How To Fest

What is a film session?


A session is a grouping of films shown together in an approximate 2.5 – 3 hour block. Wild & Scenic has a total of 9 film sessions in Nevada City and Grass Valley: Thursday Evening, Friday Evening, Saturday Morning, Saturday Mid-Day, Saturday Afternoon, Saturday Evening, Sunday Morning, Sunday Mid-Day and Sunday Afternoon. When you buy a session ticket you have access to all venues during that session specified by your ticket. But please note, all passholders must buy a separate ticket for the special film events. During any given session, there are 7 to 9 venues screening films.

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 most films will play more than once throughout the event.  Also, some of the award winning films will play at the Nevada Theatre on Sunday or Monday night (the award winners will be announced on Sunday afternoon at the Awards Ceremony in the Miners Foundry). All venues open 30 minutes prior to their start time.

HowToFest2Why 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 available seating at other venues.  Currently, the only way to guarantee a seat for the film you want to see, is to support SYRCL at a significant level. Donors contributing more than $6,000 annually receive the benefit of advance reserved seating.

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

In an attempt to accommodate this conundrum, the majority of films screen more than once.  And if you still don’t get to see everything you want, check SYRCL’s Film Library in February to borrow 2016 films (and films from years past) – free for 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 at the venues or around town (look for their special badges), or you can meet filmmakers after sessions, at the Media Lounge and at our fabulous Gala Event.  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, 9:30am – 5pm, and Sunday, 9:30am – 4pm, at the Activist Center (Nevada City’s City Hall), you can learn more about the issues presented in the films and how to make a difference. Or, if you are a budding filmmaker, learn the secrets of industry professionals. And did we mention that the workshops are FREE?  There will also be other panels and presentations during film sessions and at the Miners Foundry.

howto3Is 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. Be sure to check out all of our special events. There’s something for everyone – and many events are FREE. Or, take a break and have fun shopping, eating and drinking in Nevada City and Grass Valley, after all, these are pretty great towns! And, of course, don’t forget to visit the Yuba!

Grab a Bite to Eat & a beer at the Nevada Theatre.

Got a little longer?  Visit one of our featured eateries for espresso, pizza, salads, sandwiches, gourmet dining, pub fare and ice cream.

Nevada City Featured Eateries:
New Moon Cafe
Three Forks Bakery & Brewery
Sushi Q


And finally, the festival is called “Wild & Scenic,” yet many 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 the Nevada City & Grass Valley websites for lodging and food options. For more about Nevada County, visit our Around Town page.
  • Ride your bike, carpool or take public transportation to Wild & Scenic.
  • Bring a chair pad.
  • Bring your own water bottle and coffee cup (the festival does not sell bottled water). Visit our Greening Page for more tips and information on helping us green Wild & Scenic.
  • 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 Yuba 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.