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Wild & Scenic Film Festival draws thousands of attendees despite the rain

Producer and Assistant Director of the film INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective, Emmett Brennan, accepts the "Best in Theme" award from SYRCL's 14th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival at Miner's Foundry Cultural Center Sunday afternoon.
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Winners

People’s Choice

“Unbranded”

Best of Festival

“The Burden”

Spirit of Activism

“The Accidental Environmentalist”

Most Inspiring Adventure Film

“Unbranded”

Best in Theme

“INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective”

Best short

“Denali”

Jury Awards

“The Important Places”

“Sonic Sea”

Student Filmmaker Award

Marley McDonald, Dan McNew, Art Pekun, Abby Riggleman. “Won’t Pipe Down”

John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award

Michelle Dougherty, Daniel Hinerfeld. “Sonic Sea”

Honorable Mentions

“Skateboarding in Pine Ridge”

“Deep Time”

“Voyagers Without Trace”

Kids Jury

Best Film: “Worse Than Poop!”

Honorable Mention: “Distress Call”

Kristin Snell didn’t expect a college reunion at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. It just happened that way.

Snell, who lives along the San Juan Ridge, discovered a college friend would be in Nevada City for the annual festival. Snell drove into town, found Abigail Cermak and then decided to stay and watch some films.

“We were just trying to decide what to watch,” said Snell as she and Cermak huddled on the second floor of the National Hotel.

Cermak, Hanford coordinator with the Columbia Riverkeeper, produced one of the movies shown at this year’s festival. “Hanford: A Race Against Time” focuses on the need for the proper cleanup of nuclear waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

Cermak said she almost cried when she watched it on the big screen at the festival.

“It’s a big subject,” she said Sunday. “Seeing it on the big screen — awesome.”

Snell and Cermak were two of about 5,500 people who attended this weekend’s festival, according to projections. They, along with other film watchers, braved intermittent rain that at times turned into a downpour.

“The rain didn’t seem to keep people out of the theaters,” said Melinda Booth, film festival director.

Booth said the annual festival, now in its 14th year, uses the medium of film to motivate and inspire people to change the world for the better.

Many films did just that to Booth. She pointed to “The Burden,” a film about America’s dependence on fossil fuels, as one of the most powerful she saw this year. The movie won the Best of Festival award.

Film locations were scattered across Nevada City and Grass Valley. Many people escaped the rain during a break by stepping inside the National Hotel in downtown Nevada City.

Beverly LaFae, the festival’s downtown coordinator, ensured live music was waiting for them.

“They’ve been sitting all day,” she said. “They want to hear some music.”

People crowded into the hotel bar Sunday afternoon for local band “X Lovers,” composed of London Jackson, Jacob Ames and Max Mann. The trio entertained the crowd as rain pelted down outside.

“It’s just such an amazing event,” Mann said. “It’s one of our biggest events of the year.”

There’s still a chance to see some of the films. Booth said a selection will be shown at 7 p.m. tonight at the Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., in Nevada City. Tickets can be bought online at http://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org or at the door.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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