Two outdoor-themed film festivals are on tap for Laramie this month, starting with the Wild and Scenic Film Festival this weekend.
The film festival is scheduled for screening from 4-6 p.m. today at the University of Wyoming Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center. Tickets are $10 each or $5 for UW students.
Now in its 17th year, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival takes place annually in Nevada City, California, and Grass Valley, California. The festival is organized by the South Yuba River Citizens League, which was formed in 1983 to oppose the construction of two dams on the South Yuba River.
These days, the river is permanently protected with a Wild and Scenic designation, and the league has gone on to other programs, including a film festival.
The Laramie version of the festival consists of 10 short films about issues relevant to Wyomingites, such as wildlife conservation, water and public lands, said Robin EH Bagley, director of communications and development for the Powder River Basin Resource Council.
Two films are set in Wyoming. One is about Yellowstone National Park’s Northern Range, and the other, “Elk River,” features the work of UW graduates Arthur Middleton and Joe Riis as they follow the elk migration in Yellowstone. Other films, aimed at the adrenaline junkies in the audience, feature adventure sports such as climbing and backcountry skiing.
“We hope that (the festival) motivates people to preserve our natural resources and improve their communities,” she said. “Wyoming has an abundance of open space and public lands, and we just want to emphasize that that’s really important, not only for us, but for generations to come.”
The council is sponsoring the festival together with the UW Environment and Natural Resources Club and Wyoming Outdoor Council. It was screened in Cheyenne earlier this fall.
EH Bagley said Laramie was chosen as a site to screen the festival because of its population of students and residents who are interested in outdoor sports and outdoor issues.
“We want to inspire people to keep our wild places wild,” she said.
The following week, a collection of films about environmental and social issues is also coming to Laramie.
Mountainfilm on Tour is scheduled for a screening at 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday at the Gryphon Theatre, 710 Garfield. Admission is free, and different films will be shown each evening.
Courtney Carlson, a faculty member in the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, which is sponsoring the tour, said the films on the Laramie playlist were chosen from films that were part of Telluride Mountainfilm, an annual film festival in Telluride, Colorado, every Memorial Day weekend.
She said Mountainfilm on Tour is more than just a collection of movies about outdoor adventure.
“It’s a good range of documentary films about the environment and culture,” she said.
This is the seventh year the Haub School has sponsored the film tour. Carlson said it fits with the school’s goal of exposing audiences to people and natural events that are happening across the West and around the world.
“We’re always looking to put together a festival that tells those stories about the environment,” she said. “We’re also looking for a diversity of voices, perspectives and stories, which we think Mountainfilm as a festival is uniquely able to provide.”
Telluride Mountainfilm has been showcasing nonfiction films since 1979, and Mountainfilm on Tour has an audience of more than 50,000 people on six continents.