Turning five is the first milestone for NatureTrack Film Festival (NTFF), which will kick off its nature-centric film fest with a celebration from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort.

Highlighting the evening will be the screening of “Wild Waters,” a new documentary about Nouria Newman, a female kayaker who is making a name for herself.

'Wild Waters' poster shows blue and yellow kayak with waterfall in background.
‘Wild Waters’ poster. Credit: Courtesy photo

An after-party will include live music and light appetizers featuring Tito’s Handcrafted Vodka, M Special beer, and wines from local wineries.

The festival continues Oct. 7-8 with other screenings, panels, Q&As, parties, and on Sunday evening an awards presentation.

Movie venues include Fairview Theatre, 225 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, Oct 6-8.
Los Olivos Community Organization Hall (formerly Grange Hall), 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, Oct. 14.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the film ‘Wild Waters’ to Santa Barbara for its California premiere,” said Mitchka Saberi, the festival director. “Noria’s captivating story instantly grabbed our attention, offering the perfect blend of thrills, awe-inspiring beauty, and a whole lot of heart.”

“It sets the stage perfectly for an incredible weekend of nature and outdoor films, and we’re so excited to have the chance to share this amazing adventure with our audience on opening night,” Saberi said.

“Having dipped my toe in kayaking on a trip from UCSB to Platform Holly and back, watching Nouria’s expeditions reminded me of that feeling of adventure and made me want to get out there to experience it again,” said Francisco Lopez, festival director.

An all-access VIP festival pass is $150 if purchased through the beginning of August. Once the films are chosen and announced in August, the VIP festival pass will be $200.

The Bacara opening night party is included in the full festival pass, but can be purchased as a single ticket for $75.

For tickets, visit naturetrackfilmfestival.org/tickets.

Also included in the VIP pass is the one-day NTFF Best of the Fest event happening Saturday, Oct. 14 at Los Olivos Community Organization Hall.

Screenings will include everything from nature documentaries to outdoor adventure films to narrative and animation films.

NTFF will offer a buffet of choices on the big screen for the first time at the Metropolitan Fairview Theatre — from birders to mountain climbers, from the depths of the ocean to jungle adventures in the canopy.

“All of us here at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara are honored to host the opening party for the film festival,” said Steve Janicek, Bacara general manager.

Finding organizations with a similar mind-set is one of the keys to creating strong collaborations in our community for NatureTrack and the film festival.

Sponsors like The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County have supported the festival since its inception 2018 in Los Olivos.

As the driving force behind the mission of NatureTrack, founder Sue Eisaguirre said she believes when you introduce someone to nature, you create stewards of the land for generations to come.

This is also a belief of the Land Trust. Many of the trails the founding organization NatureTrack uses for field trips are on properties for which the Land Trust is a conservator, or which it owns and oversees, such as the Arroyo Hondo Preserve.

“We’re grateful to NatureTrack for their partnership in nurturing the next generation of conservationists in Santa Barbara County and we’re pleased again this year to be part of the Film Festival,” said Meredith Hendricks, executive director, Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.

“The Land Trust shares their commitment to providing access to nature for communities throughout Santa Barbara County,” she said. “In particular, we look forward to a long-term, productive partnership around increasing accessible open space in North County.”

Welcoming back sponsors to NTFF: The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, M Special Brewery, CEC, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, El Rancho Market, Mechanics Bank, Visit Santa Barbara, Global Gardens, Montecito Bank & Trust, Hutton Parker Foundation, REI, McFadden & McFadden PR, Noozhawk, and the Santa Barbara Independent.

New NTFF sponsors include the City of Goleta, Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, UCLA Health, Santa Cruz Markets, Jersey Mike’s, The Leta Santa Barbara Goleta, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce for the Lemon Festival, Jump on the School Bus, Fly SBA, A and J Limousine, and Rad Power Bikes, Golden Cage Films, Bowline Media, Montecito Journal and Cox Communications.

This will be the first year the films will be screened in an actual movie house – the Fairview Theatre in Goleta. Thanks to Metropolitan Movie Theatres for making this possible.

For more, e-mail info@naturetrackfilmfestival.org or call 805-844-5406
Learn how to become a sponsor here.