Final Day to Buy Discounted Passes!

December 19, 2014

Today is the final day to purchase your 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival weekend passes at the discounted rate!

festivalpassPasses are priced at $110 ($100 for members) until midnight tonight when they’ll increase to $125. Members will still be able to enjoy the discounted rate of $100 after the price increase so check your membership status or join SYRCL today.

And before you check out, don’t forget to take a look at all of the other Special Events we have lined up. There’s plenty of music, art, workshops and parties to fill your schedule over festival weekend!

Buy tickets for Wild & Scenic Film Festival


2015 Program & Schedule at a Glance Now Available!

December 18, 2014

Your weekend planning starts now! The 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival program is complete and online for your viewing pleasure, download the complete 64-page book here.

Or, down2015WSFF_program_schedule_first_pageload a copy of the Schedule at a Glance to figure out which sessions you can’t miss! Then head on over to our Special Events Page to fill in the gaps in your day. We have tons of additional programs offered over the festival weekend for you to enjoy.  Go on an art stroll and check out local selected works displayed at restaurants, cafes and shops around town.  Check out the workshops at the Activist Center and Enviro Fair in Nevada City if you’re feeling inspired. Or  head over to one of the happy hours and late night dance parties if you’re feeling social!

The printed program will be available in January for all ticket purchasers.



Workshop Schedule is Now Online!

December 18, 2014

WorkshopOver Wild & Scenic festival weekend, we’ll have a series of 10 special workshops & presentations at the Activist Center in City Hall, downtown Nevada City. Learn more about the issues and what you can do, get filmmaking tips from pros, and much more. Workshops are free to the public and will run on Saturday from 9:30am – 5pm and Sunday from 9:30am – 4:15pm.

Here’s a glimpse of the weekend’s schedule:

Saturday, January 17, 2015
9:30am – 11:00am
Eddy Out!: Pausing to Find a New Activism. Facilitated by Mark Dubois, Tania Carlone and Elizabeth Soderstom.

11:30am – 1:00pm
Colorado River. Hosted by Sinjin Eberle (American Rivers) along with special guests filmmaker James Q Martin and author Kevin Fedarko.

1:30pm – 2:30pm
Investigative Journalism for Documentary Filmmaking. Led by writer/director Denis Delestrac (Sand Wars).

3:00pm – 4:00pm
Marijuana Grows as a Watershed Issue. Panel discussion with scientists, growers, activists and law enforcement. Screening of Marijuana Grows and Restoration

4:30pm – 5:30pm
Adding Science to Adventure: Gregg Treinish. Discussion with Gregg Treinish and special guests.

Sunday, January 18, 2015
9:30am – 11:00am
A New Vision for Historic Gold Mines. Led by Ignacio Dayric, acclaimed land reuse expert from the Center for Creative Land Recycling.

11:30am – 12:30pm
Author Craig Childs: Book Preview.

12:45pm – 1:45pm
Reach Your Goals with the High Fives Foundation. Presented by Tony Schmiesing (featured in The Edge of Impossible) and Ray Tuscany, founder of the High Fives Foundation.

3:00pm – 4:00pm
California Rivers in a Time of Water Insecurity. SYRCL’s head River Scientist Gary Reedy will lead a panel that includes leaders from river conservation organizations and Colin Bailey of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (Thirsty for Justice).

3:15pm – 4:15pm
#EnviroTeens. Panel discussion by students who tackle issues like plastic bag use, captive animal care and climate change.

And don’t miss the Sunday Morning Coffee Talk at Festival HQ in Nevada City at 8:30am. Presented by our new National Partner, Earthjustice, you’ll have the opportunity to join Earthjustice Attorney Greg Loarie in a conversation about the ongoing fight to protect California’s waters from rampant pollution, degradation and industry water grabs.

See something that interests you? Head on over to our Workshops Page to get some more information about each topic and what will be discussed.


Break out the Bubbly!!!

December 18, 2014

We are thrilled to announce Earthjustice and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly will be joining Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Klean Kanteen, and Orion Magazine as our newest National Partners for 2015.  It is great to have the support of environmentally and socially responsible companies  in a shared campaign to use film to inspire activism.

