At SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival, we show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. Through these films, Wild & Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action.

In January 2020, SYRCL’s (South Yuba River Citizens League) 18th 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 downtown of Nevada City, California.

Our films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers delight in seeing award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, health, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, food and farming.

While all films will be considered, we are especially interested in films that interpret our theme this year: (re)generation. (Re)generation celebrates the power of renewal, both in our personal hopes for positive change in the world and in our collective actions for a healthier planet. (Re)generation references the work this commitment requires—at human and landscape scales.

In addition to these empowering and for some, life-changing films, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival hosts many of the top filmmakers in environmental and adventure filmmaking today. Such luminaries include Craig Childs, Amy Goodman, Yvon Chouinard, Gary Snyder, Debra Winger, Sir Patrick Stewart, Peter Coyote, Daryl Hannah, Winona LaDuke, Tim DeChristopher, Ron Kauk, Colin Beavan, Julia Butterfly Hill, and Jeremy Jones. Last year, over a hundred filmmakers and activists traveled from around the globe to speak to festival-goers following their respective films and in workshops held in the festival’s activist center. The event also includes a variety of happenings in town: free workshops, parties, wine tastings, book signings, street events, and art shows. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the beautiful and historic town of Nevada City is a perfect backdrop for this winter weekend of festivities.

Following the January film festival in Nevada City, CA, the festival goes on tour and travels to nearly 250 locations throughout the United States and internationally, inspiring individuals to take action and help in the environmental movement year-round. Only 2020 Official Selections will be considered for the Tour; most films selected are fewer than 40 minutes.

Wild & Scenic raises resources and awareness for SYRCL’s initiatives to recover California’s wild salmon and to protect and restore the Yuba River Watershed. What began as a grassroots fundraising effort in 2003 for the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in Nevada City, California, this event is now the largest festival of its kind in the US. A favorite among filmmakers and film lovers alike, Wild & Scenic is a festival by activists and for activists. Our tagline is "Where activism gets inspired," and we truly believe that and will continue to strive in our efforts to provide inspiring, quality storytelling and opportunities to get involved.

We recognize that we cannot achieve our mission of uniting the community to heal the earth without seeing the intersection of social justice with the environmental movement. If we want a better planet for all, we must invite and include all voices. We are committed to providing diverse programming and fostering a welcoming experience for festival-goers. We provide equal opportunities and consideration to all filmmakers and artists. We do not discriminate based on any identity.

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

1. Submission copies must be submitted online. Digital files are the preferred format for screening.

2. PLEASE NOTE: Because we are an environmental film festival, we strive to have sustainable practices. Please do not send printed promo materials with your film. For official selection films ONLY, filmmakers must supply up to 3 high resolution digital promo stills for festival publicity PLUS a trailer for your film. We will notify you by email when we need these.

3. All entries selected into our 2020 festival grants Wild & Scenic Film Festival the right to use film stills and portions of accepted films for promotional purposes.

4. If accepted, final screening copies must arrive at the SYRCL office no later than November 30, 2019, 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.

5. Although the utmost care will be taken with every entry, SYRCL is not responsible for the loss or damage of any film.

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

7. Entry fees are nonrefundable and may be paid in the form of Visa, MasterCard, check or money order paid in U.S. dollars.

8. Only films completed after January 1, 2018 will be considered for Official Selection, unless otherwise approved.

9. Choosing between Environmental and Adventure Film categories does not determine award-eligibility. These categories are simply sorting measures used internally and choosing one or the other does not impact your submission in any way.

Overall Rating
  • Mike O'Connell

    This was my second Film at Wild and Scenic. The first was in 2009. Its not quite as Rootsy /Scrappy as the earlier one but nothing stays the same. Still fantastic with incredible films audiences and vibe. They work real hard to make it happen. Go if you can !

    August 2019
  • Bruno Chatelin

    This was amazing and as a proud winner thank you to all fo rthe hard work, and dedication.

    March 2019
  • Maui Huliau

    A wonderful inspiring festival with great staff and community support!

    February 2019
  • Rare that I would rate all categories with a 5 stars but this festival is simply the best! Inspiring, well-organized, professional, fun and engaging. As a filmmaker, you really are treated like royalty, accommodation, parties, food, everything is included and the organizers are wonderful. I am so satisfied with my experience there, and I hope to return soon!

    February 2019
  • Nika Belianina

    What a great festival! So happy I was able to attend with my short doc "The River of the Kukamas" all the way from Peru/Canada! The festival arranged my stay with a wonderful host. The audiences were incredibly knowledgeable and engaging. Each visiting filmmaker had a discussion with them after the screening. And I mean - each! The town of Nevada City itself is really lovely and beautiful. Definitely go there, if you're selected! My only wish is for the filmmaker's lounge to last a bit longer. It was just too cool to mingle with the others there. Thanks for everything!

    January 2019