Out West Goes Multimedia

By on May 16, 2018

Annual festival is anchored in local and regional films, music and a mission

Marie-France Roy in ‘Right to Roam.’

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Alana Nichols is a multi-sport gold medalist who has risen through the ranks of some of the most accomplished athletes in the world. Never heard of her? Not for long.

Nichols is the subject of the short film One Track Mind produced by Orijin Media. The film looks at talented athletes, but also skiing and access to the sport, said Christie Quinn, operations director at Jackson Hole Wild.

It is one of eight films that will screen as part of Out West Fest, a music and film festival presented by Jackson Hole Wild and Orijin Media.

“There’s a definite twist to this film and it’s incredibly moving,” Quinn said.

The films featured in the revamped festival are made by Jackson and regional filmmakers and tackle topics from immigrant populaces and Olympic athletes to public lands and mountain lions.

Out West Fest began a few years ago as a music festival. It’s undergone a few incarnations, happening at different times and different locations. This is the first year it will feature music and a film festival combined, Quinn said.

The film lineup also includes Far From Home, which tells the story of an Iranian woman becoming an Olympic downhill skier. The film was created by a team from Jackson and Salt Lake City. “It’s such a cool story about a woman breaking stereotypes,” Quinn said.

Mothered by Mountains, a film from Camp 4 Collective, follows the story of female Nepali mountaineers on a quest for a first ascent. “It’s an inside look at these women who are at the forefront of the sport and industry in Nepal,” Quinn said.

The Shape of a River, meanwhile, explores the Yellowstone River through the eyes of those whose lives intersect with it. It is the story of a fierce yet vulnerable river that shapes the landscape and people’s lives. Quinn described it as “a slow, meditative piece.”

Two episodes from Casey Anderson’s “Wild Tracks” will screen. One is on mountain lions, among the most elusive predators in the Rocky Mountains. Anderson documents a female with kits with an InfraRed camera. In the episode on wolves, Anderson follows a mysterious pack on an elk hunt in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

WRKSHRT travels to Scotland to roam with purpose.

In Right to Roam, WRKSHRT productions follows Marie-France Roy and Alex Yoder as they travel Scotland’s countryside. The film looks at the country’s policy that allows exploration on private land, Quinn said. “I think the spirit of it is an interesting topic for Jackson. It’s a really beautiful and interesting look at the country and their different public land laws.”

Jackson filmmakers Hilary Byrne and Sophie Danison will also show an extended trailer of their film, A Quiet Force, about Latinos that work in American ski towns like Jackson. It’s the story of how these workers keep tourist-driven towns running and integrate into the community through activities like skiing.

Many of the films, like A Quiet Force, were made by Jackson residents, or those with ties to the community. It was also important to festival organizers to focus on highlighting and incorporating films with women directors and women’s stories.

That decision, while deliberate, felt natural, Quinn said. Both groups work to promote gender equality.

“It really just felt like, that for both our organizations, this is practicing what we preach,” Quinn said. “We feel strongly that we want to support and showcase women in the film industry and through that, hopefully encourage more women to join and feel that they can participate.”

Out West Fest begins with film screenings at 7 p.m., Friday in the Pink Garter Theatre and will likely run about 2.5 hours. Filmmakers from each production will be at the event. Whippoorwill and the Canyon Kids will play in The Rose immediately following the screenings. $10 advance tickets can be purchased at The Rose; $12 at the door.

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