Wild & Scenic Film Festival: A Record Breaking Year

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Image: Darby Davenport

During the 17th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival, the downtowns of Nevada City and Grass Valley came alive with thousands of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, environmental leaders, and world-class athletes who traveled from all over the world for five days of award-winning films and activism. This year’s flagship festival featured 150 award-winning films, special guests, activist workshops, speaker panels, outdoor excursions, art exhibitions, a gala, Media and Virtual Reality Lounge, award ceremonies and more.

“We had our best turnout ever. This year’s record-breaking attendance at Wild & Scenic shows us that the world is ready to be inspired. People are seeking out the stories that celebrate environmental activism and teach us how we can each make a difference,” said Festival Producer, Jorie Emory.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival worked with more than 450 volunteers to fill 800 volunteer shifts during the festival weekend. “Our river community really stepped up to help support this year’s festival.  Without our Yuba community, this festival would never be possible. Our volunteers make this festival happen every, step of the way,” said SYRCL Community Engagement Manager, Daniel Belshe. In that same spirit, 56 community members came forward to offer their homes for lodging, helping Wild and Scenic house 105 special guests from all over the world!

Image: Josh Miller

We had a blast hosting the CLIF Athlete Speaker Series, welcoming professional climber Tommy Caldwell (known for his dramatic 19-day climb of the Dawn Wall of El Capitan), and professional snowboarders Jeremy Jones (Protect Our WintersJones SnowboardsOde to Muir) and Tamo Campos (Beyond BoardingThe Radicals). Tommy taught a free climbing clinic at Gold Rush Climbing Gym to the delight of young climbers.

Tommy, Jeremy and Tamo joined more than 100 special guest filmmakers and influencers in the global environmental movement including LeeAnne Walters (Goldman Environmental Prize Winner for her role as a whistleblower in the Flint, Michigan water crisis), Chad Brown of Soul River, Inc., representatives from Earthjustice and Bernadette Demientieff (Gwich’in Steering Committee) who teamed up on a Virtual Reality experience called Too Wild to Drill about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and many others.


This year’s Official 2019 Wild & Scenic Awards

When Lambs Become Lions, Best of Festival Award

Best of Festival: When Lambs Become Lions

People’s Choice: The Dawn Wall

Spirit of Activism: Ghost Fleet

Persistent Vision Award: Will Parrinello and John Antonelli, The New Environmentalists

Most Inspiring Adventure Film: The Dawn Wall

Best Short: Climbing Out of Disaster

Jury Awards: The Serengeti Rules and RJ Ripper

The Arrowhead Traverse, Kids Jury Award

Student Filmmaker Award: Anna Chahuneau, Pursuing the Monarchs

John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award: Jon Bowermaster

Honorable Mentions: The Silver BranchBlue Heart and The Weight of Water

Kids Jury: The Arrowhead Traverse

Kids Jury Honorable Mentions: Blue and My Mom Vala


View the 2019 Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Photo Gallery

Want to re-live the magic? 

Look for your friends and favorite festival moments by checking out the Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2019 Photo Gallery!

Happy browsing and let’s give a huge thank you for to our official fest photographers Josh Miller, Kial JamesDarby Davenport, Elias Grant and Arrow Flora who shared their artistry and worked tirelessly all weekend long to capture the people and places of Wild and Scenic Film Festival 2019.


Wild & Scenic On Tour 

Considered one of the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festivals, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival is produced by South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL). The festival combines stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for generations to come. We’ll continue to bring great films to people all year long

SYRCL is a grassroots organization based in Nevada City that has worked to protect and restore the Yuba River Watershed, from source to sea, since 1983. Wild & Scenic Film Festival puts SYRCL’s work into the broader environmental and social context, and serves to remind people they all are participants in a global movement for a more wild and scenic world. After the January festival, Wild & Scenic goes on tour throughout the country to more than 250 events hosted by other organizations that use the festival as a platform to inspire activism in their own communities.

Save the Date for Wild & Scenic On Tour in San Francisco April 27 at the Cowell Theater.

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