Earthjustice iEarthJustice_Logos the world’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, tackling the most important environmental challenges of our time. Earthjustice uses the power of the law to protect people’s health, preserve magnificent places and wildlife, advance clean energy, and combat climate change. Since  founding over 40 years ago, their expert litigators have represented more than 1,000 public-interest clients, large and small—and always without charge. Earthjustice is committed to securing lasting protections that help restore the earth to ecological balance and ensure a healthy environment for all people.

Earthjustice – because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Earthjustice’s U.S. docket focuses on three key areas:

  • Preserving the Wild: Earthjustice enforces laws to ensure that species and wild ecosystems can freely exist and adapt to a changing world.
    • Focus Areas: The Arctic, The Ocean Ecosystem, Wild Lands, Wildlife
  • Fighting for Healthy Communities: Earthjustice works at the regional and national level to ensure widespread protections from pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. Their fight for healthy communities involves strengthening standards and protections and holding polluters accountable when they violate those standards.
    • Focus Areas: Clean Air, Clean Water, Pesticides & Toxic Chemicals
  • Advancing Clean Energy for a Healthy Climate: Climate change threatens the world as we know it—and the chief culprit is fossil fuel burning. To avert ecological disaster, Earthjustice is pushing for a shift from dirty to clean energy to stabilize our climate and build a thriving sustainable world.
    • Focus Areas: Clean Energy, Climate Change, Coal, Oil & Gas Drilling (including fracking)Barefoot

The Barefoot Winery is located in Modesto, California halfway between San Francisco and Yosemite National Park in the Central Valley.  Barefoot sources the majority of their grapes from the Central Valley, Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Delta regions of California. The foot on the label pays homage to the original way of crushing grapes.  Barefoot is committed to making wine more fun and less serious!

Barefoot Winery’s grapes are sourced from environmentally responsible farms which practice:

  • Minimizing the use of chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides through integrated pest management and alternative programs for bird control and weed management.
  • Maintaining stream setbacks that are larger than required by law to protect riparian areas.
  • Combining multiple operations on single tractor passes to reduce emissions and soil compaction.
  • Establishing wildlife corridors throughout the vineyard.

In 2007, they created the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project with the Surfrider Foundation to keep beaches clean worldwide.  Barefoot Winery supports over 100 beach cleanups annually across North America.

Please support these wonderful organizations that help us put on the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.  For more information about Earthjustice and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, visit: and


Exploring the Yuba Watershed: Festival Excursions

December 11, 2014

Drive only minutes from town and you’ll find the incredible South Yuba River, the inspiration for the festival and the reason why the South Yuba River Citizens League exists. Drive up the hill away from town and you’ll find yourself amidst the pines high in the Sierra. Whether on your own, or as part of an official Festival excursion, we encourage you to get outside and enjoy these beautiful places during the hustle and bustle of the film festival. Take a break from watching films and get out in the natural world!

EcoSYRCL and Rivers for Change paddle day on the lower Yuba River

For the 4th year, we’ve partnered with Rivers for Change for their River to Reel Community Conservation Paddle Day. You will have an opportunity to view one of SYRCL’s innovative restoration projects, and view gold mining tailings (viewable from outer space) left over from hydraulic mining. It’s the perfect chance to get on the river and learn about the Yuba with SYRCL’s River Science Director before enjoying a weekend of inspiring films at the festival.

Click here for more details and to register for the paddle!

_4DW8869Nisenan Tribute Site Walk
Join Shelly Covert, Executive Director of the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project, for a guided hike to the Nisenan Tribute Site via Nevada City’s Deer Creek Tribute Trail. This hour-long hike will explore the collaboratively constructed Deer Creek Tribute Trail and give participants the opportunity to discuss the Nisenan connection to our local watersheds.

Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 12 noon. Meet at the Miners Foundry.

Miller 2014 WSFF Web (356 of 431)CoHousing Tour

Take a fun tour of Nevada City’s unique cohousing project with architect Chuck Durrett. This community is built on an historical site – the world’s first hydraulic mining site of the 1860’s. They’ve taken an 11-acre piece of land that was formally a “brown field” and transformed it into a thriving, beautiful,”eco-friendly” community.

Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 10 am. Meet in front of the Nevada Theatre.

And if you’re short on time or unable to make the start of one of these events, head on over to our Getting Here page for more information about Nevada City, Grass Valley, the Yuba River and directions and links to other valuable local resources.



December 11, 2014

Wild & Scenic On Tour events are a great way for board members to plug in and support fundraising efforts, membership recruitment, and talk up the work you are doing. Check out Jenna B’s tips on putting your board to work and bring your event to the next level!dulce-de-leche-pie-12

Pie Auction! Board members can be great bakers, and everyone loves a good pie. Sell pies in a silent or live auction. If you need recipe ideas, read on for tried-and-true recipes for crust and Chocolate Chile Pecan Pie from our pie expert, Gabriel Tiradani!

Wine Donations! Some of your board members may have their own wine collection or have winery contacts. Collectively, they could bring in many bottles to be served or auctioned off at your event.

Recruit New Faces! Your board members know a wonderful network of people. Encourage each member to bring one person new to your organization via this event.

Sell Tickets! Ask board members to commit to selling 10 tickets each to your event. They can take tickets with them everywhere they go and be ready to sell if they bump into a friend in the grocery store. 10 board members x 10 tickets = 100 tickets sold!

Make Connections in the Crowd! If you want to recruit volunteers and new members who stick with your organization, those people often need a personal connection to get involved – someone who helped them understand the importance of your work and gave them a warm welcome. Board members are great representatives of your work and mission – have them connect with five new people each during your event.

FLAKEY PIE DOUGH, makes two 10″ deep pie shells

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup very cold butter
1/2 cup chilled water

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and sugar.  Cut cold butter into 1/2 inch chunks. Add cold butter to flour mix and pulse on and off until butter is partially mixed in.  You want to see some larger chunks of butter and some fine small bits – like sand. This butter incorporation can mix fast, 1-2 min pulsing. With the mixture running pour in the cold water in a steady fast stream. Stop the mix a few seconds after the water is added. It’s okay if the dough seems dry or shaggy.

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gather and push the dough together into a mound. You want to see some streaks of butter in the dough. If it seems dry after pushing and mounding it then you can sprinkle a very small amount of water. Split the dough into 2 mounds and press them into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap (or use a lidded container to avoid plastic) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

When ready to roll out and bake, remove from fridge and place on floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll out from the center up and then give a slight turn clockwise. Continue and repeat until you reach a 12 -14 inch circle to fit a 10 inch pie dish.  Press rolled dough into pie dish. Flute or roll the edges if it is a bottom layer pie crust. Freeze the other disk of dough to use at another time.


1 ten inch pie crust
1 cup butter
1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled and chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped 70% semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon Ancho Chile Pepper, ground

Soften dried Ancho Chile Peppers in hot water for 5-10 min. Drain and grind in a blender; blend into a smooth paste.  If you use dry Ancho Chile powder, taste your powder to see how strong it is. Batches will vary from the dry. Use 1-2 teaspoons depending on the strength.

Melt butter and set aside to cool. Beat eggs in a bowl with a whisk until light. Add sugars, mix, then sift the flour in and mix well until smooth. Add cool butter. Mix in the pecans, the Chile and chocolate pieces. Pour into prepared, rolled out pie crust. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes.

Special thanks to Gabriel Tiradani, professional baker and chef, for the above recipes. Find more of Gabriel’s fabulous recipes in The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook, available here:


Volunteer at Wild & Scenic!

December 10, 2014

Join us for the 13th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival and help inspire attendees into a community of committed activists!

Looking for a fun way to get involved with the film festival? Want to meet some filmmakers and learn more about our world? We’ve got all kinds of ways for you to get involved!

Volunteer pic for 2015 brochureFESTIVAL VOLUNTEER
Grab a friend and come volunteer at the fest! We still have volunteer positions available. Volunteer registration has begun for this year’s festival in downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley, January 15 – 18, 2015.

SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a call to action – today’s call is for you to join our festival team as an enthusiastic volunteer.

