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Backcountry, Baby 

Film fest shows off the best of the out of bounds

click to enlarge 17.3_screen_unicorn_sashimi_-_backcountry_film_fest_photo.jpg

The Bend Backcountry Alliance is hosting the eighth annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival at McMenamins this week and you should go.

Erik Johnson, who has been a part of the BBA for the past four years, said the seven short films that make up this one-night fest will give audience members the thrill of backcountry skiing and boarding.

"The festival does a great job at capturing the essence of the backcountry experience," he said. "It's a way to get the community together for a fun evening."

Johnson said it's also a great way to raise funds for the Bend Backcountry Alliance.

"Our mission is a mix of providing advocacy for human-powered recreation and preserving its low-cost allure," he said. "We want to help people have a better experience out there by working on various projects that will enhance their daily adventures."

WWA is a national organization devoted to many of the same values. Every year, the group solicits films from amateur and professional filmmakers, which are then juried and shown by local backcountry groups to help raise funds.

From the hundreds of films the WWA received last year, only seven were selected for the 90-minute film fest.

Three were honored with overall awards

Skiing the Void: Best of the Backcountry winner

This film is the ninth entry in Sweetgrass Productions' 12-part webisodes called Solitaire, about the team's adventures in the South American backcountry.

Alaska Wilderness Ski Classic: Best Grassroots Film winner

Alaska Wilderness Ski Classic showcases filmmaker and Hans Saari scholarship winner Luc Mehl trekking the unofficial race that spans over 140 miles of Alaskan backcountry.

Stories of Trust: Calling for Climate Recovery: Best Environmental Film Winner

A 9-year-old activist has all her chips in toward the fight against climate change in this inspiring short.

Four others will also be shown on Friday

• An excerpt from Further, the second part of the Jeremy Jones trilogy called Deeper, Further, Higher about Jones and his backcountry buddies tackling some of the most remote terrain on the planet.

• A group of filmmakers and skiers search for the mythical creature known as the Hokkaido Unicorn, but after no such luck, they still ended up making a sweet film about shredding some of the best powder in Japan in Unicorn Sashimi.

Denali Experiment by Camp 4 Collective displays a daring group of winter athletes who push their limits on the massive Alaskan mountain.

Freedom Chair tells the inspiring story of Josh Dueck, who was paralyzed in a ski accident nearly a decade ago but is dealing with this misfortune by riding backcountry slopes on a sit-ski. SW

Backcountry Film Festival

9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18


700 NW Bond St.



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