Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival History

Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival
A Brief History

The idea of a Film Festival in Ely had been percolating in the community as far back as the late 1990’s when it was brought up in local writer’s group meeting. This idea laid fallow until resurrected by the White Pine Main Street Association (WPMSA) in September of 2019. The WPMSA was formed in 2018 as a 501(c)3 with the express purpose of helping to support and revitalize all businesses in White Pine County.  Committees are often the death of a good idea but in this case, strong committee membership and the development of the Nevada Northern Railway (NNRy) as a film location gave a firm foundation to the idea.

An award-winning Canadian film The Great Darkened Days, had recently been completed there. The film Reaptown had also recently been filmed at the NNRy and was ready for its world premiere. It had the added bonus of being the third production of a film by a native son, Dutch Marich, who has built a reputation as a writer and filmmaker in Hollywood.  Maxime Giroux, the writer/director of The Great Darkened Days, and Mr. Marich both agreed to show their films at the inaugural Ely Film Festival March 13-14-15 2020. M. Giroux and Mr. Marich also agreed to participate in panel discussions, film location tours and to discuss their films before and after their showings at Ely’s historic Central Theater. We were fortunate to get Kyle Ford, another native son making his mark as a professional videographer, and Robin Holabird, former Nevada Film Board commissioner and noted film author and reviewer, and David Purdy, videographer/writer/producer of Spirit of Nevada, to participate in the panel discussions. All the panel members participated in the judging of the 5-minute Short-Film contest.  Kathy Ong Sisolak , Nevada’s First Lady, was also part of the jury and presented her own “First Lady’s Choice” award. The film contest was open to students 18 years old & under.  Entries came from Ely, Baker and Eskdale, Utah.

No endeavor succeeds without financial support. The festivals’ first financial backing was a grant from the Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership in December 2019 that really launched the event. From there, came additional financial backing from KGHM Robinson Mine, Fiore Gold, and Kinross Bald Mountain mine.  The support of the local community fortified the efforts of the festival committee.

During that first year, although the COVID 19 pandemic developed globally in mid March of 2020, there was local concern the inaugural festival would not happen at all. With the support given the festival by the community during those early days of uncertainty about the virus, the committee determined it important to proceed. One year later, with the respiratory disease still replicating and spreading, the second Ely Film Festival in 2021 went completely virtual.  After two years of public health measures, audience and gathering restrictions, and social distancing, the festival committee launched a new, larger, wider scoped, and more inclusive cultural arts festival for their third year. This year’s 2022 Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival celebrated its first fully realized event to champion the diversity of artists, through showcasing their creative work of film, art, and musical talents. 

March 10-11-12, 2023 will again grant Ely the chance to elevate young students and independent filmmakers, artists, and musicians, by providing them their own spotlight in historic and cherished locations throughout the city of Ely.  The Ely Film, Art, and Music (F.A.M.) Festival is open to all who wish to highlight their talent in these three categories of artistic expression.  As the FAM Festival continues to grow, we will strive to improve offerings to the artists and the festival-going public. Our committee is also focused on building community partnerships with organizations that can assist in the development and  promotion of cultural arts education programs to benefit student and novice filmmakers, artists, and musicians.   

Contact Us


(775) 289-8877
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm


636 Aultman Street
Ely, NV 89301

Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival

About Us

The Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival celebrates Ely's rich film history. This annual event showcases the cinematic creations filmed here over the years and gives platforms to highlight independent, student, and novice filmmakers, artists, and musicians. 

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Movies Filmed in Ely and White Pine County

  • Roadside Prophets
  • GunCrazy
  • Horror in the High Desert
  • Wizard of Mars
  • Rat Race
  • My Blueberry Nights
  • The Great Darkened Days
  • Ponderoso Victoria
  • Play Dead
  • Operation Haylift
  • The Covered Wagon
  • ReapTown
  • The Great Basin
  • LIE
  • Lust for Freedom
  • Once Upon a Texas Train
  • Infernum
  • Windows of Heaven
  • Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West
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