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New film festival in Victor to celebrate community, art and the power of storytelling


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VICTOR — The Wydaho Adventure Film Festival hosted at the Victor City Park is a promising inaugural event set to intersect art, community and the power of storytelling against the wild backdrop of the Teton Mountain Range.

Scheduled for Friday, Aug. 20, the festival will showcase adventure films aimed to “inspire, educate, and encourage personal and communal change,” said Phil and Allie Mollenkof — the two forces behind this first-of-its-kind festival in the Teton Valley area. The event will feature award-winning special guests and hosts, outdoor gear giveaways, music, food, drink, and the best of Teton Valley’s nonprofit and entrepreneurial community.

“We are both big community people and have been drawn to events in Teton Valley that offer an opportunity for large gatherings such as the Tin Cup and Music on Main,” said Phil, who brings his professional experience of having worked with other western film festivals. “We thought, wouldn’t it be great to contribute and create an event that would bring people together, and I think the pandemic piece just increased our desire to make something like this happen.”

The film festival will feature works such as “Teton Center Punch,” an inspirational short film featuring Jackson athletes Fredric Casey and Kelly Halpin and their journey through the eponymous 70-mile route following the hydrological divide of the Teton Range.

Also in the lineup is “Denizens of the Steep,” produced by Jackson media company Orijin Media, about ski mountaineer Kim Havell and her concern about a remnant population of bighorn sheep who are now on the verge of extinction.

“These are stories that will leave you with bated breath,” Allie said. “These films offer a different kind of perspective as you watch what people have gone through, all that they have endured and what has carried them through their experiences.”

The Mollenkofs moved to Teton Valley with their two sons a handful of years ago and immediately rolled up their sleeves to dive right in with Phil supporting nonprofits, for-profits and social enterprise businesses through his marketing firm. Allie is passionate about making positive changes and currently works for Church in the Tetons and the nonprofit Seniors West of the Tetons.

The festival will be hosted by the Emmy award-winning producer Chris Kugelman, who now makes his home in the valley. Kugelman is known for his work through National Geographic working on projects that have included the series Deadliest Catch as well as work with Teton Gravity Research.

With this first festival, the Mollenkofs will work to support three local nonprofits: Friends of the Teton River, the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition and Mountain Bike the Tetons. Donations can be made online when you reserve your tickets or at the event. Each nonprofit will have an opportunity during the festival to talk about their work in the valley.

The festival gates will open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20. Tickets are $25 online or $30 at the door for adults, and children under 18 are $5 online or $7 at the door. There will be food and beer for purchase that evening and lawn games and live music leading up to the start of the films at 8:30 p.m. on the main stage at the Victor City Park. For more information, click here.