*2018-19 season info


The Backcountry Film Festival is a turn-key fundraising event to raise money and awareness for organizations, backcountry retailers, university clubs, and other groups focused on protecting wild winter landscapes and recreation in their local communities. Hosts use the Backcountry Film Festival as their biggest fundraiser and membership drive of the year!

“Hosting the Backcountry Film Festival has been a fun and effective way to celebrate winter and build community in Mt. Shasta. It helps us raise essential funds for our Ski School Program and we look forward to it every year.”
Jenna K. (Mt. Shasta, OR)

What are the benefits?

  • Raise funds – all proceeds from your event go back to your organization and local backcountry community.
  • Raise awareness – bring attention to your cause or to the Winter Wildlands Alliance cause within your local community. Attendees are current and future members, volunteers, and supporters of your organization, so bring them in for an event that ignites their stoke on winter advocacy at a local and national level!
  • Raise community – make a meaningful impact and bring together all of your social media followers, your email subscribers, your members, and your volunteers to celebrate your local backcountry community. Use the films’ pow shots, inspiring human-powered stories, and “oooh-ahhh!” worthy moments on screen to inspire the current and future supporters of your cause.
“Nothing brings the solitary backcountry skiers out of the woods more than a night of films, beer, and community.”
Gus B. (Wenatchee, WA)

How do I host?

We’ve made it easy for you! We provide the pre-produced film reels via download for free or via DVD/Blu-ray for extra, marketing materials to put your logo and event information on easily, helpful timelines and an event planning guide, and all the support in the world to ensure your event is as successful as possible. By providing a turn-key film festival event, you can focus on connecting with your local backcountry community to raise funds, raise awareness, and have a good time.

  • Step 1 – APPLY to host by emailing your name, host organization information, preferred screening date, venue, and location to Backcountry Film Festival Manager, Melinda Quick: mquick@winterwildlands.org. The screening details can change, but we like to have a basic understanding of the who/what/when/where before asking you to sign your host contract. Additionally, current hosts (aka hosts that have screened in the last season or seasons) have priority in terms of the premiere date within an hour of their location. We will be sure to communicate if you are a new host what options you have and if there are any confirmed screenings in your area already.
  • Step 2 – CONFIRM your screening with the BCFF Manager and you will receive a link to sign the host contract.
  • Step 3 – SIGN the contract, you’ll be invoiced for your host fee (details here) which covers our production costs with creating the Festival, social media coverage of your event on our pages, and ensures our 110% support throughout your planning and event process.
  • Step 4 – ACCESS the Host Media Kit after payment is received, which includes the film download links; marketing materials such as posters, press release templates, and social media content; a copy of the host contract and helpful timelines for planning your screening; and how-to’s for any national sponsor activation opportunities (such as getting Sierra Nevada beers donated for your event!).
  • Step 5 – ORGANIZE and host your screening! In the process, we’re always here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, ideas, etc.
  • Step 6 – FOLLOW UP with us via our host survey sent to you after your event, which lets us know the successes of your event and provides you the opportunity to give us any feedback on how we can better the host experience. We also require you share attendee information (first name, last name, zip code, email address) so we can add your attendees to our national sweepstakes and send them a one-time follow up email about the Festival and WWA.
  • Step 7 – RELAX and feel great about putting on a stellar community event that benefited your organization locally and the national wild winter community.

Additional Host Opportunities

Photo: Granite Backcountry Alliance

Sierra Nevada – Our incredible sponsors at Sierra Nevada are happy to provide donated beer to your event as a Backcountry Film Festival host! Information on how to do so is included in the Host Media Kit.

Raffle – We provide a small amount of raffle items for ALL hosts and will mail them out to you the month of your event. We encourage you to seek out additional raffle items from local businesses and any national partners you may have outside of our national sponsors (see below).

Local Sponsors – Raise more funds by having local businesses and organizations table at your event, sponsor your event, or donate raffle items to your screening!

