2018 Jury Announced

Our distinguished seven-person jury will spend hours deliberating our 2018 official selections, and we eagerly anticipate their decisions to name our award-winning films! The Jury will decide upon seven awards including: Best of Festival, Spirit of Activism, Most Inspiring Adventure Film, Best in Theme, Best Short, and Two Jury Awards.  We’re grateful to each of these individuals who offer their vast expertise and valuable time to honor this process.


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 www.startlets.com. Besides being a devoted Juror and selection committee member for Wild & Scenic Film festival, he has held similar duties for the Nevada City Film Festival. At starlets.com, you can also link to his Oscars prediction newsletter, which he’s been doing for more than 35 years.


Christi Cooper, an Emmy-award winning cinematographer with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, communicates complex issues through storytelling and visual narrative to raise awareness about her subjects. Her quest for knowledge also led to an M.S. in Microbiology and an M.F.A. in Science & Natural History Filmmaking. Her primary goals are to combine her in-depth knowledge of science with her desire to create compelling narratives focused on raising awareness about sociopolitical issues. Her film awards include a Windscreen Panda Award for Best Campaign Film, Best Environmental Film from Backcountry Film Festival, Best Youth Film from Colorado Environmental Film Festival, and Best Made in Montana from the International Wildlife Film Festival, among others. In her little “free” time, she enjoys being a mother and a partner, growing her own food, and relishing in the incredible beauty and lifestyle of Montana.


Kathy Dotson co-founded SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival and was its director and On Tour manager for the first eight years (and screened enough films for a lifetime). As the River People Director at SYRCL from 2000 – 2009, Kathy wore many hats, including producing the organization’s large variety of community events. Kathy is now a busy graphic designer for many local, regional and nationwide non-profits, businesses and events, including Wild & Scenic. And if she isn’t teaching a Spinning class at the South Yuba Club, she is adventuring outside with her husband and two young daughters, Roxy and Scarlet.


Bears Fonté is a filmmaker, festival programmer, and journalist. He founded Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival after two years as the Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival. He also programs midnighters for SF Indiefest. His last short film, ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE, was selected for 70 festivals including Fantasia International Film Festival and Dances With Films. Bears was a producer on the Sundance Jury-Award Winning short THE PROCEDURE. His feature thriller iCRIME, which he wrote and directed, was released on DVD, VOD by Breaking Glass in 2011. He also writes for AMFM Magazine covering indie film and the festival circuit.


As Mother Jones’ publisher, Steve Katz has helped guide nonprofit Mother Jones through its transformation into an award-winning digital-first investigative reporting organization with offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York. Recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors as the 2017 Magazine of the Year, Mother Jones reaches an average monthly audience of 12 million readers online and in print. Having worn many different hats at MoJo since starting there in 2003, Steve is currently the lead staff for The Moment for Mother Jones, a $25 million special fundraising campaign to underwrite investments in the organization’s growth. Steve has forty years’ experience working in the fields of journalism, environmental advocacy, the arts, social justice, and neighborhood-based housing development, and has served on several non-profit boards. Steve received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and his B.A. from Oberlin College. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Rachelle, and their dog Mingus.


Alison Jones-Pomatto is a former board member of SYRCL, The Foothill Theatre Company, and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. She has worked as a Congressional aide, book store manager, and as a professional stage manager. Alison currently splits her time between Nevada City with the Yuba River and the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove.


Jennifer Tennican began making documentary films in the late 1990s in Boston before moving to Jackson, Wyoming in 2002. Her previous award-winning documentaries, The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads and Far Afield: A Conservation Love Story, have been distributed nationally by American Public Television. Currently, she is partnering with her local Slow Food chapter, Slow Food in the Tetons, to produce a film focused on a cutting-edge vertical hydroponic greenhouse with a social mission in Jackson Hole. The feature-length documentary, Hearts of Glass, is in post-production now. The film tells the story of the critical first year of operation of Vertical Harvest, a highly innovative, but risky, experiment in growing crops and providing meaningful employment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Tennican’s work focuses on community, cultural and social identities, conservation and multigenerational connections.

Thank you to all of our Wild & Scenic jurors!