“Art Within Nature” | Documentary on Trails & Vistas debuts

Elizabeth Carmel, behind the camera, and her daughter Abby Carmel. | Courtesy Byron Evans

Whimsical music, vivid imagery of Tahoe scenery and a heartfelt display of stories highlighting Trails & Vistas performers’ connection to nature are intertwined in the new documentary “Art Within Nature” premiering at the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee on March 6.

Watch the trailer for “Art Within Nature”

The film is a preview of what Trails & Vistas participants can expect during the annual art hikes held in September. “Art Within Nature” shares the stories of local artists, musicians and performers in their connection to nature and the environment.

The film came about when Elizabeth Carmel, owner of the Carmel Gallery in Truckee, reached out to Trails & Vistas co-founder Nancy Tieken Lopez with interest in creating a film about the program. In the past, Carmel and Lopez had worked together on photography related to the Trails & Vistas events. Meanwhile, Elizabeth became involved in cinematography and started pursuing advocacy projects.

“Art Within Nature” premiere
March 6 | 6:30 p.m.
Cedar House Sport Hotel | Truckee

“I’ve been going back and forth with [Carmel] since 2015, but this is the first time we’ve collaborated together. I’ve always loved her photography and have used her photographers to capture stills of the events,” Tieken Lopez says.

Art Hike folk music with Maiah Wynne.
| Scott Thompson

Carmel became the producer of “Art Within Nature” and hired award-winning Reno-based filmmaker Bryon Evans as its director.

“He was a great fit for the project due to his background in music, his editing and cinematography skills and his enthusiasm for the project,” Carmel says. “His wife Shannon Balazs did the sound recording for the film. I think they both did an amazing job.”

The “Art Within Nature” crew started pre-production a few months before the 2019 Trails & Vistas Art Hikes. They filmed the event in its entirety over two days and added another day of production with some follow-up interviews. Taking their 15 hours of footage and whittling it down into 22 minutes took another two months before the final project was completed.

“‘Art Within Nature’ is an artist’s point of view on his or her experience at Trails and Vistas,” Tieken Lopez says. “They share how they’re inspired by the landscape and theme, how different the experience is from performing on a stage and how intimate the setting is.”

As musician Wolf Schaefer says in the film, “Nature and music are pretty much bonded together. Everything sounds better out in the woods.”

Tieken Lopez says that her favorite part is when Earthscape artist Andres Amador talks about his relationship with the nonprofit arts organization.

From left, Bryon Evans, Wolf Schaefer, Elizabeth Carmel and Shannon Balazs. | Courtesy Byron Evans

“I love the way Andreas explained the concept of his art — the sound that was used with the chimes and how that complemented the giant boulders in the space he designed. He tells his story really well and the story of Trails and Vistas,” she says.

In the film, Amador describes his art as being an engaging and interacting collaboration with nature; he explains how he uses the chimes to urge people to stop thinking and listen to the natural sounds of the forest.

“The [installations] that are most successful are the artwork that is really integrated with the landscape,” Tieken Lopez says.

The “Art Within Nature” film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion with Evans, Elizabeth Carmel, Tieken Lopez; site-specific art installer Lorna Denton and Elizabeth Archer, Trails & Vistas co-founder and InnerRyhthms Dance founder. Light appetizers, coffee and tea will also be available. It is free to attend, but there is limited seating.

“It’s so wonderful that we have the community support that we do; we work with over a hundred volunteers each year to create Trails and Vistas and we’re so grateful to our sponsors who continue to help us showcase the environment through art and culture and tell the Trails and Vistas story,” Tieken Lopez says. | RSVP [email protected]