We have a vast array of exciting volunteer opportunities for you, including:
Concession sales
Ticket sales
Pass checkers
Kitchen help
And many more!

Grab a friend and register online TODAY! In appreciation of your efforts, you’ll earn film sessions tickets so that you too can be inspired. The registration guide and benefit details are available here – the more you volunteer the more films you’ll be able to view! After signing up, you will receive email confirmation within 2 weeks with your position placement.

WelcomeMat_WhiteDoor-72dpi-e1329073313431HOST ACCOMMODATIONS
We’re still looking for host accommodations during the 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Join the Wild & Scenic family by volunteering to host an attending filmmaker or special guest in your own household during the festival (January 15-18, 2015)! We are currently seeking hosts that are able to house one or more of our visiting guests. The participation of our lodging hosts is not only greatly appreciated, but also crucial in enabling our filmmakers and special guests to attend our festival each year. We do our best to match guests appropriately with hosts based on preferences that each party provides. All you need in order to be a host is a guest room, cottage, or other appropriate space you would be willing to share during the festival.

And if you are able to help, we can offer you some terrific perks over festival weekend! Click here to learn more about becomming a host!

If you are interested in hosting or would like more information,
please contact Filmmaker Liaison Jess Swigonski:    (530) 265-5961 x 219


Final On Tour Event of 2014!

December 9, 2014

December 13th – Carbondale, CO

Hosting Partner: Thompson Divide Coalition

About Thompson Divide Coalition: The mission of the Thompson Divide Coalition is to secure permanent protection from oil and gas development on Federal lands in the Thompson Divide area including the Thompson Creek and Four Mile Creek watersheds, as well as portions of the Muddy Basin, Coal Basin, and the headwaters of East Divide Creek.

Click here for more information about Thompson Divide Coalition and to purchase tickets to Wild & Scenic On Tour in Carbondale.


On Tour StampGoing On Tour

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), in 2003. Over the past 12 years it has evolved into the largest environmental film festival of its kind in the nation. The annual event each January in Nevada City, CA, kicks-off the nationwide tour to over 125 cities. Each tour stop is an opportunity for an organization to reach out into their community and bring people together around community based activism. We offer a diverse menu of environmental films that delve into themes such as energy, climate change, conservation, wildlife, community activism, environmental justice, and adventure. Each venue custom builds their own film program to include issues they want to spotlight. Plus, we provide PR materials and a comprehensive planning guide. As an environmental group who has experienced amazing success with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, we want to share our success with other organizations to create a network connected by a common goal – to use film to inspire activism!

For more information about Wild & Scenic On Tour, please contact Jon Wilson at 530.265.5961 x 204.


Meet the 2015 Jury

December 4, 2014

Our jury will spend hours deliberating our 2015 official selections and we eagerly anticipate their decisions to name our 2015 award winning films! Get to know the Jury Members for this year’s festival:

Distinguished Jury for the 2015 Festival

Head Juror, Chuck Jaffee, likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find links to more than 200 films he has reviewed for The Union newspaper at Besides selection committee and jurying devotions to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, he has done the same for the Nevada City Film Festival. At, you can also link to his Oscars prediction newsletter, which he’s been doing for more than 30 years.



sherriejurySherry Bartolucci is a California native and UCLA graduate who served with the Peace Corps in Peru teaching management to the emerging middle class. She has been the President of two small management companies and the Chief Administrative Officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Executive Vice President for Bank of America and was the former President of Music in the Mountains’ Board of Directors. She is the owner of SLB Farms, LLC, a Morgan show horse business where her horses have earned over two dozen World and National titles.


Steve_KatzSteve Katz joined Mother Jones in 2003, and was named the nonprofit journalism organization’s publisher in 2010. Steve has nearly 40 years’ experience working in the fields of journalism, environmental advocacy, the arts, social justice, and neighborhood-based housing development, and has served on a number of non-profit boards. Steve received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1987, and his B.A. from oberlin College in 1974. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Rachelle, and their dog, Mingus. His son, Noah, is completing his acting studies at the Julliard School.


