The Wild and Scenic Film Festival will take audiences from the rocky pinnacles of Yosemite National Park to the rugged valleys of Patagonia, Argentina. Featuring a variety of films related to the environment and the outdoors, the festival takes place in Breckenridge on Jan. 8 under the cooperation of High Country Conservation Center (HC3) and the Continental Divide Land Trust (CDLT). All films are family friendly and children are welcome to attend, with kids age 12 and under getting in free. Held at the Riverwalk Center, the event will kick off with a happy hour, with wine, beer and soft drinks available.
“They’re really inspirational films. It really covers the gamut, talking about everything from cutting-edge sustainability topics like bio-mimicry to fun things like slacklining,” said Cassidy Callahan, community programs coordinator with HC3.
The majority of the films are short, somewhere under 10 minutes each, and each tackles a slightly different subject.
The film “Cafeteria Man,” for example, focuses on school lunch programs in Tennessee that get their food from local community gardens. “Weed Wars” takes a look at one man’s solution to noxious weeds — training goats to eat the unwanted plants in lieu of chemicals or other expensive procedures.
“This particular film has some fly fishing segments in it that will knock the socks off of any fly fishermen, so there’s that little bonus there as well,” said Leigh Girvin, executive director of CDLT.
The festival features two longer films, with run times of around 20 minutes. “Second Nature: Bio-Mimicry” explores architectural forms found in nature and how humans have worked to incorporate them into useful products and designs.
“Stream of Consequence” is about river valleys in Argentina slated for damming and the people fighting against it.
“That really ties into HC3’s mission and that was one of the reasons we chose that film. ‘Weed Wars’ certainly ties into our mission,” Girvin said. “We chose films that will be a combination of entertainment and a little bit of relaxation from some of the more intense and perhaps more thought-provoking films. We also wanted to choose films that spoke to the mission of our two organizations, and also films that we thought people in Summit County would like.”
Children in the audience may enjoy “Song of the Spindle,” an animated film about a conversation between a man and a whale, while outdoor enthusiasts will connect with “Moonwalk,” featuring death-defying slacklining by Dean Potter in canyon country.
“(The audience is) going to come away with a lot of knowledge, and different movies are going to speak to different people. Some people may come away having this ‘Stream of Consequence’ movie really speak to them and perhaps they’ll want to sign up for rooftop solar or take part in the solar garden. ‘Weed Wars’ may really strike a chord with people and they’re going to be a lot more conscientious about the noxious weeds in their yards and along the trails that they love,” said Girvin. “It’s really something for everybody here. There’s no question that people are going to learn something, but we want people to be inspired and want to get involved in whatever it is they’re passionate about.”
There’s more to the festival than just films, however. Those attending the film night are encouraged to don their oldest Patagonia brand clothing for the Vintage Patagonia contest. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from the Breckenridge Patagonia Store. Other door prizes for the evening include an Arapahoe Basin Ski Area season pass, items from Patagonia and gift certificates from area restaurants.
“Break out that funky old gear — we’re going retro,” Callahan said with a laugh.
Last year, HC3 hosted the festival at the Speakeasy Theater in Breckenridge, selling out in advance of the show. Having the festival at the Riverwalk Center this year will mean more space for more people to attend, Callahan said. The organization also decided to expand the festival’s reach by partnering with CDLT.
“We wanted to work with another nonprofit, something that aligns with our mission. CDLT works a lot with open space, which is definitely an environment-based mission so it was someone we were happy to partner with,” said Callahan. “It (is) a partnership in order to spread the word for both of our organizations and how sustainability in general is important, not just one organization or another.”
Girvin added that her organization was honored to partner with HC3 for the festival this year, and they are sure attendees will enjoy themselves.
“It’s just going to be fun. After the holidays, people in our community are looking for something to do that gives them a sense of community,” she said. “It’s a good time to come out of your apartment, your condo and commune with your fellow Summit County-ians and share something that you have in common.”
“They’re really inspirational films. It really covers the gamut, talking about everything from cutting-edge sustainability topics like bio-mimicry to fun things like slacklining.”
Community programs coordinator with High Country Conservation Center