Game Changer; Banff Film Festival Takes to Ashland
By Charles Howarth, Staff Writer
36 countries, 285 communities and Ashland is on the list.
Southern Oregon University’s Outdoor Program (OP) hosted the Banff Film Festival for a sixth time, and drew sold out crowds as lines were out the door on Wednesday night.
“Film is a really great way to connect people and just inspire them to get out. It’s [Banff Film Festival] this great culmination of community, film, and outdoors,” remarked Robin Janssen of Rogue River Keepers. The films feature journeys and stories told from all over the world, and appeal to the interests of our Ashland community with common themes of exploration, preservation, sustainability, and health.
Banff Centre Representative, Deborah Hornsby said, “I was lucky enough, and I did the Banff screening in 2015 here in Ashland, and I could tell right when I arrived that this is a total outdoor community.” With this marking the sixth year SOU has hosted the event, popularity and ticket sales continue to grow every annually. 450 people packed the Music Recital Hall, and Outdoor Program Coordinator, Willie Long admitted, “We’re fully sold out.” Emmeline Hall of the SOU OP, said, “The Outdoor Program and the community members that attend here really like adventure, and that’s what we’re banking on. This offers an opportunity for them to come together as a community and yes, talk about environmental issues and develop camaraderie in a community with people that are all excited about adventure, community, sustainability, and nature.”
SOU’s outdoor program has been an integral part in hosting the event, and gathering support from local businesses. OP Student Coordinator David Brownell claims, “The organization of the community businesses involved in it, makes me really happy to have it be more of a family feel for the Rogue Valley.”
Local businesses such as KS Wild and Rogue River Keepers, have partnered with the OP to engage in conservation efforts and education of environmental impacts within the Rogue Valley. Janssen of Rogue River Keepers, says, “We work closely with the Outdoor Program and Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program here at SOU, so we have a lot of volunteer opportunities for students, we give presentations in the classes, so there’s a pretty good partnership… There’s kind of this growing film movement in Ashland to inspire people to get out and take action and do things.”
The festival tour heads south into California from here, making stops in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. Some of the films (Links Below) included Ben Moon’s, “Denali”; Forest Woodward’s, “Important Places;” and a feature screening of the film, “A Line Across the Sky,” featuring the world renowned rock-climbers, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Visit the Outdoor Program on campus or Rogue River Keeper to learn more about upcoming adventure and volunteer opportunities.