Roger HicksRoger Hicks is a founding member of SYRCL and was the organization’s spokesperson, then board president for 15 of the first 16 years. Roger continues to serve on the board and is an integral part of the Festival Committee, returning to the Jury for the 4th year. He is Medical Director at Yubadocs Urgent Care, which he founded with his wife, Linda Rachmel. He’s passionate about rivers, salmon, healthcare reform, and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. His film credits include Sicko. (Actually, that’s his only one.)



doug-juryDoug Hawes-Davis is co-founder of the Montana-based documentary production company High Plains Films. Since 1992, he has collaborated with long-time co-worker, Dru Carr, on more than 30 documentaries. In 2012, his feature doc, FACING THE STORM: STORY OF THE AMERICAN BISON, was nationally broadcast on the PBS series, Independent Lens. FACING THE STORM won a NW Regional Emmy in the Topical Documentary category the same year. Hawes-Davis has also worked extensively as a free-lance camera operator, producer, director, and editor, assisting with documentaries, television, web video, and non-profit/corporate video production and is also the founder of the annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. Additionally, Hawes-Davis curates and produces THE MONTANA EXPERIENCE: STORIES FROM BIG SKY COUNTRY YouTube channel.

alisonAlison Jones-Pomatto has worked as a congressional aide, bookstore manager, and professional stage manager, including for productions of the Foothill Theatre Company. A former SYRCL Board member, she now serves as a member of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation as well as the Advisory Committees for SYRCL and the Center for the Arts.



DotsonKathy Dotson co-founded the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and was its director and tour manager for the first eight years (and screened enough films for a lifetime). As the River People Director at the South Yuba River Citizens League from 2000 – 2009, Kathy produced a large variety of community events and was the Editor-in-Chief of the organization’s widely distributed newspaper, the Sierra Citizen. Kathy is now a graphic designer and illustrator for many local nonprofits, businesses and events, including Wild & Scenic. If she isn’t teaching a Spinning class at the South Yuba Club, she is enjoying life with her husband and two young daughters, Roxy and Scarlet.


More Than Just Films…

December 4, 2014

We get it. The films are so good, you are almost as excited to connect with other festival-goers after the films than you are to watch them for the first time. To accommodate that need, there are plenty of opportunities for you to meet up with filmmakers, special guests, activists and other like-minded festival attendees over the weekend. Here’s a quick look at just a few of your options. For the full line up, click here.

If you’re the type of person who loves to know what’s happening as it happens, make sure you find yourself at Sunday afternoon’s Awards Ceremony. Be the first to hear the Award Winning films and filmmakers announced. And we’ll be serving champagne to celebrate, courtesy of National Partner Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and cake, too!

Or if award shows aren’t your thing, on Sunday evening, in collaboration with the Nevada Theatre Film Series we will be showing a selection of this year’s award winning films. This session requires a separate ticket, which you can (and should!) purchase ahead of time – it usually sells out in advance. The line up will be a surprise and not announced in advance.

Josh Miller 2013 Film Festival (589 of 776)Wild & Happy Hours: Choose your own adventure. We’re hosting 2 happy hours over the festival weekend, one in Grass Valley on Saturday, January 17 and one in Nevada City on Sunday, January 18. Your ticket gets you a complimentary glass and access to 6 or more libation locations in each downtown area. Each location will offer a tasting of their craft beers or wines and have juried artwork on display per our collaboration with Nevada County Arts. Happy Hours are from 4-6 pm and $10 each. Click here for more information and to buy your tickets.  Then head on over to our Apres Film page to see the other social gatherings happening throughout the weekend.

artonlywborderArt at Wild & Scenic
We’ve partnered with Nevada County Arts for the fourth year in an effort to increase awareness of the intersection between arts and the environment. The festival theme for 2015 is A WILD LIFE, and we challenged local artists to create a piece in their own interpretation of that theme. The verdict is in, and this year’s official art selections have been chosen and placed. Artwork will be displayed during the festival weekend at more than 40 businesses, wineries, breweries, cafes and galleries for you to visit and enjoy.

Click here to see the the 2015 Featured Artists and the locations they will be displayed at.