Keeping the area wild and scenic

Radu Sava has over 20 years of experience in filmmaking and photography. His wife, Rebekah Hood-Sava, is a professional musician and teacher by profession but has worked with Sava on a number of his films. 


The Wild & Scenic Film Festival returns to Nevada  County Jan. 16-20 for screenings of over 140 films, workshops, art installations and discussions and this years theme is (re)Generation – or to focus on renewing and restoring the earth and human communities.

The films, which range from adventure films to environmental documentaries, will be screened at a mixture of locations and theaters in Nevada City and Grass Valley.

Among the many films on the festival docket is one aimed to raise awareness about fire prevention by a local filmmaker. 

Radu Sava and his wife, Rebekah Hood-Sava, began working on a wildfire prevention documentary entitled, “Not If, But When: A Documentary on Solutions to Wildfires,” last March. 

Sava – a filmmaker with over 20 years of experience – said that while working on a previous project, conversations with several fire experts opened his mind to the issue of fire prevention. 

“Everyone is affected by fire, and it’s not easy to get a clear picture of what are the causes and solutions, so we decided to investigate,” Sava said.

The documentary 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. 

As residents of the Oregon House Dobbins area, Sava and his wife know firsthand the concerns of those living in areas of dry vegetation. 

“There are no easy solutions to wildfires,” Sava said. “They all have pros and cons, so there are a lot of successes and challenges related to implementing them.”

The film will be screened at 8 p.m., Jan. 17 at the Nevada City Veteran’s Memorial Building, and again at 1:30 p.m., Jan. 19 at the Gold Miners Inn, in Grass Valley. 

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival website, as well as at the host venues in Nevada City and Grass Valley. Eric Dunn, communications coordinator for the festival, said the festival is the largest fundraiser for the South Yuba River Citizens League, which aims to protect the Yuba Watershed and raise awareness to recover the state’s salmon population.

Aside from film screenings, the festival is also organizing events like guided hikes, fireside chats with artists and filmmakers, and workshops on topics like water in the age of climate change and finance for the greater good. There will also be an art exhibition, with pieces displayed around the two towns.

Dunn recommends attendees download the festival’s official app WSFF: search “Wild & Scenic Film Festival” to utilize the interactive schedule, and plan their experience.

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