Special Guests

2015 Film Festival Special Guests

childsCraig Childs writes about the relationship between humans, animals, landscape and time. His stories come from visceral, personal experience, whether in the company of illicit artifact dealers or in deep wilderness. He has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, and is a commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, Outside, and Orion. At High Country News, he’s a contributing editor, and he teaches writing for both University of Alaska in Anchorage and Southern New Hampshire University.He has won several key awards including the 2013 Orion Book Award, the 2011 Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, 2008 Rowell Art of Adventure Award, and twice he has won the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, first in 2007 and then 2013. Childs is an Arizona native, and he grew up back and forth between there and Colorado, son of a mother hooked on outdoor adventure, and a dad who liked whiskey, guns, and Thoreau. He lives off the grid with his wife and two young sons at the foot of the West Elk Mountains in Colorado. Craig will be speaking with the film The Story of Place (Saturday night at the Nevada Theatre and Sunday morning at the Stone Hall). In addition, he will perform a multi-media spoken word experience Saturday night at the Nevada Theatre and participate in a book signing at Fest HQ Saturday from 4 – 5:30pm.


covertShelley Covert serves as Tribal Council Secretary and Cultural Outreach Liaison and Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. She is also the Executive Director of C.H.I.R.P. (California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project) a non-profit cultural organization. Shelly is an advocate for the Nisenan people and is a direct, lineal descendant of the Nisenan families that were here before the Gold Rush. The stories of Nisenan survival are some of her favorite to share as they pinpoint the adaptability and tenacious spirit of a people who survived here for thousands of years prior to outside contact. Shelly will be leading a walk on the Tribute Trail Saturday at noon; meet at the Miners Foundry.


delestracDennis Delestrac After launching his career as a writer and photographer in the U.S., Denis stepped by chance into filmmaking in 2001. In 2009, he teamed with executive producer Mark Achbar (Director of The Corporation) and signed Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space. His latest film, Sand Wars (screening info below) has been selected in over 30 festivals and won 11 awards including a Gold Panda, the Greenpeace Prize and a Prix Gémeaux, placing Delestrac as one of Europe’s most bankable non-fiction directors. The force with which Delestrac exposes controversial issues has sparked public debate and influenced political decision-making internationally, positioning him as one of the most influential investigative filmmakers this past decade. His master-classes, focusing on international coproduction, development, funding or access, have been imparted in festivals and universities across Europe, Latin America, the US and Africa. Denis will be presenting the workshop “Investigative Journalism for Documentary Filmmaking” on Saturday 1:30 – 2:30pm at the Activist Center in City Hall as well as speaking with his film Sand Wars (Saturday night at Stone Hall and Sunday morning at the Elk’s Lodge).


fedarkoKevin Fedarko studied political science at Columbia University and Russian history at Oxford before joining the staff at Time Magazine, where he worked primarily on the foreign affairs desk. As a freelance writer, his work has appeared in Outside, Esquire, National Geographic Adventure, and other publications. Fedarko’s first book, The Emerald Mile, won a National Outdoor Book Award, the Reading the West Award, and was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Flagstaff and works as a part-time whitewater guide in the Grand Canyon. Kevin will be participating in the workshop Colorado River on Saturday 11:30am – 1pm at the Activist Center in City Hall as well as hosting a book signing Saturday 4 – 5:30pm at Fest HQ.


jonesJeremy Jones is a professional snowboarder and founder of Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit organization helping to mobilize the winter sports community to fight climate change. As a pioneer of backcountry snow riding, Jeremy has consistently pushed the limits of what can be done with a board and some snow. Whether he’s hiking deep into some of the wildest backcountry on earth in search of new runs, or storming Washington to lead the charge against global climate change, Jeremy is sure to be where the action is. Jeremy lives in Truckee, California. Jeremy will be presenting the workshop, “Adding Science to Adventure”, on Saturday from 4:30 – 5:30pm at the Activist Center in City Hall as well as speaking after the films Higher and Adventure with a Purpose: A Higher Calling on Saturday night at Osborn/Woods Hall.


schlitzMarilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Worldview Enterprises. She also serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, she is a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute. For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. Marilyn produced the film, Death Makes Life Possible, with Deepak Chopra screening Friday evening at YRCS and Sunday morning at the Stone Hall and will be present to speak.



Tony Schmiesing Growing up in Newport Beach and spending a curious amount of time in the mountains for someone with saltwater infused DNA, Tony developed an indiscriminate passion for surf/ski/skate at a young age. In 1980, after miscalculating a dive off a jetty, he broke his neck and became a C 4-5 quadriplegic. 30 years later, drawn by the gravity of the Sierras and that same indiscriminate passion, he took adaptive ski lessons at Disabled Sports USA Far West in Tahoe. It was after those pivotal lessons he met two life-changing friends; Roy Tuscany at the High Fives Foundation and Brian Sheckler, instructor/coordinator at DSUSAFW. As a High Fives athlete, Tony has had the opportunity to push the boundaries of what was thought possible for a quadriplegic skier. He studied film at UC Berkeley, is a graphic designer and writes about life, skiing, music and whatever else scratches his soul at fasterbarnacle.com. Tony will be speaking after the film The Edge of Impossible (Saturday morning at Osborn/Woods Hall and Saturday afternoon at The Center for the Arts) and presenting the workshop, “Reach your Goals” with the High Fives Foundation, on Sunday at 12:45pm in the Activist Center in City Hall.



Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation in 2011, mobilizing outdoor enthusiasts in collaborative efforts to protect our natural world. Today, the Bozeman, Montana-based organization works with volunteers to collect and present scientific data, catalyzing global conservation initiatives. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008, when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. In 2013, he became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with ASC. Gregg has a biology degree from Montana State University, a sociology degree from CU-Boulder, and has led expeditions to six continents. Gregg will be speaking with the film Adventures With A Purpose: A Higher Calling (Saturday night at Osborn/Woods Hall and Sunday afternoon at the Elk’s Lodge) as well as presenting the workshop, “Adding Science to Adventure,” on Saturday from 4:30 – 5:30pm at the Activist Center in City Hall.


tuscanyRoy Tuscany Growing up in Waterbury, Vermont meant that Roy Tuscany grew up on the mountain. After obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Vermont, Roy headed west reaching for his goal of being a professional freeskier. In 2006, Roy overshot a jump at Mammoth Mountain resulting in an injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The communities of Northern Vermont and Truckee, California, poured incredible support into his recovery, literally bringing Roy back to his feet and catalyzing the vision for the High Fives Foundation. Roy’s pay-it-forward venture replicated the immense level of support for other winter action sports athletes recovering from life-altering injuries. Roy will be speaking after the film The Edge of Impossible (Saturday morning at Osborn/Woods Hall and Saturday afternoon at The Center for the Arts) and presenting the workshop, “Reach your Goals” with the High Fives Foundation, on Sunday at 12:45pm in the Activist Center in City Hall.