Festival peppered with films related to the Yuba River
Among more than 120 films to be shown Jan. 11, 12 and 13 at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, you'll find a dozen Yuba River-related films. Yes, the largest festival of its kind in the United States is peppered with cinematic homage to the Yuba River watershed.
The South Yuba River Citizens League organizes and hosts the festival, which takes place in downtown Nevada City.
The Yuba-related films are quite short and mellow. These relatively modest productions offer nice punctuation to a weekend jam-packed with a wide range of issues and more acutely invested passions. Mind you, the festival parades plenty of stylistic variations to what are often heady topics, and the event engenders a generally optimistic tone.
A bunch of swimmers jump and dive and carry on underwater through three minutes of "Summer Time" Yuba. "Water Loving Doggies," go figure, do the doggie paddle for a few easygoing movie minutes. A "Little Bird of the Yuba" is the centerpiece of a five-minute film's kindred mood.
Some of the Yuba-related films cross over to issue awareness. "What the FERC?" does a clever two-minute take-off on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while "Awakening the Bear River" (essentially the same watershed as the Yuba) accompanies a student expedition. The students learn about the Bear and about the upcoming relicensing that, soon, has to run through FERC.
"Ridge Boys" lays down a creative style different from the documentary tendencies of the festival. In its 11 minutes, its neat little narrative fiction focuses on young men on the run. They're in big trouble with the law, trying to save a precious portion of the Yuba from a dam project. It's an entertaining and serviceable cautionary yarn.
Over half the festival films last fewer than 15 minutes, and more than half of those fewer than seven. Only "Stories of the Yuba," of the Yuba related films, ventures past this short short approach. "Stories" composes a soulful calm, integrating a bit of history and politics at the start and finish of its 75-minute run. "We drink from the same well," the movie tells us in one of its captions. It's a watershed experience. Watershed is the term, "Stories of the Yuba" explains, that connects little us to everything near and farther around.
The Wild and Scenic Environment Film Festival is a watershed event, connecting little us to everything near and farther around.