The Sierra Club Moshannon Group will bring the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Festival back to Happy Valley with a two-day event featuring screenings of environment-themed movies.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an international film competition and annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports and environment. The Banff Festival of Mountain Films was launched in 1976 by The Banff Centre and is held every fall in Banff, Alberta, Canada. After the festival in November, a selection of the best films entered goes on tour.
Films are selected based on providing a mix of topics and length, ranging from three minutes to almost an hour. Every year, a selection committee is assigned to narrow down the selections based on feedback from other showings, a mix of lengths, a variety of subject matter, personal appeal and applicability to the region.
Group treasurer and longtime administrative committee member for SCMG, Ronald Johnson joined due to his interest in outdoor sports and a concern for environmental issues.
“It is very rewarding to be part of the support team that allows leaders like our chair Gary Thornbloom and others to take very strong positions on highly controversial issues of local and regional significance,” he said.
The SCMG has also been experimenting with showing films at the State Theatre that highlight environmental issues and provide a technical speaker to field questions and promote dialogue on key issues facing our planet and communities.
“Key members had attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in other locations and they felt that its ability to inspire an interest in the outdoors, environmental/wildlife issues and other cultures around the world was a perfect fit for the Sierra Club,” Johnson said. “Not only does the event provide an opportunity for the SCMG to share its ‘Explore, Enjoy, Protect the Planet,’ but it serves as a fundraiser to provide funds for the club to engage in grassroots projects.”
Johnson added that the event has become a sell-out performance due to the quality and inspirational aspect of the films that are part of the Banff films; this equates to more than 1,000 attendees.
“We have a lot of dedicated followers now that the event is well established as an annual event,” he said.
“Since Banff is so well known and has dedicated followers, we have had people come from other states to attend the State College event,” Johnson said.
The Sierra Club Moshannon Group represents Bedford, Blair, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean and Mifflin counties as the local component of the Pennsylvania and National Sierra Club organizations.
“Our goal is to leverage the talent, commitment, responsiveness, and perseverance of our grassroots membership and volunteers to provide leadership in advocating, informing, and engaging our local community in the local and global preservation of our air, water and natural resources,” Johnson said. “Our current No. 1 priority is issues associated with climate change.”
The group hopes to inspire others to action and to join the SCMG in projects that make a difference.
“By inviting other community groups involved with conservation and outdoor recreation to table at Banff, we also hope to increase awareness of all the unique opportunities that exist in this community for enjoying and protecting our natural resources,” Johnson said. “With regards to the Banff Festival, we hope to continue bringing this event to State College as long as we can.”