HC3, CDLT host Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

HC3, CDLT host Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Breckenridge

Two local nonprofits have teamed up once again to bring an environmentally-focused film festival to Breckenridge during Ullr Fest weekend. High Country Conservation Center (HC3) and Continental Divide Land Trust (CDLT) present the 2016 SYRCL Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. The festival will showcase nine short films chosen out of more than 200 by officials with the two nonprofits to showcase beautiful cinematography and inspire involvement and action.

"It's a really great way for both organizations to spread our message while also capturing the attention and keeping people inspired to continue with environmental initiatives," said Jenny Hammock, community programs coordinator with HC3.

A CALL TO ACTION

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival was created by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) with a mission to "inspire people and unite(s) communities to heal the earth." The festival travels around the country and was brought to Summit County by HC3 in 2013. It was initially showcased at the Speakeasy in Breckenridge but moved to the Riverwalk Center after teaming up with CDLT the year after and outgrowing the space.

"I think it fills a unique niche in the community," said Rachel Winkler, program manager with CDLT.

Although there are other film festivals that have an environmental undertone, she said, Wild and Scenic is unique in that it's meant to inspire activism. Other festivals may do that through a connection with adventure or skiing, "but this really focuses on core environmental issues that are happening all over," she said.

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The festival draws a crowd of around 600-700 attendees. Proceeds from the festival are split between the two nonprofits. The films align with both organizations' missions, and, although it is a fundraiser, both she and Hammock said it is also a way to build awareness and activism.

"It's just a great way for us to spread the mission of resource and land conservation here in the mountain area," Hammock said. "We found a really special niche with the film festival that we could partner together."

THE FILMS

Anchor films this year include "Chuitna: More Than Salmon on the Line" and "School's Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten," highlighting current issues in the environmental community.

"We design the lineup to sort of excite people — get them excited about environmental initiatives but also excited about nature in general," Hammock said.

"Chuitna" chronicles the journey of conservation-minded fly-fishermen who fight to defeat the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine in Alaska.

Hammock said "School's Out" is one that really captures her heart. The film follows a group of school children in Switzerland who go to school in the woods every day, no matter the weather.

"It's really beautiful imagery, and it just shows kids are a lot more capable then we give them credit for sometimes," she said. "It's sort of an alternative school, but these kids go out winter, summer, spring, fall — every day of the year — and they spend I think six to eight hours a day just out in wilderness, playing and learning to experience nature and how to be more independent. It's a really beautiful film; it teaches you that there are alternative methods of education besides sitting in a classroom all day, and these kids — the film states that they do catch up as far as reading and writing goes by the time that they are in first or second grade I believe. It's really kind of a beautiful, amazing film that shows you the capabilities of small people."

"River of Eden" is a Peter McBride film highlighting why locals in the Fijian Highlands said no to resource extraction.

"Every year we feature something from Peter McBride, who is a water conservationist," Winkler said. "It's just beautiful, and that's what we are opening the film festival with."

Also on the list is "Teton Hooping Contingency," which follows an extreme hula hooper's adventures through the Teton Mountain Range, and Jeremy Jones' final installment to the "Deeper, Further, Higher" trilogy.

"There's an opportunity to make a variety of connections with films, whether you're an adventurer, or a family," Winkler said. "It's really family- friendly, and I think the kids would like connecting with the film we are showing about the forest kindergarten. … It's limitless — anybody (who) has an interest in our environment and nature would take something away from this. … Its reach is incredibly wide."

There will be door prizes given away at the event, including outdoor gear, an Electra cruiser bike, lift tickets, Faction skis and artwork from local artist Ben Gordon. Beer, wine and movie-centered snacks will be available for purchase.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Although the film festival is the only event the two nonprofits team up for, both have other fundraising activities coming up. On Feb. 27, HC3 is partnering with the Arapahoe Basin Snow Huggers Club and New Belgium for a mountain adventure scavenger hunt fundraiser. On March 4, the 27th annual Tim McClure Memorial Benefit will celebrate the legacy of HC3's founder, as well as showcase programs and environmental leaders in the community. Then on March 26, it will be hosting the Save Our Snow event, a demo day that highlights local companies using sustainable, locally-sourced materials.

"We conserve resources here in the mountain community, and I think that's why we all moved here," Hammock said. "We are out here to be in the mountains and to really enjoy the beauty and serenity of everything. If we don't conserve these precious resources, then they are not going to be here for future generations."

CDLT's largest fundraiser of the year will take place in August. The Wild About Colorado Plein Air Art Festival celebrates the wild lands of Colorado featuring local artists and events.

Winkler said the Wild and Scenic Film Festival is one of her favorite fundraising events that CDLT does each year.

"This is one of my favorite events because of the level of collaboration and impact and reach we have due to partnering with HC3," Winkler said. "It's a really fun event to plan and be a part of, and it's great collaboration within the community and exemplifies how community nonprofits can work together and achieve great success. I can't speak highly enough about our relationship with High Country Conservation Center and the work that they are doing in the community … Being able to cohost an event with them is really an honor."

IF YOU GO

What: Wild & Scenic Film Festival

When: Saturday, Jan. 16

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. To purchase advance tickets visit http://www.highcountryconservation.org, call (970) 668-5703, or stop by the Patagonia Store in Breckenridge, Breck Sports on Main Street, or the Breckenridge Welcome Center.