Mountain Life Presents the Pursuits Film Festival

The Pursuits Program sheds the classroom locale and takes students into the bush to hone their leadership skills and environmental consciousness.

Every year around November, we start getting stoked for the next rendition of the Pursuits Film Festival. At that point, it’s still months away, and we’ve got lots of work to do at ML to prepare for the evening—but there’s something super-motivating about contributing to Georgian Bay Community School’s Pursuits Program and ensuring the area’s youth have a stellar chance at getting into the splendour of the Canadian wilderness. This is important stuff. And we’re not the only ones who think so.


article continues below

The Fest has grown every year, so for round three, we’ve lined up three new films as well as speakers to fire you up. Our audience-favourite silent auction is back with a wealth of awesome stuff, all proceeds benefiting the Pursuits Program: a polished four-credit integrated curricular program for grade 11 and 12 students. Spearheaded by GBCS’s Ian Carr, the Pursuits Program sheds the classroom locale and takes students into the bush to hone their leadership skills and environmental consciousness.

First on the docket is the premiere of Eric Batty’s short Crossing Algonquin. Together with Buck Miller and Ryan Atkins, Batty ski-traversed, unsupported, the entirety of Algonquin Park—Canada’s oldest provincial park (that’s one and a half times the size of Prince Edward Island). All three adventurers will be on hand to introduce the film and talk about their expedition.

Our second film is Camista, a rock climbing/sailing film shot at Lion’s Head on the Bruce Peninsula, chronicling the adventures of climbers Mike Smythe and Mike Penney and their “good from far, but far from good” sailboat, Camista. The film focuses on the conservation of the Bruce’s climbing gems, and the non-traditional sailing skills of the “Mikes”.


Our feature film comes to us from the crew at Teton Gravity Research in Jackson, Wyoming, and Protect Our Winters founder and big line rider, Jeremy Jones, joined by Olympian snowboarder Elena Hight. Ode to Muir pays homage to their splitboarding expedition deep into California’s John Muir Wilderness. The film balances the challenges of winter camping, grueling climbs up the Sierra’s biggest mountains, and first descents with narrative help and inspiration from the great conservationist, father of the U.S. national parks movement and Sierra Club founder John Muir.

We selected this particular film not only because of its cinematic glory and big lines, but also because the man himself, John Muir, lived in Meaford for two years in the 1860s, working at a mill on the banks of the Bighead River.

The third annual Pursuits Film Festival kicks off Friday, January 18 at Meaford Hall. Doors open at 6pm and the program starts at 7pm. The evening is sponsored by Mountain Life, Meaford Hall Cultural Centre, the Corner Cafe, Georgian Bay, the Miller Group, and Valleyview Construction. Tickets available at Meaford Hall

—Nelson Phillips


Pursuits film fest