Thanks to Thor Tingey, Caj Koskinen, & Steve Fassbinder for sharing their Grand Canyon photos in this gallery. All three men done self-supported packrafting trips on the Grand one or more times, and Steve has embarked on various canyoneering adventures into the Grand.
The second annual Mancos Valley River Film Festival drew a crowd by spotlighting adventurers from around the globe and from Montezuma County’s backyard.
Last year, Mancos Valley Resources and Alpacka Raft started the event to highlight short documentaries about pack rafting and other river sports, while raising money for people affected by the Western Excelsior plant fire. This year, organizers expanded it to two nights focused on “bikes and boats” and pledged to give the proceeds to MVR and the Mancos Trails Group. The festival lineup included 12 short films including “Our Wild,” a fly-fishing documentary by Durango filmmaker Ben Kraushaar.
FIRST HALF – ~41 MIN of FILM
Alpacka Raft Wright Award Submission – 1:30 – Katie Schuler (Coral & Oak)
The Land We Live In – 5:32 – Jayme Dittmar
From the Doorstep – 4:00 – Pursuit Films
Our Wild – 4:21 – Benjamin Kraushaar
Chicken Raper – 7:19 – Rig to Flip
Packrafters of Telemark – 1:25 – Bjorn Moen & Frederik Feyling
Skeptical – 2:29 – Coastal Crew
Little White From the Sky (Heli Aerial) – 4:03 – RiverRoots
100 Miles – 10:01 – Fly Out Media
SECOND HALF – ~52.5 MIN of FILM
The Wild President – 6:27 – American Rivers
Blue Heart – 43:37 – Patagonia
Show Up Blow Up Meghalaya – 2:39 – Luc Mehl
Cory Luoma and Katie Edmiston of Fly Our Media created their first film in 2011, and have made over a dozen conservation, web series, and promotional videos and films since.
“That’s 7 or 8 years of schlepping cameras around the bush,” Luoma says. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m passionate about nature and the outdoors. Filmmaking and photography is an outlet for me to express that love and world view for preserving wild places. The passion stems in creating films that inspire and invoke emotion.”
Alpacka Raft partnered with Fly Out in 2017 to make the film, “100 Miles,” to be featured during the first half of the Mancos Valley River Film Festivalthis Saturday, June 30th. The film, says Luoma, isn’t about first descents or “some epic of mankind’s quest through the uncharted” territories. Rather, he and his crew, including our avid fisherman CEO, Thor Tingey, simply wanted to use a packraft to explore and fish in an extremely remote and braided river system in Alaska, inaccessible with larger rafts.
“This river drainage had always been on my radar, as it had great potential to be a fantastic trout fishery,” Luoma explains. “The idea for the film was to showcase a no-frills style float trip by using packrafts. Merging packrafting and fly fishing has been an interest of mine for a while now, and it was awesome to feature the two in the film.”
Along with choosing the subject of the film and the place, Luoma says he wanted to focus on themes like self-reliance, genuine adventure, and traveling as simply as possible. And with that, the story took on a life of it’s own.
“Stories like ‘100 Miles’ unfold as you go,” Luoma explains. “In our case, much of the story came to life weeks after the trip had finished. Throughout the post-production process we were able to identify what came through as powerful, funny, or intriguing. Some of our best footage came from ‘point the camera and see what happens’ method.”
Of course, there were challenges, primarily the weather. “We had some pretty serious rain for several days, which limited our filming opportunities and put our equipment at risk,” Luomo states. “The second challenge was that I did not have any type of camera support crew. This was a one-person show. I was in charge of paddling myself down the river, cooking meals, and doing all the necessary things to complete 100 miles on a backcountry river. All the filming and tech stuff had to fit in-between all that.”
But with that said, he had a fantastic adventure, especially rehashing the good fishing, fun, and mishaps with the guys at camp at the end of the day. You can see all their antics in the film.
Check out the trailer, or get your tickets to the Mancos Valley River Film Festival today!
For this year’s Film Fest, we wanted to find some local film makers. We put the word out, and Ben Kraushaar responded, submitting his film, “Our Wild” in the Wyoming Backcountry. The film focuses on the important role of public lands in the lives of outdoors lovers, and it features wildlife biologist Anna Ortega. She and two friends spent an entire summer traveling across Wyoming to collect data about mule deer migrations. But when they finished work, they hit the water, fly rods in hand. Ortega’s love of the land and water is palpable, and Kraushaar’s camera captures the majesty of the landscape. We asked Kraushaar a few questions.
What inspired you to do this film?
It’s hard to pin down all the inspirations for this film. First, I grew up in Durango, Colo. and my entire life has revolved around outdoor recreation and access to public lands, so it made sense to make a film that touched on our wild places that belong to all Americans. Second, my amazing girlfriend, Anna Ortega, is PhD student at the University of Wyoming, and she studies the world’s longest mule deer migration that happens to occur in Wyoming. Anna is also a phenomenal fly fisher, so I figured I would make a short film that combines her passion for research with her passion for fishing.
Every summer, Anna spends three months all across Wyoming collecting data and fishing, so I figured I would just tag along. Ultimately, I wanted to create something that could help inform the public about the importance of our public lands for both recreational endeavors and for the animals that rely on open and free places to move and thrive. These deer travel 150 miles twice a year from the Red Desert to Hoback near Jackson Hole and rely on public lands and open spaces to complete this annual journey. I hope to shed light on the importance of public lands for both angling and for the conservation of big game species.
What did you learn from doing this film?
