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Backcountry film festival 2021

Presented by Winter Wildlands Alliance each year, the Backcountry Film Festival screens stories of outdoor stewardship, grassroots policy and advocacy work, backcountry adventure, and snow cinema by human-powered advocates, athletes, activists, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The 2021 festival will run from DEC 3 – 13 and features 14 films over two hours.

BCFF.pngThe festival is shown around the world. In Victoria, Friends of the Earth is the local host. This year we are screening the festival as an online event.

This means you buy a ticket, then watch it anytime (and as many times as you like) between December 3 and December 13.

Tickets: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged

Tickets available here.

Check here for the trailer.

Check here for background on the festival.


The program

14 films over 2 hours.

There is 6 minutes of intros, then the following films (see below for extra detail on each one):

The films

Off-Piste Opus by Luke Nelson Films

ASCEND by Faith E. Briggs + TopTop Studios

Tribute to a Glacier by Thaïs Despont

Snow Rangers by Wool Hat Creative

Lot’zza Mia by Mad Trees Productions

Eastside Story by Mountain Grown Media

Finding Balance by Santino Martirano

REVERIE by Eclectic Brew Productions

Alone Beneath the Northern Lights by Valentin Boitel-Denyset

Denizens of the Steep by Orijin Media

PERSPECTIVES - Fred Campbell by Sherpas Cinema

Wild Ice by Bear Witness Media

The Approach (short) by Mad Trees Productions

Finding Gulo by Wild Confluence

[scroll down for full details on each film]


What will the funds be used for?

All funds raised through these screenings will be allocated to the Friends of the Earth forests campaign efforts to see protection of high elevation forests in the Victorian High Country.

Check our recent report Icon at Risk, about threats to the Victorian mountains available here.

And please consider sending a quick message to the Victorian environment minister urging her to adopt our recommendations here.



Further details on the films

This year’s movies have been filmed in Canada, Norway, and the USA


OFF-PISTE OPUS (2:22 minutes)

Director: Luke Nelson

Location: Idaho (Sawtooth Mountains)

Description: A raw edit of the sounds of the backcountry.


REVERIE (5:10 minutes)

Director: Claire Wiley

Athlete(s): Bridgette Meinhold

Location: Utah (Wasatch Mountains)

Description: Encaustic artist and outdoor adventurer, Bridgette Meinhold lives among the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. Her paintings reflect the aspen groves and peaks that surround her. On a frigid March morning, just before her birthday, Meinhold turns her muse into her canvas to create a snow labyrinth.


LOT’ZZA MIA (4:32 minutes)

Director: Anne Cleary

Athlete(s): Caitlin Mitchell and Griffin Dunne

Location: Washington (Mt Baker Ski Area)

Description: A film on skiing and eating pizza - a lot of pizza, in the lot. Caitlin Mitchell and Griffin Dunne embark on an epic search for cheese when really it's the journey that matters. L'epica saga di un'odissea della pizza.


DENIZENS OF THE STEEP (10:08 minutes)

Director: Zach Montes

Athlete(s): Kim Havell

Location: Idaho/Wyoming (Grand Teton National Park)

Description: As backcountry skiing grows in popularity—and more people are headed into the wilderness than ever before—we must become aware of our environment, understand our impact and take measures to recreate responsibly. Denizens of the Steep explores the impact of backcountry recreation on migratory sheep, with professional ski mountaineer/guide Kim Havell and others discussing the importance of protecting and conserving the wild places in which we roam.


FINDING GULO (27:20 minutes)

Director: Colin Arisman and Tyler Wilkinson-Ray

Athlete(s): Steph Williams and Dave Moskowitz

Location: Washington (Northern Cascades)

Description: “Finding Gulo'' follows a backcountry ski guide & field biologist who set out to document an elusive population of wolverines. This short film celebrates the power of citizen science to protect endangered wildlife in the face of climate change.


