Workshops & Panels

2015 Workshop & Panel Schedules COMING SOON!

Workshops are Free to the Public!

We’ll have special workshops & presentations around Nevada City throughout the Film Festival weekend, 2014 locations included the Stonehouse, Elixart and the Curly Wolf coffee house. Learn more about the issues and what you can do, get filmmaking tips from pros, and much more at our Activist Center at Nevada City’s City Hall.

Special Workshops, Panels & Presentations

Saturday, 5pm – 6pm, Stonehouse FREE

National Geographic Explorer and iLCP photographer Paul Colangelo discusses the current seismic shift in core Canadian values and what it means for one of the largest wilderness areas on earth. For generations, the vast Canadian wilderness has been a celebrated part of national identity, but at the behest of the current federal government, it is now being viewed as a stockpile of natural resources. Paul will share a series of wildlife hotspots tangled in Canada’s web of  development to illustrate the environmental and humanitarian implications of the nation’s blind race towards northern resource development.

Sunday, 10:30 – 11:30am, Elixart FREE
“John Muir: Empowered by Passion” is a dramatic first-person portrayal of John Muir by Don Baldwin, former Resident  Minister in Yosemite. Don appears annually in Yosemite Valley and tours extensively highlighting the power of Muir’s  life and legacy in creating parks and protecting wilderness around the world.

8:30am, The Curly Wolf – FREE

Saturday. Journalist Joe Donnelly recently wrote a wonderful feature for Orion Magazine about California’s lone wolf,  “OR7,” whose presence in remote Plumas County has sparked a hot debate. Moderated by Orion staff.

Sunday. Join the star of the film Xmas Without China, Tom Xia, for a discussion about filmmaking and issues concerning the US and China today.

Workshops Saturday in the Activist Center


Women on the Front Lines of Climate Change Solutions
10:00 – 11:00am
We are headed toward a potential 4 degrees C rise in global temperature over the next decades that will create unprecedented havoc for future generations. Women are no longer willing to stand by when so much is at stake. Fierce and compassionate women worldwide are committed to making a difference in the urgency of climate change. Follow as the journey of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is heating up! Join us for film and discussion with WECAN International Founder, Osprey Orielle Lake.

Finding the Throughline: Deepening Activism in a Time of Turbulent Waters
11:15 – 12:15pm
Do you feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the environmental and social justice crises we face? Do you find it hard to connect your passion with action? Do you experience a sense of fatigue, isolation or embattlement as an activist? If you answered yes to any of these questions, join us for a participatory workshop aimed at lifting you up and developing awareness of “throughline” practices to reconnect us to ourselves, each other and the world. This soulful, experiential workshop creates a welcoming space for reflection,coupled with synergistic exercises that awaken our collective power to heal the world. Join facilitators Mark Dubois, Tania Carlone and Elizabeth Soderstrom on this internal journey to explore and discover new pathways for a more graceful and fierce activism.

Filmmaker Workshop
Your Television is Broken … Good!
12:30 – 1:30pm
The impassioned activist all too often makes a mediocre film and ends up sabotaging their own cause while draining their and their supporters bank accounts. What parts did they get wrong? This is a discussion of the direction film is going.  (Hint: it’s away from television.) We will predict the future and examine the new landscape with an eye toward  empowering success in documentary film, for both the activist and the filmmaker. Award-winning filmmaker Michael Brown has made a living from filmmaking for more than twenty-five years. He has learned through making many mistakes that you need to get it right or suffer. Founder of the Adventure Film School and leader of filmmaking workshops at festivals around the world, he is on a mission to encourage better filmmaking – and business planning.

Music As a Tool For emPOWERment
1:45 – 2:45pm
Tim DeChristopher will lead a discussion on building an empowering movement. He will discuss his experience with the movement that formed around his civil disobedience case and his experience with the larger climate movement. The role of music as a tool of empowerment will be a major focus of the workshop. Bryan Cahall will lead everyone in singing several empowering movement-focused songs.

