Driving into Nevada City, California, I was fascinated by the historic Broad Street buildings and visions of the surrounding hills during the 1849 gold rush. I was there to represent Osprey Packs as a National Partner of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is put on by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. In a nutshell, the festival is a combination of films, activist workshops, speakers, art, music, food, drink and human energy, although it is hard to capture the essence of the experience in a sentence of words. One really must attend the festival and participate in all of its offerings to truly comprehend what is going on.
SYRCL’s stated mission for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival is “to inspire people and unite communities to heal the earth”. Admittedly, this sounded a little “hippy-dippy” at first appearance and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After spending a jam-packed weekend partaking in all that is the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, I walked away with a renewed sense of what an awesome planet we live on and the tremendous adventure opportunities that exist in our own backyards as well as across the oceans in faraway lands. I also have more knowledge of the threats and challenges that our planet is facing and increased resolve to make a difference in maintaining and improving these adventurous opportunities forever. Film topics varied, ranging from the story of conflict resolved between the US Forest Service and mountain bikers building illegal trails in Washington as documented in Pedal-Driven: a bikeumentary to Animal Beatbox, a 2-minute animated film with music that you can’t get out of your head.
Watching the stories of how bicycles changed the lives of five individuals in different parts of the world in With My Own Two Wheels made me feel a touch of guilt as I reflected upon a conversation I had with my wife the previous evening regarding which new road bike I wanted to purchase. The problem is I already have a shed with 14 bikes hanging in it. Seeing the difference that one bike could make to someone that really needed it but could not afford it, changed the way that I think. From now on, each new bike for me will be complemented by a new bike for someone else through a program like 88Bikes or World Bicycle Relief.
This is exactly the type of difference that most of the film makers were hoping to achieve when embarking on the sometimes monumental task of creating a documentary film. There were films about cycling, paddling, climbing, world travels, environmental issues, human interest stories, wildlife and just about every other topic. No matter what your interests, there was a film at the festival for you. Wild & Scenic now embarks on a nationwide traveling tour. It is definitely worthwhile to check the schedule and set aside some time to see when it comes to an area near you. For dates and more information check the Wild & Scenic Film Festival website.