Jury Members

(2018 Jury Details Coming Soon!)

Our seven person jury will spend hours deliberating our 2017 official selections and we eagerly anticipate their decisions to name our Award Winning films! The Jury will be deciding upon seven awards as well as a set of Honorable Mentions: Best of Festival, Spirit of Activism, Most Inspiring Adventure Film, Best in Theme, Best Short, and Two Jury Awards.  We’re grateful to the below individuals who offer their vast expertise and valuable time to honor this process.


Distinguished Jury for the 2017 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 www.startlets.com. Besides selection committee and jurying devotions to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, he has done the same 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.



Michael_Brown Headshot

In his career, Michael Brown excelled as both adventure athlete and as a filmmaker. He has been to the summit of Mount Everest five times, each time with cameras rolling. His films have spanned all seven continents and covered subjects from wild places conservation to social justice. His work as a director and cinematographer has won many festival and industry awards including three Emmys. Michael is also a recipient of the International Alliance For Mountain Film’s Grand Prix, the Explorers Festival’s Camera Extreme and the Giant Screen Cinema Association (IMAX) Outstanding Cinematography Award. Michael’s lens has captured ice caves for NOVA, tornadoes for Discovery, science at the South Pole for National Geographic, mountain climbing for IMAX and avalanches for the BBC.  His current film is the story of blind kayakers attempting to solo kayak the entire length of the Grand Canyon. Michael has made a habit of going to the world’s harshest, most dangerous environments and always comes back with incredible footage and compelling stories. Outside Magazine describes the cerebral filmmaker as a “swashbuckling librarian,” and Men’s Journal calls him “a master of gut-dropping action.”

Michael loves teaching and founded the Adventure Film School to bring new people into the activity that he loves to share in 2007. He still participates in the film school as an instructor as well as teaching workshops at events and film festivals around the world.


Kimberley MilliganKimberley Milligan  is a nonprofit consultant who is passionate about water and rivers. Since 2013 she has served on the American Rivers Board of Directors in a variety of capacities and is currently Vice Chair. A whitewater kayaker, she served seven years on the Board of Directors for SYRCL, including as Board President and as Interim Executive Director. Kim holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She feels fortunate to reside with her fiancé Chris and their two dogs in the Sierra and Rocky Mountains – on Lake Tahoe and the Animas River.


Kristin RothballerKristin Rothballer is a transformative social change leader, with a focus on where care for the planet meets advocacy for equality and justice. She consults on strategy, programs and organizational development for nonprofits, foundations and social and land-based enterprises. Her current projects include serving as a Senior Fellow for Center for Whole Communities; helping to design FIREROCK, a musical to engage people around climate change. She is also on the teaching team of Ecology of Awakening, a program through Edge at Commonweal. Kristin recently helped to build a new rural retreat center as Program Director for Bell Valley Retreat. She previously served as the Managing Director of Green for All, an organization she helped to found, which is working to build an inclusive green economy. She was the Program Director at Tunitas Creek Ranch/New Priorities Foundation, a foundation and working farm that hosted educational programs and retreats. For many years, Kristin worked as the Director of Programs at Bioneers, where she led efforts to widen participation in ecological and community restoration, particularly among underserved youth. Her background includes nonprofit management, teaching, community organizing and marketing strategy. Kristin serves on the Board of Trustees for the Tyler Rigg Foundation and also on the Board of Directors for Windcall, Edventure More and CTZN WELL.


Jim SanoJim Sano is World Wildlife Fund’s Vice President for Conservation Travel. He was formerly President of Geographic Expeditions, a San Francisco-based adventure travel company.  Prior to joining Geographic Expeditions, Jim served as a ranger and special assistant to the Superintendent at Yosemite National Park.  Jim  was also the founding chairman of the Mono Lake Foundation and served on the boards of the Trust for Public Land, the Natural Step, and the Yosemite Restoration Trust.  He is currently advisor for Tompkins Conservation in Chile and Argentina. Jim is the recipient of five National Park Service Special Achievement awards and led the first American men and women’s West Ridge Everest expedition, the first guided crossing of South Georgia Island, and other ground-breaking expeditions throughout Asia and Latin America.


Mother Jones staff headshots

Mother Jones staff headshots

Since joining Mother Jones in 2003, Publisher Steve Katz has worn a lot of different hats, but now devotes most of his time to guiding its development efforts, especially the Moment for Mother Jones special fundraising campaign. Before joining MoJo, Steve’s nonprofit career included working for organizations involved with environmental advocacy, the arts, social justice, and neighborhood-based housing development. He received his PhD in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz in 1987, and his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1974.  He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Rachelle. His son, Noah, is a Juilliard-trained actor hitting the boards in New York City. 


doug-hawes-davisDoug Hawes-Davis is co-founder of the Montana-based documentary production company High Plains Films.  Since 1992, he has collaborated with Dru Carr on more than 30 documentaries. His most recent film, All the Labor, premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and Libby, Montana (Wild & Scenic 2008 selection) was nominated for a National Emmy Award after broadcasting nationally on PBS.  Doug is the founder of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the largest cinema event in Montana.  He continues as the event’s Director of Programming.  Additionally, Hawes-Davis curates and produces The Montana Experience: Stories from Big Sky  Country youtube channel.


Be the first to learn of the award-winning films, Sunday, 1 pm, in the Stone Hall of the Miners Foundry. Champagne will be served, courtesy of our National Partner Barefoot Winery. Join us and honor the award winning film makers!  A Sunday Afternoon session ticket or Weekend Pass is required and seating is limited.