Festival to feature women-only adventure films


LARAMIE — A film festival that aims to “undefine” what it means to be a woman in the outdoor world is set to screen in Laramie for the first time this week.

The No Man’s Land Film Festival is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the University of Wyoming Education Building Auditorium. Admission is free, and a panel discussion that includes Laramie women in the outdoor world is set to precede the screening.

Based in Carbondale, Colorado, No Man’s Land Film Festival is now in its fourth year. Featuring a slate of all-woman adventure films, the festival aims to celebrate the full scope of female athletes in outdoor sports, cultivate exploration from a woman’s point of view and inspire change in the outdoor and film industries.

Tour coordinator Kathy Karlo said the outdoor industry and the outdoor films that portray it can have a masculine undertone, which the film festival wants to “undefine.”

“We aren’t trying to redefine it. We want to take the whole thing and restructure it from the ground up,” she said. “It’s different for everybody.”

Founder Aisha Weinhold was inspired to start the festival after watching years of other outdoor-type film festivals and not seeing any women in them, Karlo said.

“She took that idea and ran with it,” she said.

Karlo said she’s hoping the audience — the event is open to everyone — will take the ideas from the screen into their own worlds.

“The film festival is a starting point for these conversations,” she said. “We want to spark some new conversations and hopefully some new inspiration for people — that’s where the change happens.”

Many outdoor-themed film festivals make a stop in Laramie, focused on everything from rock climbing to fly fishing to non-motorized winter sports. Garrett Genereux, coordinator of the UW Outdoor Program, which is sponsoring the screening, said Laramie is an active outdoor town all around.

“We do have a really amazing community of outdoor recreationalists here in Laramie, and a part of that is an amazing group of women,” he said.

A festival that features women is a way to empower more participants in outdoor sports, he said.

“Especially on college campuses, with folks of all genders who are just getting into certain sports and activities, representation matters,” he said.

Nicole Lumadue, a graduate assistant for the outdoor program, will lead a discussion with panelists Rebecca Walsh, Willow Belden and Jenn Hess.

Walsh owns Laramie’s Basecamp and has started the online community Hike Like A Woman, the website Just Trails and the hiking group Little Laramie Hikers.

Belden is a member of the public lands advocacy group Common Outdoor Ground and creator of the outdoor-themed podcast Out There.

Hess is a wildlife biologist who started the Rowdy Gowdy Women’s Mountain Bike Camp.

Genereux said there has been a lot of buzz on campus about the film festival, so he advised people to arrive early.

“I have a feeling this is going to be packed,” he said.