EASTSIDE STORY (10:21 minutes)

Director: Bevan Waite

Athlete(s): Brennan Lagasse and Lel Tone

Location: California (Sierra Nevada Mountains)

Description: This is the story of two seasoned backcountry skiers, mountain guides Lel Tone and Brennan Lagasse who have traveled the world and experienced some of the harshest and wildest snow-covered places. But here, these two Lake Tahoe-based skiers venture deep into their own backyard—the vast and rugged east side of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains to learn about the land and love the way they live.


A TRIBUTE TO A GLACIER (3:41 minutes)

Director: Thaïs Despont

Athlete(s): N/A

Location: Canada (Jasper National Park)

Description: A musical immersion in the wonderful landscapes of the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, seen through an indigenous lens.


WILD ICE (9:02 minutes)

Director: Matthew Baxley

Athlete(s): John Oberholtzer and Matthew Baxley

Location: Minnesota

Description: In far northern Minnesota, roughly once every ten years, the early-season ice conditions set up just right for skating. The window to travel the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness via Nordic skates is brief, but these locals took advantage of beautiful weather and headed into the wilderness on perfect ice.


SNOW RANGERS (9:35 minutes)

Director: Phil Huffeldt

Athlete(s): Kricket Olin, Julie Mach, Brian Ducay, and Connor Maher

Location: Colorado (Ouray)

Description: Snow Rangers is a short film that follows the Colorado Mountain Club’s backcountry program that is helping to manage expanding winter recreation in southwest Colorado.


FINDING BALANCE (3:32 minutes)

Director: Santino “Tino” Martirano

Athlete(s): Allen Stoltzfus

Location: Colorado (Winter Park)

Description: Through life we dabble, we try new things, and we test the waters by sticking a toe in. But, every so often something special happens and we can't help but to dive deep.


THE APPROACH - SHORT (2:09 minutes)

Director: Anne Cleary

Athlete(s): Brooklyn Bell, Emilé Zynobia, Leanne Pelosi, Ingrid Backstrom, Vasu Sojitra, Sophia Rouches, Anna Soens, Marie-France Roy

Location: N/A

Description: An action-driven ski and snowboard film elevating people of color, women and adaptive athletes.



Director: Valentin Boitel-Denyset

Athlete(s): Valentin Boitel-Denyset

Location: Norway

Description: A winter beyond the Arctic Circle, I open the door of a wooden hut lost in the heart of the white landscapes, far from any civilization. The northern lights blaze the skies, and the views are incredibly beautiful. I take care to write down my ideas, my sensations, and to record my life as a hermit. This place is propitious to wonder, to poetry, to reason…



Director: N/A

Athlete(s): Fred Campbell

Location: N/A

Description: When you’re an athlete, your sport defines you. TNF team athlete Fred Campbell was a football player. He lived and breathed the gridiron grind until a career-ending injury opened a door into the world of climbing.



Director: Faith E. Briggs

Athlete(s): Vasu Sojitra and Emilé Zynobia

Location: Alaska (Denali National Park)

Description: Vasu is not seeking to inspire you to feel good. His trauma doesn’t exist solely to benefit the education of others. He is seeking to inspire you to move mountains. To take action. Skiing is the method, but the real mountains are the “isms” that fail to support Disabled communities, communities of color and so many others for whom access has not been a right. Through his personal journey and approaching a new objective, the famed line “The Skillet"" on Mt. Moran, and through over 40,000 “dips to Nirvana,” we hear his truth and begin to comprehend what it might look like to be in solidarity.


DEEPLY ROOTED (5:34 minutes)

Director: Beatriz Costa Lima

Athlete(s): Elisa Lopez and Meshach Padilla

Location: Washington (Leavenworth)

Description: Our nation's parks and forests have struggled with a diversity problem for decades. A long history of racism and exclusion in the great outdoors has left a deeply ingrained message about natural spaces: People of color don’t belong. Today, a group of dedicated nature lovers in Wenatchee hopes to change that. Team Naturaleza is making Central Washington's outdoor spaces more bilingual, one hike at a time.



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