Battling to Save Whales in Antarctica with Sea Shepherd
3:00 – 4:00pm
Matt Kimura, a school teacher from Placerville, CA, traveled to Antarctica with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to stop Japanese whalers from illegally slaughtering whales. As the bosun aboard the vessel “Bob Barker,” Matt led a 7 person deck team and drove a fast rigid, hulled inflatable boat through icy seas and among hostile whaling ships. The Sea Shepherd’s actions during that time helped cut the Japanese self-imposed quota by over 500 whales. Matt’s presentation will include video, photographs and first-hand accounts from his Antarctic campaign.

Guerrilla Filmmaking
4:15 – 5:15pm
Mike Mease, co-founder of the Buffalo Field Campaign (based in West Yellowstone), has become an expert at using guerrilla tactics to get video footage you need. He’ll talk about sneaking into places you are not allowed, ensuring your video content is not confiscated and most importantly, how to use your video content to become the number one news source on the issues you are covering. Mike will speak along with some video footage, telling stories about how to capture and create your own guerrilla media.

Workshops Sunday in the Activist Center


Creating the Political Will for a Sustainable Climate
10:00 – 11:00am
Citizens Climate Lobby is a grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.  Learn why James Hansen has said: “If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your  grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.” Panelists include economist Jerry Hinkle (CCL Northern California Regional Coordinator who has lobbied Congress for 7 years to forward market-based solutions to the climate crisis), Peter G. Joseph, M.D (trained by former Vice President Al Gore to educate the public about the devastating impacts of global warming and CCL Group Leader Marin chapter), and Jennifer Wood (CCL Group Leader Sacramento).

Citizens’ Response to the San Juan Ridge Mine
11:15 – 12:15pm
In 1995, a gold mine in a small rural community in the South Yuba watershed breached an underground aquifer. Eleven private wells went dry overnight and the community was thrown into controversy. Eighteen years later, Nevada County received a proposal to reopen the same goldmine on the San Juan Ridge. This issue affects rural communities throughout the Sierra. Come hear community leaders from SYRCL, The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association, Twin Ridges School District and neighbors who live near the proposed project. Session begins with a film about the Ridge community and its interdependence with the watershed, and the extraordinary people who call this place home. Panel: Gary Parsons, San Juan Ridge Taxpayer’s Association; Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, SYRCL; James Berardi, Principal, Grizzly Hill School; Hank Meals, archaeologist and historian. Moderator: Debra Weistar, co-director, Finding the Good Traveling Semester, filmmaker, and landowner.

Who Determines the Future of our Community? An Emerging Civil Rights Movement
12:30 – 1:30pm
Chad Nicholson, an organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), will speak about a new community rights movement which is emerging across the United States. CELDF is a nonprofit law firm which has  assisted over three hundred community groups and municipal governments across the country. This movement consists of local communities which are using community lawmaking power to transition towards economic and environmental sustainability. Nicholson will talk about how communities in eight states across the country are using the law to move towards sustainability, and to elevate the rights of people, communities, and nature above powers claimed by corporations and other governments.

Going Underwater to Save Species
1:45 – 2:45pm
Filmmakers and photographers are increasingly learning the skills required to convey the beauty and vulnerability of aquatic ecosystems. Three of the people who are pioneering this effort. They will share their lessons, some fascinating stories of aquatic conservation and some special photos and new video clips. Panel: Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated (The Lost Fish, Water & Wood and Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia), Thomas Dunklin (Fixing The Earth- One Watershed at at Time and From The Spawning Grounds) and Vanessa Belz (  Moderator: Gary Reedy, SYRCL.

Restoring Rivers Through Citizen Participation in Hydropower Re-licensing
3:00 – 4:00pm
Hundreds of rivers in the United States have hydropower projects that are undergoing re-licensing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for river restoration. With some focus on the Yuba River watershed, presenters will explain how restoration is being achieved with support from  conservation groups and volunteers. Panelists include Dave Steindorf (California Stewardship Director for American Whitewater), Amy Lind (Hydroelectic Coordinator for the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests), Amber Villalobos (Environmental Scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board) and Gary Reedy (SYRCL River Science Program Director).