Academy of Motion Pictures honors Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival
January 13, 2010
NEVADA CITY – The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has awarded the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) a $10,000 grant to support their Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 15-17 in Nevada City, Calif. “For us, it feels like winning an Oscar,” states Kathy Dotson, director of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. “It’s an honor to be selected by the Academy, which recognizes the most accomplished film festivals in the country with their annual award.”The program is one of the many activities of the Academy Foundation – the Academy’s cultural and educational wing – which annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Foundation also presents the Academy’s rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year. Since its establishment in 1999, the Academy’s Festival Grants Program has distributed 222 grants totaling $3.95 million in funding. For more information visit http://www.oscars.org/education-outreach/grants/filmfestival/index.html.SYRCL received the grant to specifically support a film track featuring films by and about Native Americans and their struggles to achieve environmental justice, issues close at hand in SYRCL’s year-round river advocacy work in partnership with local tribes. “For years now we’ve been supporting the Tsi-Akim Maidu in the work of wild salmon restoration and toxic mining remediation in the Yuba river watershed. It was only natural to partner with the Tribe in producing these special Native American film sessions that the Academy of Motion Pictures has made possible,” states Jason Rainey, executive director of SYRCL.This special session will begin during the opening reception of the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, Friday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 106 Union St. in downtown Nevada City.Following flute music by Mignon Geli and the Nina McNair Family Drummers, a special one-hour radio theater program by journalist Estrella Acosta entitled “Blood, Gold and Medicine: Healing Maidu Country” will be presented at 5 p.m. The Friday event is by donation only, with proceeds supporting the Tsi-Akim Maidu. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.When asked for a comment about working with a broad group of partners, Tsi-Akim Tribal Chairman Don Ryberg stated, “”Ummototodom Yahatitotoma’enkesi”” and then provided a translation from the native Maidu: “Coming together. We become better together.” Native American films and special workshops begin Saturday morning as part of the Wild & Scenic Festival, and run all day in three sessions that conclude late Saturday evening. The film and workshop themes grapple with historic and contemporary cultural and ecological issues.Retrospection for our Common Future: Films & Forums from Turtle Island’s Indigenous CulturesThis theme showcases a selection of films from previous Wild & Scenic Festivals, as well as new titles, translating themes of environmental justice, traditional ecological knowledge, and tribal recognition as experienced in Native American communities. Organized by SYRCL, the Tsi-Akim Maidu Tribe and the Social Alliance Network with visionary support from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, the films and live forums will weave a narrative rich in local indigenous history, trans-global salmon cultures and examples of Indian and non-Indian peoples working together for our common future, healing wounds of the earth and of the heart.In addition to many films, there will be three sessions that combine films and workshops as local tribal leaders discuss the film’s application to the current state of affairs for Indigenous people. These include:The morning workshop, 9 a.m.-noon, titled California’s Epicenter. Tribal leaders and friends join the Tsi-Akim Maidu in a reflection on calamity, recognition, and cultural resurgence that occurred seven generations after the “Gold Rush” turned the beautiful Sierra mountains, rivers and lifeways upside down.The afternoon workshop, 1-4 p.m., “Indigenous Displacement & Rebound,” focuses on the surprising dimensions involved with calling back salmon to their ancestral waters. The workshop will be moderated by Bill Jacobson co-founder of the Calling Back the Salmon Committee and will include Winnemem Wintu Tribal Leaders, Caleen Sisk-Franco and Mark Franco. The third session will be a series of films beginning at 7 p.m. At the end of the film sessions, around 10 p.m., there will be a closing circle where the community can gather to share in closing the day with intentions for re-indigenizing the communities we serve through music and song.
What: Eighth Annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film FestivalWho: Hosted by the South Yuba River Citizens LeagueWhen: Jan. 15-17; films, music, speakers, free workshops, and events from 4 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday Where: Various venues in Nevada CityTickets and more info: WildandScenicFilmFestival.org, and festival headquarters, 210 Broad St., downtown Nevada City, Monday through Friday, 1-5 p.m.
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