FilmFest-pBy Laurelle Walsh

An evening of film awaits viewers at Methow Films’ fourth annual Winter Film Festival on Saturday (March 1) at the Mazama Community Club, 512 Goat Creek Road in Mazama.

The festival begins at 6 p.m. and promises an evening of “homemade films made by Methow Valley locals plus professional shorts and feature films from around the world,” according to festival literature.

“Last year’s turnout exceeded our expectations and helped us realize that people are hungry for events like this, especially at the tail end of winter,” said organizer Audrey Jo Mills.

The festival has primarily specialized in adventure and extreme sports footage, but is increasingly attracting filmmakers of other genres such as documentary, mockumentary, biography and human interest, said Mills.

A range of short films under 10 minutes dominate the lineup: Ascension — on fly fishing the Snake River; Angels Staircase — with footage from the August 2013 Sawtooth trail running race; When Rescue Isn’t an Option — a true-life adventure of two backcountry skiers stranded in Glacier Bay National Park; Shackitecture — an interview with Methow Valley home designer Doug Potter; Cross Country Croquet — with footage from the Winthrop tournament shot by E.A. Weymuller; The Return — a short drama shot in the tunnels underneath Seattle’s Space Needle; Alex Bosco’s The Weekend — documenting Superbowl weekend insanity; Smokejumper by Sarah Berns; Carving the Methow by Jenna Pool; Stephen Foreman’s Tiny Methow; Marissa Burkett’s A Tested Faith — in which locals share the personal fallout from a homegrown Ponzi scheme; Broken Arrow, and Lake Roosevelt Annual Trip by Nic Ulmer, and Patricia’s Story — documenting a field scientist’s work in the Peruvian rainforest.

Antarctica: A Year On Ice is the festival’s 90-minute feature documentary by Kiwi filmmaker Anthony Powell. Over 10 years in the making, Antarctica documents a year in the life of the people who work in the harshest environment on Earth.

Released at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July and on tour worldwide since September, Antarctica: A Year On Ice has been winning awards at festivals such as Indie Fest USA, the Breckenridge Film Festival, and Calgary International Film Festival, where one reviewer wrote, “I have never been so moved by a documentary before.”

The festival’s organizers are planning their first-ever “Audience Choice Award,” as well as a raffle for “random prizes” and prizes for correctly answering film trivia questions, said Mills.

A $5 suggested donation will be accepted at the door with all proceeds going toward equipment, films, food, beverages, and space rental. Popcorn with gourmet toppings, cheese plates and sweet snacks will be available, along with beverages.

Film festival sponsors include North Cascades Mountain Hostel, Pine Print Photography, Methow River Raft & Kayak, Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies, River Run Inn and Cabins and Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

For more information go to www.methowfilms.org or Methow Films’ Facebook page.