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Tahoe Adventure Film Festival to dig deeper into action sports athletes

Adam Jensen
ajensen@tahoedailytribun.com
Jon Devore, Filippo Fabbi and Andy Farington fly through the middle of a glacier fieldduring the filming of "The Unrideables: Alaska Range" near Anchorage, Alaska.
Scott Serfas / Red Bull Content Pool |

If you go

What: Tahoe Adventure Film Festival

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11

Where: MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa

Tickets: $25 plus fees

Info: http://www.laketahoefilmfestival.com

This Friday’s Tahoe Adventure Film Festival is as much about the relationships that develop between action-sports athletes as it is about the sports themselves.

BASE jumping, surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking and backcountry skiing will each be featured at the 13th annual festival, which takes place Friday night, Dec. 11, at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. The annual event eschews many of the trappings of traditional film festivals, featuring go-go dancers and DJs among its film clips.

While the vibe of the festival remains inspiring and fun, several of the films also provide insight into the decision-making process behind the high-consequence pursuits of adventure athletes. The theme of staying safe while pursuing the highest level of sport stemmed from South Shore resident and festival creator Todd Offenbacher losing friends to action sports accidents.

“I’m sick of losing so many friends, real close friends,” Offenbacher said Tuesday.

The avid rock climber and backcountry skier said he’d like to inspire the next generation of adventure athletes to push the limits of sport, while also mentoring new entrants in staying safe.

“I do want to pass that onto the generations coming up,” Offenbacher said. “We can all make a little difference.”

Among the films with clips to be shown Friday is “Reach for the Sky,” which chronicles mountain biker Cam Zink’s rise into the professional ranks of the sport and how he balances it with family life. “The Unrideables” documents the high stakes of speedriding, which combines skiing and parachute flight to access otherwise inaccessible terrain. “A Line Across the Sky” shows Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold’s completion of the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia. The clip highlights two world-class athletes pushing their sport forward. It also reveals the pair’s deep friendship.

“It really captures that, just two buddies having a good time,” Offenbacher said.

One clip to be shown Friday has its origins in last year’s event. Bay Area filmmaker Megan Sullivan met climber and BASE jumper Chris McNamara at the 2014 festival and asked him to be part of her project “7 Wonders of the World in 13 Days.” After getting to know McNamara, she created “On the Fence,” which examines some of the close calls that caused the world-class rock climber to stop BASE jumping. The film explores examines some of the psychology of what drives people to pursue adventure sports. The footage will make its public debut Friday.

“It’s really well done. It’s powerful,” Offenbacher said of the film.

With new energy surrounding sports like mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding at Lake Tahoe, Offenbacher said he’s especially excited to celebrate with the adventure sports “tribe” this year.

“It’s a celebration of our lifestyle — all mountain towns — this just happens to be Tahoe,” Offenbacher said.

He declined to reveal the winner of this year’s Golden Camalot award, which honors an action and adventure-sports pioneer each year. He did say the award, which has gone to luminaries like Royal Robbins, Glen Plake and Alex Honnold in the past, will be awarded to a Lake Tahoe Basin resident this year.

“It’s fun, wacky and crazy, but the films are also inspiring,” Sullivan said of the festival. “I was incredibly inspired by the films that were shown.”

Doors to the festival open at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and the films start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 plus fees and can be purchased at the MontBleu ticket office, by calling 775-588-3515 or at http://www.montbleuresort.com.

A tour of the festival follows in January. For more information, visit http://www.laketahoefilmfestival.com.


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