At 4 PM, 11 of us gathered here for a pre-Film Festival Potluck dinner. Oh man, what fun.
A little pre-party happened in the Arctic Fox!
After a delicious dinner, we headed to MontBleu for the film festival, which combines award winning environmental and adventure films with the energy of local activism. Each year, they choose powerful films so that we are inspired to take further action regarding issues that impact our environment, ourselves and our world. This year's lineup was a lot less adventure and more environmental than previously, yet it was interesting and we all chose our favorites. The subjects were as diverse as hiking with a dog to a scary film about antiquated oil lines in the Great Lakes.
I think my favorite was the last film shown, Operation Moffat. Its inspiration and wit came from the colorful climbing life of Britain’s first female mountain guide, Gwen Moffat. Grappling with her preference for mountains over people, adventure over security and wilderness over checklists, writer Claire Carter and filmmaker Jen Randall climb, run, scramble and swim their way through Gwen’s most cherished British landscapes. Including candid interviews with 90 1/2 year old Gwen, previously unseen archive material and unashamedly real action sequences, this film captures Gwen’s infectious excitement for a life constantly seeking something strange or beautiful around the next bend. Oh and she climbed in a bikini and barefoot!
It's Gwen's life that is absolutely mesmerizing. In 1945, when she was 21, she deserted her Army post to live rough in Wales and Cornwall, climbing and living on practically nothing. She hitchhiked her way around, with all her possessions on her back, although these amounted to little more than a rope and a sleeping bag. When the money ran out, she worked as a forester, went winkle-picking on the Isle of Skye, acted as the helmsman of a schooner, and did a stint as an artist's model. And always there were the mountains, drawing her away from a "proper" job.Through interviews, Gwen shared her amazing life with us as Britain's leading female climber—and the first woman to qualify as a mountain guide. The big takeaway was when she was asked "Do you miss it?" She replied, "How can I miss it? I have it still. Those memories are mine and that is my life." What an amazing woman and film sharing her incredible 90 1/2 years. Operation Moffat was worth going to the festival for- completely.