Nevada City Film Festival kicks off Sept. 10 |

Nevada City Film Festival kicks off Sept. 10

A packed house for a film at last year's Nevada City Film Festival.
Courtesy photo |


WHO: 15th Annual Nevada City Film Festival

WHEN: Sept. 10-13

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., Nevada City; Haven Underground, 226 Broad St., Ol’ Republic Brewery, 124 Argall Way, Nevada City

TICKETS: Tickets $8/$10 for individual screenings, $89/$99 festival passes. Tickets go on sale Aug. 15 for the general public, online at, by phone at 530-362-8601, and in person at the NCFF Office, 110 Union St., Nevada City and at Briar Patch Co-Op in Grass Valley.

The 15th Annual Nevada City Film Festival kicks off Sept. 10-13, in downtown Nevada City. Every summer, the film festival makes art into a party, bringing a regional audience of movie lovers together with emerging and top independent filmmakers to showcase award-winning short and feature-length films from around the world.

The four-day celebration of art, music, and independent filmmaking, includes film screenings, industry panels and workshops, filmmaker Q&As, live music and many special events.

Nevada City Film Festival has been referred to as the “Sundance of the Sierra” (Sacramento News & Review) for its emphasis on fiercely independent cinema showcasing diversity, creativity and innovative storytelling and new voices in film. Each year, festival staff attends major film festivals, collaborates with top film schools, reads countless film blogs, and watches the hundreds of films submitted, to narrow it all down to the best in independent film. From feature-length documentaries to world premiere animated shorts, Nevada City Film Festival brings in the buzzed-about festival winners, as well as some of independent cinema’s best-kept secrets.

“To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we wanted to go back to our roots and celebrate the local filmmakers who are making great films and those filmmakers that are working hard to capture the stories of our community,” Festival Director Jesse Locks said.

This year’s opening night film is the premiere of “Music In Mali: Life Is Hard, Music Is Good,” a feature-length music documentary about the musicians, dancers and people of Mali. Local record label System Krush spent the last several years recording and documenting the stories, lives and music of a large group of musicians including Grammy-nominated Bassekou Kouyate, Djelimady Tounkara, Grammy award-winning Toumani Diabate, his brother Madou Sidiki Diabate, the late Lobi Traore and late legend Zani Diabate. “Music In Mali” is narrated by award-winning actor Danny Glover, directed by local filmmaker Aja Salvatore and was made by a local team of videographers. Filmmakers and special guests will participate in a Q&A following the film.

Also on opening night, Nevada City Film Festival brings back the Best of the Best, a who’s who list of former winners and favorite films from the last 15 years to see where are they now.

“This program tells an in-depth story about the various paths a filmmaker can take in the industry,” Locks said. “We have filmmakers who have gone on to have box office success, direct big-budget films, make award-winning documentaries, work on television shows, teach film at the college level, or become multi-media artists. Their paths have been very different, but what they have in common is that they started making short films and showing them at small supportive film festivals like Nevada City Film Festival. We wanted to tell that story and show audiences the importance of film festivals as a platform for filmmakers and media makers.”

Other exciting film screenings with a local connection include the much buzzed-about premiere of the locally produced and shot TV pilot “High Country,” co-written and directed by Heather Donahue and Matt Herman. The Union and Nevada City Film Festival will co-present a special encore screening of “Golden Stories of Our Past.” The feature-length documentary directed by local filmmaker Zoe Toffaleti chronicles many longtime community members telling the stories about the early days of western Nevada County.

Nevada City Film Festival also worked closely with the Academy of Motion Pictures to present two programs at this year’s festival, including one about the magical and innovative world of Pixar (Toy Story, WALL-E, Cars, Incredibles, Inside Out). Audiences will learn how the films are made, enjoy film clips and hear behind the scenes commentary and stories from the artists themselves. This will be a program for both students and adults.

Other much anticipated additions to Nevada City Film Festival this year include pop-up film screenings in unique intimate outdoor venues. NEO and Nevada City Film Festival will present an all-night movie party for audiences 20 and younger. The Best of the Fest party and films will be screened outdoors at Ol’ Republic Brewery on Sept. 13.

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