Wasatch Mountain Film Festival Announces 2018 Round 1 Film Selections

​Our crew has been hard at work reviewing submissions for the annual Wasatch Mountain Film Festival. With nearly four hundred incredible submissions to watch and consider, decisions are tough. 

​The team has narrowed down six films that will definitely be a part of the festival with more to come soon. The films are as follows:

Blood Road

Blood Road, directed by Nicholas Schrunk, details the story of Rebecca Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen. Together they bike about 1,200 miles through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Their goal is to find the crash site where Rebecca’s father died during the Vietnam War. Both of them were affected by the war in different ways and this trip outlines the similarities and differences of their experiences. This rigorous journey gives insight to both of their cultures and the history of the infamous “Blood Road” they explore.

The Canoe

The Canoe, directed by Goh Iromoto, offers a perspective on canoeing through the eyes of five paddlers in Canada. It depicts the connection between the human spirit and the beautiful waters of Ontario. This film shows the meaningful relationships between people and the spiritual strength canoeing can evoke. The Canoe features phenomenal cinematography and nature views that are undoubtedly breathtaking.

Ride of the Dead

Ride of the Dead, directed by Michael Parenteau, explores the mountain biking culture in Mexico during Día De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Oaxacon is a young mountain biker and trail builder that grew up in the heart of some of the best mountain biking areas in Mexico. He joins other riders in honoring his loved ones that have passed away in a unique and new way. He helps plan and races in the first annual Transierra Norte race, a race that aims to honor the tradition of Día De Los Muertos.

Adventure Not War

Adventure Not War, directed by Max Lowe, tells the story of three U.S. veterans venturing back to Iraq to explore the mountains. They travel with the purpose of rediscovering the country and its beauty without the dark influence of war. They create new experiences in Iraq that help heal the scars of past experiences during the war. Throughout the trip, they achieve their goal of reaching a more stable sense of peace within themselves while establishing a new appreciation for the land.  Each person on the trip connects with the mountains in their own way that has helped them mend the pain caused by the Iraq War. Adventure Not War brings these three people together to re-experience Iraq in a state without combat.

2.5 Million

2.5 Million, directed by Tyler Wilkinson-Ray, follows Aaron Rice as he aims to beat a world record and ski 2.5 million human-powered vertical feet in a calendar year. This personal challenge tests both his mental and physical strength. He has to skin up steep mountains for over 330 days through the backcountry. The pairing of his passion for skiing and his determination to complete this conquest he’s set out on helps lead him to a new sense of self-purpose. He aims to beat Greg Hill record of 2 million feet climbed in a year. In 2.5 Million Aaron Rice attempts to complete his aspiration of completing 2.5 million feet of vertical climbing.

Love of Place

Love of Place, directed by Brian Olliver, describes the determination of Bill Wolverton to exterminate an invasive species that are threatening the life around a desert river. Wolverton was sent off to find a new occupation and Escalante captivated him to no end. He saw not only the beauty but the opportunity to explore. When an invasive species was introduced to Escalante and overtaking the river, he became obsessed with killing it. In Love of Place, Bill aims to preserve the beauty of the original trees and wildlife that grew there before the invasive species was introduced.

​All the films have their own story and meaning. After watching all six I was astounded by the emotions they evoked and the stunning aspects each of them held.

The Wasatch Mountain Film Festival aims to bring more light to the outdoors and promote social and environmental awareness throughout the community. Each one of these films is a great addition to the festival and upholds the overall message we hope to express as the Wasatch Mountain Arts Team.

The festival will run from Monday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 8th and more selected films will be announced closer to the event. Our team continues to examine submissions and select the best quality movies for our annual Wasatch Mountain Film Festival.

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