and Debra Weistar of the organization, Synergia, for “Dude, Where’s My River?”

• The Best of the Festival Award went to Canadian filmmakers Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison for “Being Caribou.”

• The People’s Choice Award went to filmmaker Sterling Johnson and climber Ron Kauk for “Return to Balance.”

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