AS the universe of environmentally-themed film festivals continues to expand, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour—with a Savannah stop this weekend—focuses less on politics than on enjoyment.
“We basically want to extend what we do inside the store to outside the store,” says Chad DuBose of local outdoor adventure retailer Half-Moon Outfitters, which sponsors the Banff Mountain Film Fest stop at the Johnny Mercer Theatre.
“We want to bring the community together to celebrate cool outdoor adventures. This is a way to get the community rallying together, and also in the end about supporting the Georgia Conservancy and Savannah Bicycle Campaign,” he says of local charities benefiting from proceeds.
In case you’re wondering what “Banff” means, that’s the town in Alberta, Canada which hosts the Banff Centre and the actual Banff Mountain Film Fest each fall. From there, a selection of films goes on tour around the world.
In addition to films and live entertainment greeting you as you arrive, there will be a great silent auction.
“We’re fortunate enough to have everything from local artists donating paintings, to hikers donating leather travel bags, to donations of fly fishing trips in Montana,” DuBose says.
“The idea is not to guilt people into feeling bad. These films are meant to inspire, not to depress,” he says.
DuBose says “we want people to watch these films and walk out with chill bumps planning their next trip—whether it’s camping next weekend or skiing next winter.”
“We’re really trying to push back against this crazy notion that there’s nothing to do here,” he says. “Like maybe the mid-20s couple who moves here from Colorado. We want to show them there’s no shortage of outdoor activities here. We have such amazing marshland and so many things to do out on the water.”
We asked DuBose for some insider info for newcomers to the area on how best to explore the Savannah area’s natural offerings:
“First off, I’d say maybe go to Savannah Canoe and Kayak or Sea Kayak Georgia or someplace local like that, and get out on the water and take some lessons. At Half-Moon we also do some paddleboard and kayak demos to kick off the summer,” he says.
“Then you’ve got the Rails to Trails hiking trail near Ft. Pulaski. You’ve got Little Tybee, a great place for primitive camping that’s reasonably easy to access,” he says.
“And get out on our rivers, like the Ogeechee River. It goes through the heart of the Lowcountry, 240 miles, brackish water all the way to salt water. I’ve paddled about 120 miles of that myself,” DuBose says.
“But anytime someone says, ‘there’s nothing to do here,’ that’s a copout. There’s so much wilderness here to enjoy.”