Inspired by a controversial fixture commonly found throughout the region, a local filmmaker’s creation will be one of the 100 films selected to compete at the Nevada City Film Festival this year. 

Radu Sava’s short documentary, “A California original: The Grey Pine story,” highlights the history of the grey pine, as well as the metaphors and controversies surrounding it. 

According to Sava, the grey pine has often been insulted and persecuted, yet it bears incredible fruit for its California homeland. 

“For me the gray pine is always a great delight and companion to see and meet on the trails and highways of California,” said Sava. “But many people don’t find it ‘aesthetically pleasing’ and want to cut it down. 

This is ironic considering that along with the acorns, the gray pine’s nuts were a dietary staple for the Native Americans for millennia.”

The three-minute and 17-second film features various drone shots that highlight the lush landscapes of the Yuba County Foothills and show the unique characteristics of the many grey pines in the area. 

“The drone is a great tool to make a portrait of a tree and understand its essence,” said Radu. “It served well (with) my aim of bringing a different perspective about the subject, intellectually, visually, emotionally.”

Sava said he hopes this film will open up audiences’ minds to somethings they previously thought they didn’t like and help connect them with nature. 

“I just wanted to ignite an interest in the viewer by hitting an emotional cord,” said Sava. ““It might be just a short film about a tree, but we hope it’s more than that.”

Featured in the Adventure Shorts category of the Nevada City Film Festival, “A California original,” will be shown at the The Onyx Theatre, located at 107 Argall Way in Nevada City, on Friday, August 23 at 4 p.m., Saturday, August 24 at 1 p.m., Monday, August 26 at 1 p.m. and at the Nevada Theater, located at 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, on Tuesday, August 27 at 1 p.m. 

The Nevada City Film festival will be held in Nevada City from August 23-30. 

A complete list of screenings can be found at Tickets can be purchased on the website as well for $49-99. 

Sava has also been working on another documentary entitled, “Not If, But When: A Documentary on Solutions to Wildfires.” This film takes an in-depth look at causes of wildfires, the various ways to implement fire prevention and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each of these ideas.

Sava said he has already filmed several interviews and hopes to complete this film by the end of September. 

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