WILMINGTON – The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a fantastic way for families to adventure from the safety of their home and support environmental concerns locally.

The AuSable Valley River Association hosts the virtual event from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.

The festival is organized and produced by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL – pronounced circle), which was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect the South Yuba River from dams.

"It's the on-tour version of a festival that takes place in Nevada City, California every January,” Tyler Merriam, donor outreach associate, said.

“This is now the 18th year of the festival. Because of COVID-19, it's been turned into a virtual event through a virtual platform so people can purchase tickets, log in and there will still be emcee clips from myself and Kelley Tucker, our executive director.”

The fest is similar to the Paddling Film Festival or the Banff Film Festival.

"An organization, usually, nonprofit like us or the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, will bring a film and there will be an organization that will sponsor it," Merriam said.

"It's partly entertaining, partly inspiring, partly a fundraiser, etc. We don't have a detailed connection to a lot of the films."


The Adirondacks aren't specifically featured in the festival, but the Hudson River is.

“More so, the southern part of the Hudson River, that's our feature-length film,” Merriam said.

“It's called 'A Living River.' The whole goal of the film festival is we view over 1,000 hours of video clips and then select some of the films that are most applicable to the work we are doing as the Ausable River Association and similar works that environmental nonprofits are doing in the Adirondacks. This work in environmental conservation may be done all over the world.”

Geographically, the films encompass New Zealand, western United States, South America, etc.

“All based on the idea of a hopeful environmental future and progress being made," he said.

Jon Bowermaster is the filmmaker/director of “A Living River.”

"It follows the history of the Hudson River's past pollution and how that has affected the fishing life within that river," Merriam said.

"It follows the DEC efforts along with the Hudson River River Keeper. They basically use lessons from the past commercial fishery to learn more about the ecosystem in the Hudson River and how to protect it. It's closer to the NYC side. But it's interesting most of us know the Hudson River as this beautiful, river up here and it transitions into this brackish river down by the Atlantic."

The agency studies glass eels.

"It's a tiny little eel that is clear," he said.

"It's translucent. All the way up to 14-foot-long Atlantic sturgeon, a massive fish. Those are some of the examples of what they are studying to learn more about the ecosystem and how it can be protected."


Twelve films will be screened.

Admission is $10 for students, $25 individual and $40 households.

“The household admission has been the most popular because people want to watch it together with their families, their roommates and so forth,” Merriam said.

Proceeds go to local programs such as water quality monitoring, river restoration and education outreach.

“All the money is going to be injected back into the local community in the Ausable and Bouquet watersheds. We're a very community-based, partnership-based organization.”

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Wild & Scenic Film Fest website link: https://www.ausableriver.org/events/wild-scenic-film-festival

Film Fest trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dee0_-x5AB0&feature=emb_title

Film Fest ticket purchase link: https://qudio.com/event/AusableRiverNY/register

More about the festival: https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/

Link to info about the feature film, A Living River: https://www.hudsonriverstories.com/a-living-river/


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