BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Southern Sierra Film Festival kicked off its first annual festival Sunday celebrating the unique natural resources of the Southern Sierra Mountains through documentaries.
The festival showed six locally made documentaries reflecting on the importance of wild places and rivers and to inspire the next generation of conservationists and film makers.
“Our film was a kayaking film, white water kayaking, it’s basically just a film about one of the best white water sections in the world which is called the Cataracts of the Kern which is all the rapids that are in the Kern Canyon," said Evan Moore.
It's a section of the Kern River that was known for its huge water flows, and the film 'Golden Era' showcases just that.
“It came out a few years ago in 2019 when we had a huge water year, lots of snow in the mountains which meant the river was very high," Moore said.
But the films athlete, Evan Moore said in the years since the film was first released, the river has changed.
“We’ve had a very extreme drought the last two years so we have not seen water flows like that. To put it in perspective when this film was made, the river was at about 5,000 cubic feet per second and this past spring and summer the river down there peaked at about 600 cubic feet per second so pretty big drastic difference," Moore said.
The festival brought together creators to shared their stories on environmental and community work all based in Kern County. Kern River Conservatory director Gary Ananian says this is a festival for environmentalists to be heard.
“The goal is to get people inspired and to get involved with their local non-profits such as Kern River Conservancy to get out there and volunteer and support our cause of protecting the Kern River and we want the river to be clean and accessible for everybody to enjoy," Ananian said.
Other films documented the use of natural resources.
“We put our time, our hearts and our soul into bringing this bird. We’re stepping into his world, we’re just stepping into his world basically and teaching him how to hunt and kill," Mike Orr said.
Falconer Mike Orr doesn't hunt with weapons, instead he trains falcons to do the work, and after months of training and documenting its progress, the team plans on continuing their journey.
“Now, he is in his adult plumage, his second year, so yeah Shawn will come out and take some photos and video and we’ll see how he’s developed in one year," Orr said.
If you weren't able to make it out to this festival, this is just the start of its upcoming tour. It will head to Kernville, Tehachapi, and back to Bakersfield next year.