Calling all adventure junkies and movie buffs: the much anticipated 14th annual Fernie Mountain Film Festival will be opening its doors on February 21-22 at the Fernie Community Centre. The festival is a volunteer-run event that seeks to raise awareness about fragile mountain environments, while stoking people on mountain culture and celebrating the passion of those who live to explore; a mentality that many across the Elk Valley embody.
Viewed at the event will be both professional and amateur films from all over the world, with subject matters ranging from mountaineering to climbing to skiing.
“We want to support local filmmakers as much as possible…We try to offer a mix of high adrenaline, thoughtful and environmental, human powered, mountain focused films,” says Brian Bell, coordinator and cofounder of the festival.
Kicking off with a nightly mountain social from 6-7 p.m., attendees will ease into the evening with drinks, meat pies, and by-donation popcorn, with proceeds going towards the Ghostriders Kids Camp.
The showings will commence at 7 p.m., and the event will run until 11 p.m. each night.
Friday’s feature film will be Queen Maud Land, a riveting documentary following a mountaineering expedition in the depths of the Antarctic wilderness with famous climbers Conrad Anker, Alex Honnold, and Jimmy Chin.
“We seek out award winning mountain films that would not necessarily be available on the big screen to the Fernie audience,” says Bell.
Among the feature films being shown Saturday is Climbing Blind, a film following the story of blind rock climber Jesse Dufton as he leads the six pitch 5.10a, Old Man of Hoy. Also shown on the second night of the event is Drawn From Here, a film centered around the life and passion of famous skier Eric Pollard.
As the event culminates, the Best of Fest award will be given out to the best film, along with a $500 cash prize. Judging will be executed by the festival’s board and volunteer crew.
Also taking place at the event will be a photo contest, wherein the top 12 photos submitted to Facebook will be framed and displayed at the festival for audience judging.
“The photos capture local amateur and professional images of Fernie Mountain Culture. Many are beautiful local landscapes and iconic landmarks, others are of local people enjoying the mountain environments around the Elk Valley,” remarks Bell.
Ultimately, the purpose of this event is to entertain, educate, and encourage the viewing and creation of mountain films, while giving amateurs a platform to have their content exhibited.
“We aim for high quality films as much as possible, but still offer a venue for local (Kootenay’s and greater B.C. area) films that are meaningful,” says Bell.
For those interested in attending, tickets are $15 per individual night or $25 for both, and can either be purchased at the College of the Rockies, at the door of the festival, or online at ferniefilmfestival.com.