We were only gone 3 1/2 days but it seemed more like 3 1/2 weeks. It wasn’t that our time spent in Nevada City was lagging. It was that, without the normal routine, time and days were jumbled into a blur of time and space.
Because many of you are curious about what happened up there, I’ll try to keep the post short, but meaty, focusing on the highlights during the three days our life was interrupted. By keeping it short & sweet, I can then move onto to life here on the urban homestead as we settle back in routine. There’s lots to talk about there!
First , there are quite a few people we’d like to thank: Janet Cohen, Kathy Dotson, Sarah Regan, Susie Sutphin, Patricia Montijo & Family, Julia Metcalf, SYRCL, California Organics and the over 450 volunteers there at 7th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival. I am sure I missed a few!
Thank you for your hospitality, enthusiasm and support! All your work and effort made it a very enjoyable event for us.
We left LA around 5 am on Friday morning and arrived at Nevada City a little after 12 noon. Driving up in the Sierras, we couldn’t have asked for better weather – no ice, no snow. Sunny and comfortable – perfect. And it stayed that way the whole time we were there.
Climbing up from the fertile, foggy San Joaquin Vallery, over the deltas of Sacramento, through the tree line and into the legendary and majestic Sierra Nevadas, we entered the quaint and historic town of Nevada City, population 3,000.
After checking in and getting our filmmaker’s packet and badges, we then had to find the home of one of the local residents where we were staying. Their beautiful home was tucked under tall pines and even had a heated pool. All of us were eyeing the open land with envy. Oh, that’s right. Have to keep things short!
So we dropped off some of our gear and headed back to Nevada City for the opening reception at 4pm. We ate and chatted with a few people. Even before our film screening that very night, a lot of people already knew who we were and came up to us and expressed their excitement at our being there. Some shared how, after stumbling onto our website years ago, PTF has transformed their lives and the Film Festival
After milling about at the reception for a few hours, it was time to go to the Great Hall at the wonderfully old Miner’s Foundry (a very historic place). Homegrown Revolution was to be screened there at about 7:15 pm. Farmer D was to give a brief history on the unlikely circumstances about how the film came to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, It was through the “power of one” person telling another about us who told another, etc..
The energetic Vice Mayor of the town, Reinette Senum (who I found out afterward had an incredible story of an adventure in Alaska), was the MC for our venue and announced our Homegrown Revolution film with a highly enthusiastic and rousing introduction to a full house of over 300 people. After her inspiring comments, you could sense the anticipation in the pause before the film started. We only had a short time to tell our story; but from the whoops and thundering applause, I know the film definitely left an impact with the people in the theater that evening. After the film, the Vice Mayor told the crowd that Farmer D and his family were here in person and the crowd just went crazy. It was a truly amazing (and humbling) time.
Even though we were tired (it had a been a long day), we couldn’t leave such a dynamic atmosphere. So we stood around after in the lobby to meet and greet. Many people were coming up to all of us, saying that it was the best and most inspiring film they had seen that evening. Of course, many were loaded with questions and we tried our best to answer everyone!
My ultimate favorite moment of that evening was when two little girls, Emma and McKalla, come up to us afterwards and said that they really enjoyed the film and they liked the fact that I was “Laura Ingalls.” They had read all the LHOTP series and they were just fascinated by our film. A very sweet moment, especially when you know you have just made an impression in a young person’s life.
We didn’t get out of the venue till after 11 pm and, arriving at our host’s home, we collapsed after a long day. Oh boy, did we need sleep because the next morning we had to be up early. They wanted us back in Nevada City setting up our table at City Hall for their day long activist workshops.
PTF’s free workshop wasn’t until 2pm. Well, actually it couldn’t really have been considered a “how to” workshop because the Wild & Scenic folks wanted to screen the inspiring Homegrown Revolution film once again. Time was limited because of the back to back workshop on the hour; so, in essence, Farmer D had about a 20 minute power point presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q & A. Hard to fit everything in such a short time period; but Farmer D pulled it off and offered some valuable tips on how to start your own revolution.
Every where we went walking the streets of Nevada City, we had people who had seen the movie the night before coming up to us, wanting to tell us how inspired they were by the film.
At 11 am on Saturday, it was “Chat with the Filmmakers” as each filmmaker was assigned to a local eatery to meet and greet. We were scheduled to be at one of the cute little coffee shops situated on the side of the hill, nestled among beautiful old homes and towering pines.
We had to be back at City Hall at 1:30 and already there was a line of folks waiting for our presentation. As we were setting up, more and more people came. The room was packed. So packed that there wasn’t an empty chair, so people were standing along the entire length of the room, sitting on the floor or even listening in the the hallway because they couldn’t get in the room. I’m not exaggerating when I said it was packed! The room held about 60 seats and we easily counted about double that amount.
The Wild & Scenic volunteers and staff commented after that PTF drew the biggest workshop crowd ever and they were just as excited as we were. The Vice Mayor was there and after the workshop asked for a show of hands from the locals who would be interested in planting Freedom Gardens in their yards because it’s her goal to convert 30% of Nevada City homes to edible yards. Hands, hands and more hands went up. You could see in her face she was both stunned and impressed. You could sense that PTF had just planted a seed right then and there and that a movement would grow from that very day.
During the day the co founders of Free Range Studios (of Meatrix and Story of Stuff fame) introduced themselves to us, saying they have known about us for sometime and have been inspired by our project and the work we do.
After a going here and there, Saturday night at 10-12pm was the gala. People kept coming up to us, shaking out hands. I can’t remember all the great feedback as it seemed to melt together in one positive moment. We met one young man who was just gushing over the film and how inspiring it was. He was so high on hope that he wanted a homegrown revolution tee right then and there. So Justin went out and got him an extra shirt in the car and he changed right in front of us at the gala!
Sunday was a “free day” for us so we told people that we’d be at California Organics at 10 am for a Freedom Gardens meetup. Over 25 people took time away from the day long showing of films to meet with us. We were just excited as they to meet the locals. Everyone was friendly and inquisitive. Many were telling us that they were inspired to do the same at their place.
Only 1 actual Freedom Gardener showed up; but, after the meeting, I had anticipated that many more from that area will join. Hopefully, there will be a contingent of Grass Valley Freedom Gardeners that sign up and keep these meetups going. In fact, quite a few signed up already this morning – welcome!
Another highlight of our time was meeting with ONE Freedom Gardener Julia (who blogs here), who was incredible with her wonderfully charming personality. Julia, we enjoyed meeting you and sharing stories!
We concluded the meetup at California Organics a little after 1pm. We could have stayed longer; but people wanted to get back to the festival since it was the last day to see all the documentaries. So we, too, took the time to watch a few. People in the venue and on the streets were still coming up and saying that our film was the most inspiring they had seen. There were loads of films from American Outrage, Cost of Oil to the tear jerker – Saving Luna. 170 films in three days.
Sunday at 4 pm, the film festival came to a close. We said our goodbyes, picked up our swag bags filled with goodies, walked around the quaint little town for one last time (not wanting to leave but knowing we had to) and headed back to our guest house to get some sleep. We were up bright and early Monday morning (3am) to drive back down the 5 hwy and the 7 /12 hours back to LA.
Well, that’s the festival in a nutshell folks.
It was for us an inspiring and also humbling experience. We came up there and inspired a few hundred more people to be the change and live the solution. It’s truly amazing to see the impact such a short film has and we are grateful that we had a chance to share it with many others.
Oh, and no, we didn’t forget! For those of you who asked, we took pictures as requested. Here’s a few, er, more for you to enjoy.