It Takes a Mountain of People

What are you doing on February 16 and 17? The Community Centre is where it’s at for this year’s Fernie Mountain Film Festival (FMFF)! Founded in 2007, FMFF is in its 18th year and is shaping up to be another truly fantastic event.

Since the festival’s inception the Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) Program at the College of the Rockies has had a strong connection with the event. Founded by Brian Bell as team lead, most of the board of directors are MAST graduates and MAST students have always supported its organization and logistics on the day of the event. As the current MAST crew, we are stoked to experience our first FMFF! The MAST program relies on a significant amount of support and generosity from the wider community to enhance our learning experience so we are grateful that this is just one small way we can give something back.

In true Fernie spirit all those people who make the festival possible are providing their time on a volunteer basis, so this event is created through the passion of those involved. Brian, along with the rest of the board review over 45 film submissions to choose a line-up that continues to stay true to the event’s mission statement - “dedicated to filmmakers who spark awareness of mountain cultures, fragile environments and the passion and perseverance of global explorers.”

As a community centric event it will focus on a blend of local and international films covering a diverse range of mountain aspects and different adventures. Each night you will see up to eight short films including one feature. One of the highlights of this year will be Saturday’s feature film Bringing the Salmon Home directed by Teresa Marshall and Jeremy Williams. The heartfelt and inspirational film will be introduced by an Indigenous representative and shares the story of three Indigenous Nations who are upholding their sacred responsibility to reintroduce the salmon, working with US Tribal relations and allies along the Columbia River. This is a vital film that calls on the inspiration and commitment of present and future generations. Both nights are set to be inspirational, celebratory and thought provoking with beer and tacos. Your only tough choice.... which night to choose. Or, make a weekend of it and come both nights (weekend pass is only $35)!

For the photographers (professional and amateur), there is a local mountain photo contest with cash prizes. Kids can get involved at the free hour matinee on Saturday at 4pm with short films focused on the 4-12 age group, free popcorn and juice with all donations going towards the Ghostrider Adventure Camp Foundation. There is even beer for the adults!

The event has incredible community sponsors which make the event possible and contribute to the ethos and experience of it all. Without our sponsors this event would not be possible. Major appreciations to Fernie Wilderness Adventures, Island Lake Lodge, Fernie Fox, Columbia Basin Trust, Mustang Survival, Gear Hub, Le Bon Pain, Wapiti, Funky Goat, Edge of the World, Big Bang and numerous others we will be celebrating at the event!

We spoke to Brian Bell to get his perspective on why this event is so special and what has kept him inspired over the last 18 years. The answer was simple, it all comes back to community. 

“It’s because of its small town vibe which fits in really with Fernie’s culture. It celebrates not only Kootenay mountain culture, but mountain culture internationally. There are a variety of mountain films that inspire a wide range of our audience and I feel a sense of pride and duty to keep it true to its roots.”

Well if we weren’t already sold, we are now! This event wouldn’t be possible without the support, passion and dedication from the Fernie community. It takes a mountain of people to create this vibe and this one is set to be pretty special.