The 15th Annual Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF) kicks off September 10-13, 2015 in historic downtown Nevada City, CA. Every summer, NCFF makes art into a party, bringing a regional audience of movie lovers together with emerging and top independent filmmakers to showcase award-winning short and feature length films from around the world. The four-day celebration of art, music, and independent filmmaking, includes film screenings, industry panels and workshops, filmmaker Q&A’s, live music and special events.
NCFF has also been called the “Sundance of the Sierra” (Sacramento News & Review) for its emphasis on fiercely independent cinema by showcasing diversity, creativity and innovative storytelling and new voices in film. Each year, NCFF attends major film festivals, collaborates with top film schools, reads countless film blogs, and watches the hundreds of films submitted, to narrow it all down to the very best in independent film. From feature-length documentaries to world premiere animated shorts, NCFF brings in the buzzed-about festival winners, as well as some of independent cinema’s best-kept secrets.
“To celebrate our fifteenth anniversary, we wanted to go back to our roots and celebrate the local filmmakers who are making great films and those filmmakers that are working hard to capture the stories of our community,” explains Festival Director Jesse Locks.
This year’s opening night film is the premier of Music In Mali: Life Is Hard, Music Is Good, a feature-length music documentary about the musicians, dancers and people of Mali who every day create inspiring heartfelt music in some of the most difficult living conditions in West Africa. From the music Capital Bamako to different regions of Mali, local record label System Krush spent the last several years recording and documenting the stories, lives and music of a large group of musicians including Grammy nominated Bassekou Kouyate, Djelimady Tounkara, Grammy award winning Toumani Diabate, his brother Madou Sidiki Diabate, the late Lobi Traore and late legend Zani Diabate to name a few. Music In Mali is narrated by award-winning actor Danny Glover, directed by local filmmaker Aja Salvatore and was made by a local team of videographers. Filmmakers and special guests will participate in a Q&A following the film.
Also on opening night, NCFF brings back the Best of the Best, a who’s who list of former NCFF winners and favorite films and filmmakers over the last fifteen years to see where are they now.
“This program tells an in depth story about the various paths a filmmaker can take in the industry,” says Locks. “We have filmmakers who have gone on to have box office success, direct big budget films, make award-winning documentaries, work on television shows, teach film at the college level, or become multi-media artists. Their paths have been very different but what they have in common is that they started making short films and showing them at small supportive film festivals like NCFF. We wanted to tell that story and show audiences the importance of film festivals as a platform for filmmakers and media makers.”
Other exciting film screenings with a local connection includes the much buzzed about premier of the locally produced and shot TV pilot High Country co-written and directed by Heather Donahue and Matt Herman. The Union Newspaper and NCFF will co-present a special encore screening of Golden Stories of Our Past. The feature-length documentary directed by local filmmaker Zoe Toffaleti features many longtime community members telling the stories about the early days of Western Nevada County.
NCFF worked closely with the Academy of Motion Pictures to present two programs at this year’s festival including one about the magical and innovative world of Pixar (Toy Story, WALL-E, Cars, Incredibles, Inside Out). Audiences will learn how the films are made, enjoy film clips and hear behind the scenes commentary and stories from the artists themselves. Pixar is a CGI production company based in Emeryville, California. The studio has earned numerous awards for their feature films and other work, including 26 Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and three Grammys.
Other exciting additions to NCFF this year include pop-up film screenings in unique intimate outdoor venues including a secret garden, a stone cave, downtown balcony, and more. NEO and NCFF will present an all-night movie party for those twenty and under. The Best of the Fest party and films will be screened outdoors at Ol’ Republic Brewery on Sunday, September 13.
All of this plus close to 100 films – animation, documentary, narrative, foreign, children, comedy, sci-fi – will be screened at this year’s Nevada City Film Festival.
Films will be shown at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center and the Haven Underground. Tickets are $8/$10 for individual screenings or $89/$99 for festival passes. Tickets online at NevadaCityFilmFestival.com, by phone at (530) 362-8601, in person at the NCFF Office, 110 Union Street, Nevada City (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm) and at Briar Patch Co-Op.
(Source: Nevada City Film Festival)