Wild & Scenic Film Festival offers an array of exciting non-film programming and special events

From February 15-19, the 22nd annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival will be held in Nevada City and Grass Valley. The festival offers a wide variety of award-winning films, including those about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy, wildlife, and environmental justice. Along with its impressive slate of films, the festival brings an array of exciting non-film programming and special events for festival attendees to experience, learn from, and enjoy. 

Along with an art exhibition held in conjunction with the Nevada County Arts Council and a two-day outdoor EnviroFair in downtown Nevada City, the festival also offers a number of fascinating experiences, fireside chats at 425 Broad Street in Nevada City, coffee talks at Three Forks Bakery and Brewing, and workshops focused on all sorts of environmental, justice, and sustainability issues. 

This year, in partnership with Gold Crush Climbing Gym in Grass Valley, on February 18, 2024, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, veteran rock climber Timmy O’Neill will lead a special climbing workshop. He will discuss his experience working with Erik Weihenmayer, a global adventure athlete and author who is fully blind, ascending a massive alpine rock face deep in the Sierra Nevada — the focus of the 2024 official selection, Soundscape.  Attendees of this workshop will get a chance to guide a blindfolded climber and experience climbing blindfolded. Space is limited to 24, so make sure you reserve your space ASAP for what is surely to be a sold-out event.  

For those interested in learning about investing for environmental and social justice,Wild & Scenic’s national partner, Nia Impact Capital, a women-first investing firm promoting diversity & sustainability, is offering an excursion, Walk The Talk: Learning about Financial Activism. During this interactive walk through along the Tribute Trail in Nevada City, Kristin Hull, the founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, will talk about case studies and help participants think of ways to align their finances to a more just world. 

Also new this year to the festival is the “Dinner and a Movie”. This special event will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 7:00 PM at The Stone House in Nevada City. Chef Garett, formally of the 5 Star/5 Diamond hotel The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, and the Fifth Floor in San Francisco (where Garett trained under 3 Star Michelin Chef Laurent Gras), will be preparing a three-course menu featuring Crest Point Farms Braised Beef, Riverdog Farms Bintje Potato Confit, and Braised Fog Dog Farms Greens to pair with a curated film session featuring: The Story of Bacanora; The Future of Healthcare is Farm Fresh!; Spear, Spatula, Submarine; Bluebird Sky; Gardener to Guardian; and Frozen Harvest. There is limited seating available. Patrons must reserve their space either with their Watershed Pass or by purchasing an individual ticket. 

During the festival, there will also be activist workshops held at City Hall in Nevada City. One particularly engaging and locally focused workshop occurring on Sunday, February 18th at 10:00 am is California’s Watershed Healing: Community Screening + Panel. This workshop features a FREE screening of the 2024 official selection, California’s Watershed Healing. After the film, there will be a panel discussion facilitated by the SYRCL Executive Director, Dr. Aaron Zettler-Mann. The panel will feature California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano, Professor of Engineering and Management at UC Merced Dr. Roger Bales, and Professor Emerita of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Merced Dr. Martha Conklin, who will all be talking about how healthy forests are crucial to California’s water supply, the challenges California faces with more extreme precipitation patterns, and opportunities for the future.