Nevada City Film Festival highlights filmmaker residency |

Nevada City Film Festival highlights filmmaker residency

Know & Go

What: 19th Annual Nevada City Film Festival

When: Aug. 23 to 30

Where: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St.; Onyx Theatre, 107 Argall Way; Pioneer Park, 427 Nimrod St.; and the film festival’s office, 110 Union St., Nevada City

Tickets: Advance tickets available online at, by phone at 530-362-8601 and in person at the festival office, 110 Union Street, Nevada City, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the festival tickets are available at each of the venue locations.

Cost: Early bird tickets are $99. Early bird sales end Aug. 22. Festival passes after Aug. 22 are $150, $140 for members and $49 for students.

In its 19 years, the Nevada City Film Festival has created a legacy of supporting independent filmmakers — the folks who set about to capture their inspiration and share it with the world regardless of the challenges and obstacles before them.

The festival’s dedication to nurturing the independent spirit is arguably no more evident than in the Filmmaker Residency, which brings filmmakers from communities with historic ties to Nevada City to participate in a meaningful cultural exchange with residents of the county. Native and Asian American filmmakers are given particular consideration.

The residency is a special opportunity for an emerging or seasoned filmmaker to immerse him or herself in the cultural influence of Nevada County, the ultimate goal being to support creative growth and inspire new ideas.

The Nevada City Film Festival’s founder and Executive Director Jeff Clark, along with Festival Director Jesse Locks, helped create the program alongside Karin Chien, who continues to direct the residency. Chien is a four-time Independent Spirit Award nominee and recipient of the Independent Spirit Producer’s Award. Additionally, Chien has produced a number of independent feature films and has premiered her work at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals.

“The 2019 residency sets a new precedent by turning the creative spotlight onto independent producers,” Chien said. “The residency continues to build upon our founding intention of supporting Native and Asian American storytellers to pay tribute to Nevada City’s less visible histories, the Nisenan tribe and Asian immigrants.”

Chien explained that this year, the residency will welcome five producers, who she describes as “dynamic.”

The 2019 Producer in Residence, Zhang Xianmin, comes to Nevada County from Beijing. Chien explained that Xianmin is the preeminent central figure of independent cinema in China. His career encompasses every aspect of the independent film landscape — creative producer, Beijing Film Academy professor, China Independent Film Festival founder, as well as distributor, exhibitor, curator, scholar, writer and critic.

Xianmin will serve as a speaker and mentor while in Nevada City. His creative work during the residency will focus on migration stories between China and the Americas. Festival attendees will be treated to “An Evening with Zhang Xianmin” at 7 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Nevada Theatre.

On Aug. 25, the residency will welcome four independent American producers, hailing from the fields of fiction, nonfiction, television and immersive storytelling. These four producers are Native American documentary producer Christina King (“Warrior Women”), Asian American fiction producer Kim Parker (“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”), immersive producer Vassiliki Khonsari (“1979 Revolution”) and television producer Diane Houslin (HBO, MTV, ESPN). These producers were chosen from nominations made by leading nonprofit organizations including Sundance Institute, SF Film, Film Independent and Tribeca Film Institute.

The residency will also feature speaker/mentor Diana Williams, who serves as a creative executive at Madison Wells Media, formerly of Lucasfilm. Williams, along with Chien and the other attendees of the Producers Lab, will participate in a “Meet the Producers” round table talk and presentation during the film festival at 7 p.m. Aug. 28, at the Nevada Theatre.

Those who participate in the residency are provided local accommodations as well as a stipend, and the artists are free to work at Nevada City Film Festival’s downtown office.

“The residency will be a mix of community practice sessions and curated activities designed to immerse producers in Nevada City’s natural resources,” Chien said. “The aim of the 2019 residency is to create a first-of-its kind, industry-leading creative retreat for independent producers.”

Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer for The Union and can be reached at

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.