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Film festivals are offering free online viewings; here’s what we’re watching

A screenshot of the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Fest video. [Photo] Derek Franz

A screenshot of the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Fest video.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the United States and the world, stay-in-place orders have forced a change of plans for all kinds of public gatherings. That includes film festivals, some of which are now offering free online viewings. Here we’ve gathered some links to free film fests and videos that we think may be of interest to Alpinist readers.

The 5Point Adventure Film Festival was recently rescheduled from its regular dates in April to October 14-18, 2020. In the meantime, you can register to watch a series of 90-minute programs that will begin airing on YouTube this Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day), and continue on Friday and Sunday. Chris Davenport, Wade Newsom and Juanma Cespedes are hosting, and there will be special guest segments, including Julie Kennedy, the founder of 5Point. The 5Point website describes the series as “all new, 90 minute programs featuring great films curated from the 5Point film archives along with special guest vignettes showing ‘Life in Lockdown.’ Gather around the proverbial home campfire, feel the warmth, and settle in for a dose of classic 5Point storytelling and inspiration.” Donations can also be made at the link above to support 5Point and the 5Point FilmFund, “a grant program that gives back to a filmmaking community dedicated to the art of adventure storytelling through film.”

The Winter Wildlands Alliance is streaming the lineup of the 15th annual Backcountry Film Festival on its website. The collection of backcountry ski films amounts to nearly two hours. The WWA website reads in part, “We still strive to bring together our human-powered communities as we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. So, whether your screening was cancelled or you weren’t able to make it out for your local screening this season or you saw it and want to see it again, we want you to be able to view our collection of films and get stoked on wild winters for the rest of our season. As a nonprofit, and across all aspects of society right now, it’s more important than ever to show our support for one another. Our host community (grassroots groups, backcountry retailers, nonprofit partners, avalanche centers, snow education programs, etc.) uses the Backcountry Film Festival as a turn-key event to organize their annual fundraisers, community gatherings, member meetings, and to share local policy/advocacy updates. We hope you’ll consider making a donation when watching this collection of human-powered films….”

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) is posting a “Webinar series” on YouTube. Three have been posted as of April 21. The first is a 20-minute slide show by Anindya Mukherjee about the first documented ascent of Zemu Gap from the south, which he completed with a team in December 2011. The second installment is approximately 10 minutes long, in which Stephen Alter describes the “living landscape” of the Himalaya. The latest video, 15 minutes long, is by Anup Sah, titled “My Most Memorable Images in the Mountains.”

On April 14, “Evolution: Anna Stohr, the Movie” was released. The 25-minute film synopsis reads: “Anna started climbing at the age of six and quickly started to compete in the Austrian national team, notching up impressive performances at international events. Now her success continues with alpinism and new big wall experience.”

On April 3, a 20-minute film titled “Choices” was released. It features the legendary female climber and BASE jumper Steph Davis. The synopsis describes the video as a “portrait of an exceptional sportswoman who is not afraid to make decisions and who approaches her life as she approaches her climbing projects–as willing to compromise as necessary and as uncompromisingly as possible.”

If you’re still looking for even more footage to satisfy your climbing stoke, you can find a collection of “Awesome Trad Movies” on