Nevada City, CA — From February 16th to the 20th, the South Yuba River Citizens League’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival returns as an in-person event in Nevada City and Grass Valley. The 2023 edition will feature a program including 22 features and 104 short films, continuing to bring together top filmmakers, activists, and social innovators to inspire environmental awareness and action.
This year’s theme is CommUnity, which focuses on the importance of approaching challenges as a unified community and reflects the significance of grassroots movements in protecting nature for future generations.
Another aspect of the theme of CommUnity is accessibility. In recent years, there has been a greater awareness about the social and economic barriers that are prevalent in the worlds of environmentalism and outdoor recreation. Many of the films featured in this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in natural spaces and environmental activism.
For example, the Adventure Shorts 3 Session playing at the Miner’s Foundry in Nevada City on Saturday the 18th and the Nevada Theater on the 19th features six short films focusing on the importance of making the outdoors more inclusive.
In the film “Elevated”, Deaf climber Sonya Wilson shares her testimony in overcoming barriers and gaining acceptance while hosting climbing retreats with both hearing and deaf outdoor enthusiasts. The film “High Road” celebrates the unbreakable bond between Paralympian Meg Fisher and Jack Berry, a young para-athlete whose cycling career is just beginning to unfold.
“From My Window” follows Melissa Simpson, who was born with cerebral palsy, and, with the help of her friend and mentor, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, sets out to climb the mountains in Colorado.
Also featured in this session is the film “Wood Hood” which features DeVaughn, a 15-year-old kid from New York City who loves skateboarding and craves a “quiet place” to escape the chaos of his home, the city, and kids that steal from him. The film follows DeVaughn on a weekend-long group camping trip with Camping to Connect, a BIPOC-led mentorship program that teaches leadership, brotherhood, and inclusion in the outdoors. “Attack and Release” is a film focused on fly fisher and chef Ranga Perera, who, upon moving with his parents to the U.S. from Sri Lanka, lost his father to an unexpected heart attack. Coping with the loss eventually led him to Montana, where he was drawn to the magic of fly fishing and the solace of the river. Through being in nature and meeting the challenges of his personal journey, he learned the importance of mindfulness and living life with an open heart.
Furthering the Wild & Scenic Film Festival’s goal of promoting equity and inclusion, the films in this session and several other sessions throughout the festival will offer films with either open captions (which include background sound descriptions) or subtitles for accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Other sessions that will have captioned and subtitled films include, on Saturday the 18th, Healing in Nature at the Center for the Arts, Trailblazers at Miners Foundry, as well as Nature in Art 2, Enviro Activism, and Creature Coexistence 3 at the Nevada Theater. On Sunday the 19th, the Trailblazers and Enviro Activism sessions at the Grass Valley Center for the Arts have films that are either captioned or subtitled.
A few sessions will also have ASL interpreters who will help with accessibility for the non-film experiences that will be happening, such as Q&A sessions with filmmakers. To see which sessions will have ASL interpreters, check the festival schedule at wsff.eventive.org.
This year’s Wild & Scenic Film festival also has a virtual component which will run from Sunday, February 19th through Sunday, February 26th. All 51 films offered virtually have closed captions.
To find out more about this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival and to purchase tickets go to WildAndScenicFilmFestival.org