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Press Releases

SYRCL Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Record Attendance and Award Winners

SYRCL's Wild & Scenic Film Festival draws record crowds, announces award winning films.

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A record number of festival attendees turned out the weekend of January 14-16, 2011 for the 9th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Nearly 4,500 festival attendees, along with award-winning filmmakers, world-renowned adventurers, social innovators, and activists enjoyed the weekend of film, adventure, activism and fun. The stellar line-up of films, early online promotions and the unseasonably warm weather proved a winning combination in increasing the festival’s ticket sales by 21% this year.

This year’s festival brought together outdoor and environmental pioneers such as Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard, Pulitzer-prize winning poet Gary Snyder, and Rainforest Action Network founder Randy Hayes with promising up and coming filmmakers and activists including Tim DeChristopher, Suzan Beraza, Trip Jennings, Andy Maser and Ian Cheney.

For the 2011 Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 110 films were selected. These films were chosen from 350 films submitted from around the world. 62 films at the festival were premieres. Films were screened in 7 locations all within walking distance in historic downtown Nevada City. Over 100 filmmakers, activists and special guests attended the festival to participate in filmmaker Q&A’s, workshops, and other special events.

Highlights include local Maidu tribal members and supporters hosting a free weekend of films and music, Saturday night’s flash mob of more than 300 drummers in the streets of the Nevada City, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Media Lounge hosted by See Jane Do, and the Awards Ceremony.

This year’s festival staff made some note worthy changes including an upgrade of three venues to feature Blu-ray, giving festival attendees an unprecedented HD experience, a revamp to the festival’s website and ticketing system, the creation of a local filmmaker session to spotlight and celebrate local talent and a jury comprised of members from all across the country and locally who are rich in experience with film and environmental activism.

This year’s award winners included – Best Of Festival: Waste Land, dir Lucy Walker; Spirit of Activism Award: Alexandra’s Echo, dir Helen Slinger; People’s Choice Award: Eastern Rises, dir Travis Rummel and Ben Knight; Most Inspiring Adventure Film: Redwoods – Anatomy of a Giant, dir John Rubin and James Donald; Jury Awards: Bag It, dir Suzan Beraza, First Ascent: Point of No Return, dir Peter Mortimer and Nick Rose, A Murder of Crows, dir Susan Fleming; Best Children’s Film: Lost & Found, dir Phillip Hunt and Sue Coffee; Best Student Film: A Mongolian Couch, dir George Clipp and Eva Arnold; and the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award: Ben Knight and Travis Rummel of Felt Soul Media. Honorable Mentions went to: Bearwalker of the Northwoods, dir David Wright and Mimi McGee; Carbon Nation, dir Peter Byck; There Once was an Island, dir Briar March; Truck Farm, dir Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis. Children’s Honorable Mentions: Nico’s Challenge, dir Steve Audette, Water Loving Doggies 2, dir Will Keir.

The Wild & Scenic weekend also gives momentum to SYRCL’s year-long endeavors, including Wild & Scenic On Tour, which travels to 110 venues through the US, Canada and Australia and the Yuba Salmon Now! campaign to restore California’s wild salmon populations. The festival tour brings together the best of the home festival’s films in a three-hour program. With a growing public awareness for the environment, the festival aims to increase this groundswell through inspiring and educational films which hopefully will motivate people to go out and make a difference in their community and around the world.

Each year the film festival is produced with the help of more than 600 volunteers, a hardworking core staff and board of directors and generous national and local sponsors. View the festival trailer here.

About South Yuba River Citizens League: SYRCL (pronounced “circle”) is the leading voice for the protection and restoration of the Yuba River and the Greater Yuba Watershed. Founded in 1983 through a rural, grassroots campaign to defend the South Yuba River from proposed hydropower dams, SYRCL has developed into a vibrant community organization with over 3,500 members and volunteers based in Nevada City, CA. SYRCL is the leading regional advocates for creating resilient human and natural communities throughout the greater Yuba River basin by restoring creeks & rivers, regenerating wild salmon populations, and inspiring & organizing people—from the Yuba’s source to the sea—to join in our movement for a more wild & scenic Yuba River. For more information go to