Local filmmaker featured in the Wild and Scenic Film Festival | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local filmmaker featured in the Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Dylan Silver

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Mikey Wier has caught bonefish in Belize, steelhead in British Columbia and Nile perch in Egypt. He’s hooked taimen, the largest trout in the world, in Mongolia, peacock bass in the Amazon and rainbow trout in Amador County, Calif.

The South Lake Tahoe resident’s angling adventures, as well as his passion for conservation, are well documented in his films, three of which will be shown at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa on March 11 as part of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival tour stop.

“I’ve spent my entire life trying to find a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world,” Wier said. “It’s cool to be able to share that with people.”

Excerpts from Wier’s newest fishing video “Soulfish 2,” his environmental-themed action sports video “California Green Rush,” and his short film about conservation of the Mokelumne River will be on the screen at the festival. Wier films and edits almost all of his own material under company name Burl Productions.

“His films are great,” said Lynn Baumgartner, a Sierra Nevada Alliance staff member, who’s helping put on the film festival. “We’re excited there’s an environmental angle to many of them.”

Wier’s film “Soulfish 2” is the follow-up to his widely watched “Soulfish,” which chronicled Wier’s fishing around the world in a style that was much different to typical fly fishing videos.

“It’s definitely the Warren Miller style of fishing video,” said Victor Babbit, owner of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, who gave Wier one of his first jobs in the industry.

Wier was one of the first to film fly fishing in this way, Babbit said.

“Around here in California he was definitely the first to do it that I know of,” he said.

“Soulfish 2” features trips to Mongolia, Egypt, Canada Mexico, Belize, Hawaii and Louisiana, dozens of different kinds of fish, and several high-profile fly fishermen.

Wier plans on allowing Trout Unlimited to use the film on a nationwide tour to raise money for conservation of cold water fisheries.

“California Green Rush” highlights low-impact, environmentally friendly recreation from surfing and kayaking to backcountry snowboarding and rock climbing in California. Wier sees this type of film as an opportunity to inspire people who may not normally think about conservation, he said.

“I want people to come for the athletes and the sports and then have an underlying message,” Wier said. “I don’t want to attract environmentalists. They already get it.”

Wier’s third film titled “Mokelumne Wild and Scenic” is dedicated to a specific issue close to his heart. A proposed dam expansion by the East Bay Municipal Utility District would flood the Mokelumne River canyon in Amador County by 2030, an area that Wier spent countless hours fishing, swimming and enjoying the wildlife during his youth. His video encourages viewers to ask lawmakers to designate the river as “wild and scenic,” which would stop development under federal law.

“The issue really hits home with me. It’s my home river,” Wier said. “The best thing about (filmmaking) is it’s given me a voice to talk about conservation issues I’m passionate about.”

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival moved from Lake Tahoe Community College to the bigger Montbleu showroom this year after selling out their space the last five years. Organizers are expecting more than 200 attendees.

Other films that will be show include “180° South,” “A Mongolian Couch,” “Bag It,” and “Better Bones and Gardens.”

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