Ogden’s Lady Wild Film Festival returns to empower women in the outdoors

Ogden’s Lady Wild Film Festival returns to empower women in the outdoors

By MARK SAAL • Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN — Eight films, one night.

The Lady Wild Film Festival, now in its second year, returns to Ogden this weekend with an evening of short films featuring strong female leads or characters in an outdoor-adventure setting.

The family-friendly event starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, in the Ogden High School Auditorium, 2828 Harrison Blvd., Ogden. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance at www.andshesdopetoo.com, or $20 at the door.

The Lady Wild Film Festival is organized by AndShesDopeToo, a women’s collective that encourages outdoor adventure and cooperation. The group organizes retreats, rendezvous and other events designed to build sisterhood among its participants.

Jenn and Taylor Killian, an Ogden wife-husband team, came up with the idea for the women’s group — which they insist is not a feminist organization, but rather an outlet for women to “drop every excuse” for not getting together and experiencing life.

“AndShesDopeToo started with my insecurities putting myself out there in the outdoors,” Jenn said. “I was wanting to create a community where I didn’t feel the need to compete or compare with others.”

The Killians came up with the idea of a film festival last year. They’d been looking to fund a film project and were brainstorming ideas to raise money for what would become the documentary “Moksha.”

“It was the first year of the Sundance Film Festival pulling out of Ogden, and we said, ‘What about a film festival,’” Jenn recalls. “We looked at each other and thought, ‘We’ve got three and a half weeks, maybe four — let’s do it!’ ”

Pulling together a film festival in less than a month might seem impossible, and Jenn says there are plenty of places that would be true. But not in Ogden.

“Being a part of the Ogden community you can pull off something like this quickly because of the resources, and how people pull together here,” she said. “Ogden really has your back when you need it. You just hold up that white flag and say, ‘I need help.’”

The Killians weren’t expecting huge crowds for last year’s inaugural Lady Wild Film Festival. They were pleasantly surprised.

RELATED: Ogden ‘Lady Wild Film Fest’ to star female adventure films, support documentary

“Last year’s festival was emotional for us,” Jenn said. “We thought we’d be lucky if we could get 500 people — that was our goal. So it brought tears to our eyes when 1,000 people showed up.”

Jenn sees the Lady Wild Film Festival filling a void at this time of year. Not only does Sundance no longer grace Ogden with its presence, this weekend would have been the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, had it not moved to Denver.

“What was is not here anymore,” she said. “We’re hoping to provide something in its place.”

This year’s festival will include eight films, ranging in length from 4 minutes to 25 minutes. It will feature the premiere of the 25-minute “Moksha,” a documentary that follows four U.S. female mountain bikers who who travel to Nepal to interact with the women there.

“The purpose of the trip was not only to learn from our Nepali friends, but also teach them that sisterhood can be an empowering thing,” Taylor said.

Other films featured at the festival include:

• “Born Wild 2: Wild Inheritance” (16 minutes), which tells the story of a grandmother who continues her husband’s tradition of taking their extended family on a backpacking trip into the Wind River area of western Wyoming.

• “Lady of the Mountain” (7 minutes), a film about a 77-year-old concentration camp survivor who pursued her goal to climb Mount Rainier in Washington.

• “Quincy” (5 minutes), about a 4-year-old girl from Australia who falls in love with surfing.

• “Intersection” (5 minutes), featuring a special mountain biker from Canada who blends mountain biking with art.

• “For the Love of Climbing” (5 minutes), a short film about how the love of climbing — and the heartbreak of failure — affects a female climber.

• “Where the Wild Things Play” (4 minutes), about a group of women who go out skydiving, base-jumping, kayaking and more.

• “Water Worshipers” (4 minutes), featuring a professional skier talking about water and the need to preserve it.

The film festival also will involve a raffle and prize drawings, as well as food and drink for purchase from Thai Curry KitchenLucky Slice Pizza and Daily Rise Coffee.

Music will be provided by 13-year-old vocalist Kyla Vine.

“She’ll do two songs — opening and closing the night with song — and she has these amazing pipes,” Jenn said.

Some of the proceeds from this year’s festival are earmarked to fund the group’s next film, a running film featuring Ogden women, according to Taylor.

The Killians say they eventually hope to expand the film festival throughout the West — Wyoming, California, the Pacific Northwest. But they say the flagship festival will always be held in Ogden, and the goal is to eventually make it a two-day event.

“If you want to know Ogden, you need to come to this event,” Jenn said. “Everyone from Ogden will be here, and there’s a lot of energy at the festival. It’s something that’s beautiful to see.”

Jenn insists the Lady Wild Film Festival wasn’t created to compete with the big film festivals out there. But then again, she reasons, they did manage to organize their first film fest in just a few weeks.

“So if we have six months, who knows what we can do?” she said.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.