How to Festival

What is a film session?

A session is a grouping of films and venues during the weekend. Wild & Scenic has five sessions: Thursday Evening, Friday Evening, Saturday Morning & Afternoon, Saturday Evening and Sunday Morning & Afternoon. When you buy a session pass you have access to all the venues open during that session. During any given session, there are 7 to 8 venues screening films. For the second year, Grass Valley will also host film sessions.  Please note that most of the Special Events (including Saturday Morning Kid Films) require a separate ticket, because they are not included with any of the film session passes or the Weekend Pass.

I really want to see a certain film. How can I make sure I get a seat?

Experienced film festival goers know that if there is a film you really want to see, get to that theater EARLY! Even if that film is playing in the middle or the end of a session, get there before the beginning of the session and stay there to make sure you get a seat. And remember that many of the films will play more than once throughout the weekend. Also, some of the award winning films will play at the Nevada Theatre on Sunday night (the award winners will be announced on Sunday afternoon at the Award’s Ceremony in the Miner’s Foundry).

Why can’t the festival guarantee me a seat at the film I want to see?

All venues are first-come, first-served. We can guarantee you a seat at one of the venues, but not necessarily at the one you may want. If you arrive at a venue that is full, please check with the volunteers at the door for real-time updates on available seating at other venues.

There are films I want to see playing at the same time. What should I do?

The majority of films are screening more than one time, so check the schedule to see if those films are playing again at another time. And if you still don’t get to see everything you want, check the SYRCL office’s Festival Film Library at the end of January to rent 2015 films (and films from years past) – free to SYRCL members!

How can I meet and talk with some of the guest filmmakers and speakers?

One of the coolest things about Wild & Scenic is meeting the great people behind the films. You’ll probably bump into them in one of the venues or around town (look for their special badges), or you can meet some of them after sessions and at our fabulous Gala Event Saturday night. Some of our filmmakers and special guests will also be facilitating Activist Workshops on Saturday & Sunday, which is a great way to get a more intimate sense of their work.

What are the workshops all about?

On Saturday and Sunday at the Activist Center (located in City Hall, Downtown Nevada City), you can learn more about the issues presented in the films and how you can get involved. And if you are a budding filmmaker, learn the secrets of industry professionals! And did we mention that the workshops are FREE to the public?  In addition to having organizations linked to the issues in the films, there will be booths representing local and national organizations at the Enviro Fair in the City Hall lobby throughout the weekend. There will also be other panels and presentations in film sessions and at several locations around town.

What if I fall in love with a film and want to share it with all my friends at home?

First of all, be sure to vote for it for the People’s Choice Award! And then, keep your eye out for filmmakers selling their films throughout the festival. And don’t forget about SYRCL’s Film Fest Library mentioned above.

Is there anything else to do?

YES! We have music, awards, workshops, food, wine and beer, spontaneous music on the street, incredible art and even a natural history walk! Check out the Special Events page on the website – there’s something for everyone – and many events are FREE. Or take a break and have fun shopping, eating & drinking in Nevada City, or visit the river!

And finally, the festival is called “Wild & Scenic,” yet most of the films are not really nature or wildlife films … why?

The film festival was named in honor of SYRCL’s successful campaign to achieve state Wild & Scenic status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River. That victory took many years, thousands of volunteer hours and dollars and grassroots democracy on the river and at the Capitol. The film festival was born out of that spirit and it continues to be an event that celebrates and inspires activism.


  • Traveling to Nevada County? Check out & for lodging. For more about Nevada County & Nevada City visit our Getting Here page.
  • Please carpool! Check out (password: filmfest) to find or share a ride.
  • Bring a chair pad.
  • Bring your own water bottle and coffee cup (the festival does not sell bottled water).
  • Bring extra cash to buy films, festival memorabilia, food & drinks.
  • While in Nevada County, be sure to try the many fabulous restaurants and visit the great shops!
  • Be sure to say thanks to the hundreds of volunteers working this weekend – they work long hours to make this event successful!
  • If you have down time, consider visiting the river, the inspiration of SYRCL’s work and a beloved part of life in the area. The closest and easiest point to access is the 49 crossing off Highway 49, 10-15 minutes drive from downtown Nevada City.

Wondering where you will be throughout the weekend? Check out this short video that will introduce you to some of the hosting venues in Nevada City!