The Leavenworth Mountain Film Festival came to Wenatchee on Saturday, April 21st after their well-received main event the previous weekend in Leavenworth. The 6th annual festival showcased inspiring and thought-provoking short mountain and adventure films from around the world.
Although the Wenatchee screening at the Numerica Performing Arts Center didn’t include the red carpet and paparazzi (which was preferred for this introverted outdoor enthusiast) the evening was an invigorating celebration of the outdoors through the lens of an inspired community.
The Wenatchee crowd was light (most likely due to the many conflicting events in the valley last weekend including prom and WenCon), but the enthusiasm was palpable. Each film was met with rousing applause as well as murmurs of admiration throughout the screening. I was impressed by the scope of the films which included punk rock female mountaineers in Nepal, breathtaking underwater dancing, soldiers healing wounds through transformative experiences, lost archives from Fred Beckey’s closet, the heroic journey of salmon, and stunning footage of surfing, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, and more — all packaged with gorgeous scenery and great music.
I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite — I enjoyed them all. I definitely left the PAC motivated to seek new mountain adventures and I’m positive the rest of the crowd felt the same way. To top off the general stoke level, the film festival included a generous raffle which included a Mission Ridge Ski Pass, Triple Play Pass, and baskets full of goodies from local sponsors. I didn’t hold a winning raffle ticket, but the inspiration I left the theater with was prize enough.
Saturday night’s special collection of shorts (with their provided synopsis) included:
Cycles of Light by Andy James
Changing spectacles of light across the Wenatchee Valley. Jaynes is a co-producer of Leavenworth’s own Icicle TV Productions and simply enjoys sharing the beautify of the area through his photography and video projects.
The Way Home by The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Replenishing all that surrounds. Salmon returning to the spawning grounds of their youth. The film captures the essence of the heroic 500-mile journey that salmon make against incredible odds to come home to the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board and has been the forum for local collaboration to understand and address the complexities that our communities face in preserving spring Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.
Mountain Being by Rex Flake
Being here and there; a peak of future speed and valley of past passion. A tangible collapsing duality. A philosophy of reflective action that denies conventional thought that to ponder the moment is to destroy it. Flake has spent his life devoted to the perfect turn, air, and line. The aesthetics of motion in tune with the physical universe and the internal retrospect of the actor is the only thing that matters. No external observer required.
The Space Within by Ben Sturgulewski
Fitting unbound motion within this space we’re given. Ben’s integral work with companies like Sweetgrass Productions, Matchstick Productions, and DPS Cinematic has created many acclaimed films that have appeared in festivals from Banff to Leavenworth.
Paradigm Lost by Cody Carter
Breaking patterns to harness the ocean’s power in unique ways. Filmed over three years, in six countries, capturing the highest level of water sports action in beautiful 4k. It all began with one super 8 camera, a guillotine, and some tape. Utilizing each and every pixel to their respective potential, Poor Boyz Co. transformed into a turnkey digital production company.
Waking Dream by Sam Favret
Allow thoughts to grow, inspiration to spread and be free. Are we really here? Where are we going? Climb with two alpine Frenchmen up steep couloirs only to ride right back down. Favret has extensive experience in ski film production including work with DPS Cinematic, Rip Curl, and Rosignal.
Mothered by Mountains by Renan Ozurk
Climbing pure punk rock. A mother and mountain guide showing true girl power. Nepal’s leading female mountain guide has been on top of the tallest peaks on Earth. Here she attempts a first ascent with a local punk-rock icon. In this effort, they find the path to the greatest summit lies within.
Ama by Julie Gautier
Dancing weightless with grace and beauty. A story everyone can interpret in their own way, based on their own experience. There is no imposition, only suggestions. Gautier is a passionate dancer, a freediving champion, and self-taught filmmaker. She uses these skills to create images to share her captivating dreamlike world.
Adventure Not War by Max Lowe
Stepping into a “Slim-Jim!” three soldiers return to the battlefield with new purpose. This film follows three US Military Captains as they revisit Iraq, a country that has threatened their sanity since their time of service. A mission to heal wounds and experience this country and culture without the shadow of war. Lowe comes from a long lineage of explorers and is known for his work with National Geographic and many award-winning adventure films.
Endurance Test by David Leon
Breaking religious and social stereotypes of society. Muay Thai fighter Ruqsana Begum is the only female British Muslim world champion in her sport. In any sport. Leon is an English actor, director, writer and producer. In 2015 he completed his first feature-length film, Orthodox.
Leah’s Cabin Jams by Jamie Tanner
Composing organic lines of music while riding lines in the snow. With no script, eight friends set out to interpret the landscape and write and record songs that become the audio for the film. FOr years Jamie worked as a videographer for Atlantic records in NYC; he recently started backcountry ski filming.
Mt. McKinley Adventure by Fred Beckey
Ascending a first. Lost archives found in the closet of a Pacific Northwest icon. Led by Fred Beckey, this team of mountaineers attempts a first ascent of Mt. McKinley’s north face. Footage that has been stored in Fred’s closet for the past 64 years!