For the love of the Kalmiopsis wild rivers: An interview with local filmmaker Nate Wilson

The beautiful and endangered Rough and Ready Creek, tributary to the Illinois and Rogue Rivers of southwest Oregon. Photo by Nate Wilson

The beautiful and endangered Rough and Ready Creek, tributary to the Illinois and Rogue Rivers of southwest Oregon. Photo by Nate Wilson

The Siskiyou FilmFest is excited to announce that we will be screening Nate Wilson's short film NoWhere at the 2017 festival. NoWhere is a stunning homage to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in Southern Oregon, and a call to defend this stunning wild landscape from the threats posed by nickel strip mining. 

This is the second time Nate has joined us with a Kalmiopsis-inspired film for the Siskiyou FilmFest, with the 2016 festival featuring a screening of his short film Bearfoot about Smith River shuttle driver Brad Camden.

Watch a clip from NoWhere:

  • You are returning to the Siskiyou Film Festival - what makes this festival so special, why would you want to be a part of it twice?!  
The Siskiyou FilmFest really feels like a neighborhood gathering. It's a grassroots event that gives people from all of the communities in the area a chance to catch up with friends, share some stories, and enjoy a celebration of what makes this corner of the world so unique.
I'm really drawn to the Siskiyou FilmFest because of the strong community that shows up to make it happen. Its not just a single event, people are out there all year working to protect this amazing place and its great to briefly come together and share in everyone's positive energy. 
  • What inspired you to make a second film about the south Kalmiopsis?
I think I could make a hundred films about this region and still not feel like I have captured a lot of what's out there. There's a huge variety in the landscape itself and then the opportunity to tell stories about it just grows exponentially with all of the different ways people interact with it. I've made a few films that specifically address the threat of industrial-scale nickel strip mining in the South Kalmiopsis, but even with that topic, there are a few different ways to come at it. Whether it is about the adventures possible here, or members of the community standing up to protect their backyard, I'm excited to continue to share stories from this region. 
I originally got into filmmaking and photography because I was so inspired by the rugged beauty of the Siskiyou's and specifically the Kalmiopsis region. Beyond that, I think that the more people that are introduced to this region, the easier it is build support for keeping it pristine and free from some of the destructive mining proposals we've seen lately. I also think its important for local communities to be able to share their concerns about the potential industrialization of their backyards along with what they hope to see in the region's future.  
  • How do filmmaking and activism come together?
Right now, with the relative cheapness of equipment along with the multiple avenues to publish media, filmmaking is an invaluable tool to raise awareness with the general public about different issues. I think filmmaking for the activist is a huge equalizer when you're going against an opponent that has vastly greater resources. You can go out there and tell a story or make your case in an immersive medium that has the ability to really resonate with people. Most of us don't have money to go lobby congress or pay for highway billboards, but with a camera, computer, and a little time you can really go toe to toe with just about anyone in terms of sharing your message. 
  • Briefly, what is your film "No Where" about?
Nowhere is a film about the rugged heart of a wild place told by the lives that have been shaped by it. It is the story of the hope and heartache of being drawn into a decades long fight to protect backyard wildlands from industrial development, and beyond just the environmental toll, an illustration of personal costs to those that call Southern Oregon’s South Kalmiopsis region home if nickel strip mining proposals move forward.

Visit Nate Wilson's website and Facebook page.