This film was my first attempt at actually telling a story. All my previous videos have been just little fly fishing stoke edits with no real deeper meaning. That being said, I learned a ton about the film making process and all the nitty gritty stuff that goes into attempting to tell a compelling story.
What was your favorite thing about making it?
My favorite part about making this film was hanging out with Anna and her friends for two weeks all over Wyoming. Summer in Wyoming is the best, especially when you’re hiking all day and fishing every evening.
What was your biggest challenge with making it?
I think the most difficult thing about making this film was going at it 100% solo. I had not budget to make this so everything from the filming, to editing, to distribution was all on me. A lot of the places we filmed were remote and off trail in grizzly country. Carrying all my equipment without any help was a daily challenge.
What was the most memorable part of making the film?
That’s a tough question. The entire two weeks was very memorable but if there is one moment that stands out, it is probably our encounter with a grizzly bear. Its always a treat to see such a powerful and amazing creature.
Can you give us some backstory to the trips 4-legged companion, Harper?
Harper is Rica’s rescue pup. I’m pretty sure she is part coyote and is in her element romping through remote places in Wyoming.
Where in Wyoming was the film shot?
This film was shot all over Wyoming. Some clips were from the Laramie area, some near Pinedale, some near Hoback, the Red Desert and Dubois.
What was the most memorable catch of the trip?
Anna’s big brown was the most memorable. That big fella munched a tiny RS2 on 6x tippet and some how didn’t break Anna off. We were all stoked she landed that one.
Is there anything I’m not asking that you want to share with me?
In this teaser, ultra runner and urban adventurer Brian Donnelly explores the bike and rafting opportunities offered by his local city, Portland, Oregon. Created by Pursuit Films, this short has been made available exclusively for the 2nd Annual Mancos Valley River Film Fest, to be held June 29 and 30, 2018.
This film will be shown during the first half of the festival. Get your tickets online now at–$20 in advance, $25 at the door. Click here to purchase your ticket.
Thank You Firefighters!
In appreciation of your hard work, we’d like to offer free tickets to all Burro and 416 firefighters for the Mancos Valley River Film Fest. Thank you for saving our homes and properties!
For more information or to buy tickets, please visit www.mancosvalleyriverfilmfest.com. Friday night’s event is free for everyone, and Outlier Cellars is donating 10% of the proceeds of sales from cider to the Mancos Trails Group. The Saturday main film event coincides with Mancos Grand Summer Nights, which will end just as the film fest begins. Tickets are $20 if you purchase online and $25 at the door. Please bring your own mug for beer, or purchase a 2018 Mancos Valley River Film Fest mug for $5.
Photo by Steve Fassbinder of a huge plume of smoke over the La Platas.
Special thanks to our Founding Sponsor Alpacka Raft, our Class V Sponsor Specialized Bikes, and our Class IV Sponsor Osprey!
Poster by Jon Bailey.
Also thanks so much to our newest Class III sponsors 1st Southwest Bank, Patagonia, The Wells Group (real estate company, Durango, Colo.), The Durango Cyclerly, Hyperlite Mountain Gear (we just got in their brand new 5400 Backpack and a River Rescue Throw Bag!). As well, Kleen Kanteen just donated 200 pint glasses! Mancos Brewing Company is donating a keg. Outdoor Research and is donating some fantastic outdoor clothing. Revelate Designs and Durango’s Bedrock Bags are donating some sweet bikepacking bags.
Of course, we wouldn’t get any coverage if it wasn’t for our awesome Media Sponsors. Thanks KSUT, an independent, non-profit organization and radio station broadcasting from studios in Ignacio, Colorado. Also thanks to the region’s newest magazine, The Gulch; our favorite local newspaper, The Journal, out of Cortez; Adventure Pro, for the adventurer in all of us, and ZuMag!
To see a full list of sponsors, visit our Sponsors Page!
Thanks so much to Specialized Bicycles for just signing on as our Class V sponsor last week! The featured photo in this post was taken by Specialized and Alpacka Raft athlete Steve “Doom” Fassbinder. Check out this Adventure Dispatch film featuring Doom and Adam Zurn (we aren’t showing it at the festival).
Thanks also to our favorite neighbor in Cortez, Colo., Osprey Packs. They have signed on for a second year in a row to be our Class IV sponsor. We are thrilled to have you on board!
Alpacka Raft, the Founding Sponsor, of the now Annual Mancos Valley River Film Festival, is partnering up for the second year in a row with Mancos Valley Resources (MVR) to run the event. Organizers include President Clara Martinez, Vice President Lizzy Scully, and Alpacka Raft Ops & Outreach Director Sarah Tingey, plus two dozen awesome volunteers. The theme for this year’s festival is “Boats & Bikes,” and films will showcase everything from mountain biking to boating of various kinds, fly fishing, and bikerafting.
This year a local’s night will be added at Outlier Cellers Cidery in Mancos, Colo.; and Durango-based adventurer Ashley Carruth will do a multi-media presentation on her month-long bike and boat journey through Bears Ears National Monument.
The main series of both long and short films will be held on Saturday, June 30th, at Mancos Opera House. American Rivers will be in house Saturday night to do a presentation on their conservation efforts and their involvement with the 2018 campaign, 5000 Miles of Wild.
Half the proceeds from the film fest will go to the Mancos Trails Group to support local trails in Montezuma County, and the other half will go to MVR to help us continue our work as the fiscal agent for 16 nonprofits in Mancos and Montezuma County.
Stay tuned for details!