National Sponsor On-Site Activation – Sometimes our national sponsors like to get wild and get out there themselves. If they would like to be a part of your event, we will contact you with advance notice to figure out what opportunities there are to have them be involved.

Ready to host?

Email your name, host organization information, preferred screening date, venue, and location to Backcountry Film Festival Manager, Melinda Quick: mquick@winterwildlands.org.

“When I found myself hibernating metaphorically from the wild outside, this festival got me excited to get back out there again, the cold be damned.”

Megan G. (Syracuse, NY)

It’s that time of the year: film submissions are open for the 15th annual Backcountry Film Festival!

Photo credit: Oskar Enander

In the midst of winding down from this past winter’s Festival season and ramping up for our 2019-20 season (our 15th annual one!), we’re getting excited for the soon-to-be flood of film submissions from filmmakers near and far.

Whether you grabbed some sweet shots this winter but haven’t touched them yet, or you are in the editing room right now trying to finish your film from this season, or you’re still buried in snow and want to make the most of it: here are our tips on how to make a great, human-powered, backcountry film.

We hope to see your film submitted for next winter’s Festival season – our official call for films begins on June 19, so get to work filmmakers and mark your calendar now!

Tip #1: What does human-powered mean exactly?

At Winter Wildlands Alliance, we’re a non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting spaces for human-powered winter recreation.

Human-powered means activity and energy produced from the human body.

Human-powered winter recreation means activities in snow without the use of motorized vehicles. Examples include: skiing, splitboarding, snowshoeing, belly sliding, fat biking, ice climbing, winter river-rafting, ice surfing… the list can go on and on!

Tip #2: Wait, what does backcountry mean?!

We typically define “backcountry” as a sparsely, if at all, inhabited rural area that you would have to trek in to experience solitude, silence, and simplicity. Backcountry experiences often happen on public lands and we encourage you to get familiar with your own backcountry backyard through any of our near-to-you grassroots organizations, SnowSchool sites, or backcountry partners.

Tip #3: What if I don’t have the best gear (or any at all)?

Don’t get caught up on what level of filming gear you may or may not have. We want to see great stories – as do our thousands of audience members each season. The difference between a film shot on a cell phone versus one shot on a very expensive camera is whether or not the story was told well and captivates an audience.

In no way is this a must-have list, but it’s a great place to start if you are thinking about investing in new or additional film gear for all of your backcountry adventures. Many communities have gear you can rent or purchase refurbished from your local camera store, university, or library as well.

Tip #4: How does one safely film in a winter backcountry landscape?

We’ll keep this answer short and sweet: be up-to-date on your avalanche training, take proper backcountry snow gear, plan your route, and consider weight limitations and your personal abilities.

Tip #5: What is and how do you tell a human-powered, backcountry story?

We can’t say it enough: a great human-powered, backcountry story focuses on the human element, not just the scenery. Being able to blend the two intricately and cohesively throughout a timeline that is intentional and effective is a delicate skill.

When thinking about the story you want to tell, start by looking at the people around you or who you are going into the backcountry with (including yourself!). What story is lingering behind and within the snowy adventure? How does the landscape contribute to the story? Has it taken anything away? Has the backcountry or has the human focus of your story been a source of peace or conflict for your local community? What context does the backcountry have in your community? What is unique about the story you’re wanting to tell and why do you want to tell it? Is your film a bunch of killer sends or did you actually send a story with it, too?

If you’re lucky to live somewhere that still has a mountain full of backcountry powder or are about to embark upon a late season trip, consider setting yourself up for cinematic success by packing light and with a story in mind. Preparation is useful and flexibility is key.

And remember – for as much time as you spend behind the camera, make sure to put the camera down every once in a while and enjoy being present in the moment with no cinematic strings attached.

If you’re looking for some backcountry inspiration, check out the film line-ups from our past season here and check out some stillshots from said films below.

Questions? Email us at info@winterwildlands.org.

What a whirlwind of a season! We achieved a lot of wild firsts and continued many Backcountry traditions during our 14th annual year.