Backcountry Film Festival Celebrates Winter Wilderness

Feb 3, 2017

A series of short films centered around the outdoor experience is coming to Homer Feb. 9, from 7-9 p.m. The Backcountry Film Festival is produced annually by the nonprofit Winter Wildlands Alliance, based in Boise, Idaho.

The goal of the festival is to show people how to protect and use landscapes in winter. For that reason, the Alliance says funds raised at local screenings stay within the community to support conservation and education efforts.

KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver spoke with Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition volunteer Willy Dunne about the event:

OLIVER: So, to start off, can you tell me a little bit about this Backcountry Film Festival and its history, some of the background?

DUNNE: Well, the Winter Wildlands Alliance is a group down in the Lower 48 which started the film festival about 12 years ago. We’ve been showing the films here in Homer for at least six years, maybe longer than that. Once again this year, the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club is joining up with the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition to sponsor this year’s film festival on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.

OLIVER: Tell me a little bit about some of the films that are coming. Is there a theme to the festival?

DUNNE: The theme is basically the human-powered experience in winter, so there’s a lot of films about skiing. There’s films about snowshoeing. There’s films about family life. There’s a film about a mountain guide with an infectious enthusiasm for life. There’s quite a variety but the theme that ties them all together is the human-powered experience in backcountry winter.

OLIVER: Are these all short films or are there any feature-length?

DUNNE: We’ve got 11 short films. They range from only about three minutes up to about 15 minutes in length. We’ve got 11 films altogether that we’ll be showing with an intermission in between.

OLIVER: Why do you think this type of themed film festival would be of interest particularly to people here in this area?

DUNNE: Well, you know, it’s interesting. For the past couple of winters when we had very little snow, I think people really enjoyed seeing these films and enjoying winter vicariously through the films, but this year we’ve got much better snow conditions and so, people are getting out and enjoying it. I think people just enjoy seeing how other people enjoy backcountry, how it can be enjoyed without motorized vehicles, how the beauty of the backcountry is just infectious.

OLIVER: What do you hope people will take away from this event?

DUNNE: Well, a couple of things. Working with the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition, we support areas of backcountry that are off-limits to motorized vehicles and that you have to work a little bit harder to get into but you experience a completely different setting with the beauty of the quiet around there. These films really reinforce the importance of having quiet backcountry areas. We are hoping that people will appreciate the importance of advocacy for quiet rights. Also, the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, which has been a sponsor of the Backcountry Film Festival for many years, is trying to encourage people to participate in that organization to help with supporting an organization that maintains our ski trails and provides lots of winter family fun for everybody.

The Backcountry Film Festival is coming to Homer on Feb. 9.
Credit Winter Wildlands Alliance