In February 2023, SYRCL's (South Yuba River Citizens League) 21st Annual Wild & Scenic® Film Festival returns with an incredible selection of films to change your world. Each year, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival draws top filmmakers, celebrities, leading activists, social innovators, and well-known world adventurers to the historic towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley in California.

Wild & Scenic features environmental and adventure films from around the world that illustrate the earth's beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. We welcome documentary and narrative shorts and features about nature, community activism, intentional adventure, conservation, health, water, energy, climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, food, and farming. Our objective is to inform, inspire, and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation through stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography, and first-rate storytelling. Films are curated into themed tracks, which pair projects with complimentary subject matter or ideas to create a cinematic journey for audiences.

Each year, filmmakers and activists travel from around the globe to speak to festival-goers following their respective films for Q&A, in workshops held in the festival's activist center, and in talks and chats throughout the weekend. There are many opportunities for filmmakers to connect with peers, audiences, and the press.

While all artwork will be considered, we are especially interested in pieces that interpret our theme this year, CommUNITY. 

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the South Yuba River Citizens League. Founded on the premise that “people can save a river,” SYRCL has been uplifting the community by uniting and engaging with local citizens to protect and restore the Yuba River Watershed for decades. With this in mind, Wild & Scenic’s theme focuses on the importance of approaching challenges as a unified community, and reflects the significance of grassroots movements in protecting nature for future generations.

***Information Regarding COVID-19***
Wild & Scenic Film Festival staff are in the early planning stages of our 2023 event. We are hopeful that an in-person or hybrid (virtual + in-person) event will be possible. If an in-person event cannot be held, we will pivot to a virtual festival. Updates will be posted here as more information becomes available and further decisions are made.

(Updated May 2, 2022)

Ten "Yubie" awards are given each year:
Best of Festival
People's Choice
Spirit of Activism
Most Inspiring Adventure Film
Best in Theme
Best Short Short
Jury Award (x2)
Student Filmmaker
John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award

Three Honorable Mention certificates are awarded by our Jury, in addition to a Best Kids Film and Honorable Mention, awarded by our Kids Jury.

1. Submission copies must be submitted online (no DVDs, Blu-rays, DCPs, thumb drives, or other physical media will be considered)

2. All entries selected for our 2023 festival grant the Wild & Scenic Film Festival the right to use film stills and portions of accepted films for promotional purposes.

3. If accepted, final screening copies must arrive at the SYRCL office no later than November 25, 2022, or the entry will not be included in the festival. Filmmakers are responsible for shipping costs to the festival. All copies of the films become SYRCL's property unless otherwise directed.

4. Non-English entries must be submitted with English subtitles.

5. All films in the English language must submit a closed caption file in .scc, .srt, or .vtt format if accepted.

5. Entry fees are nonrefundable.

6. Only films completed after January 1, 2021 will be considered for Official Selection unless otherwise approved.

7. Wild & Scenic does not show works in progress unless otherwise approved. Works in progress will be considered, but programmers cannot guarantee that any screeners updated after submission will be reviewed. Be prepared to have your original screener be reviewed. Completed projects are preferred.

8. As Wild & Scenic is a fundraiser for an environmental non-profit, we can only offer a limited number of fee waivers, and we cannot guarantee them from year to year.

9. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that:
-Your film is not subject to any litigation, nor is it threatened by any litigation.
-You are duly authorized to have this film be screened at the festival.
-You have secured the rights to any and all music and/or footage used in the film.
-You fully indemnify and hold SYRCL and Wild & Scenic Film Festival completely harmless from any and all claims whatsoever that may arise as a result of usage of submitted materials.

Overall Rating
  • mahmut taş

    It is a festival where very beautiful, wonderful films compete.

    March 2022
  • Great communication, great festival. Last minute switch to virtual due to the pandemic - totally the right call - and handled with grace. I was honored to have my film included with so many beautiful & important films.

    January 2022
  • Had a great time at the organized events for Wild and Scenic 2022! Was disappointed the in person festival couldn't take place, but it was the right call and their pivot to virtual was handled well. Thanks for everything Wild and Scenic!

    January 2022
  • Camilla Becket

    All our experience with Wild & Scenic was positive from our first contact with the dedicated festival organizers. They had to make the difficult last moment decision to go virtual. All this culminated for us and for our film The Seeds of Vandana Shiva at the last night prize giving where to our complete and most pleasant surprise, we won two awards. Very gratifying as filmmakers when it's been a long haul, though the award goes to our subject, the extraordinary activist Dr. Vandana Shiva.

    January 2022
  • Amanda Lipp

    Incredibly inspiring festival. Very passionate and professional staff who truly care and want to help change the world through film and activism.

    January 2022