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Second annual Mancos Valley River Film Festival accepting submissions

Event will benefit Mancos Trails Group
Grant Stirling/Courtesy of Alpacka Rafts<br><br>A still photo from the New Zealand film “Waiau-Tau Odyssey,” which debuted in the United States at the inaugural Mancos Valley River Film Festival last year.

Organizers are accepting documentaries and short films for the second annual Mancos Valley River Film Festival.

The festival, organized by Mancos Valley Resources and sponsored by Alpacka Rafts, got its start in 2017 as a fundraiser for people affected by the Western Excelsior plant fire. It featured national and international films about river sports such as pack rafting and water conservation.

This year, the event will be expanded to two days and will get a new theme, “Bikes and Boats,” to reflect one of its beneficiaries, the Mancos Trails Group.

Lizzy Scully, vice president of Mancos Valley Resources’ board of directors, is organizing the festival again this year, along with board present Carla Martinez and Alpacka Rafts’ outreach coordinator, Sarah Tingey. She said the organizers decided to add a second day to the festival to make it accessible to more Mancos residents.

The free Locals’ Night, scheduled for June 29 at a yet-to-be-determined location, will feature a presentation from Durango resident Ashley Carruth and possibly one or two other speakers.

“We thought it would be fun to do a free night just for locals,” Scully said. “People might not be able to afford (festival tickets), and they might prefer to do something more focused on local conservation.”

Tickets for the festival proper on June 30, will cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Scully said they are scheduled to go on sale in mid-May.

Festival films will still follow a river theme, Scully said, but the organizers are also seeking documentaries about biking. According to a call for sponsors she released on April 12, half the proceeds from the event will go to Mancos Trails, a group of volunteers who provide maintenance for bike trails in Montezuma County.

“We’re all very passionate about maintaining and building trails in our area,” Scully said.

The other half of the proceeds will benefit MVR, which acts as the fiscal agent for 16 nonprofits in Montezuma County, including Mancos Trails.

Last year’s festival raised almost $10,000 for local charities, and Scully said she hopes to reach a similar goal this year. But she added that the event is as much about raising awareness of natural conservation efforts as it is about raising money.

She and the other organizers are looking for films focused on river conservation as well as outdoor sports, and they’ve invited representatives from the conservation group American Rivers to give a presentation on their 5,000 Miles of Wild project, which seeks to protect wild rivers in 21 states, including Colorado.

Carruth’s presentation during Locals’ Night will focus on her trip through the embattled Bears Ears National Monument, which was also done to raise conservation awareness.

Both nights of the festival will be open to all ages, Scully said. Film screenings will be held at the Mancos Opera House, like last year, but the location of Locals’ Night has yet to be announced.

Festival organizers are looking for about 45 local businesses or individuals to sponsor the event. Scully said they would accept film submissions for three to four more weeks before announcing the festival lineup.

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