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Radical reels: Annual film tour presentation to benefit BEAR program

The “Radical Reels” tour is a production of the 38th Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival which highlights video and film footage from their annual competition.

For adrenaline junkies, the next best thing to engaging in thrill sports is watching them on the big screen. At least, that’s the theory behind the “Radical Reels” tour, a production of the 38th Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival highlighting video and film footage from their annual competition.

The traveling showcase of spectacular footage comes to the Hamilton Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. The show is a benefit for the outdoor-based youth mentoring programs of Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources (B.E.A.R.), a non-profit that helps local youth connect to their own potential via outdoor programming.

“We’re really excited to provide a community event that fits our mission, and is family-friendly, to fund our programs,” said Diane Olsen, Executive Director of B.E.A.R. The one-on-one mentoring the organization currently provides to 70 kids is free, thanks to this and other fundraisers. B.E.A.R. may also provide appropriate clothing for kids who need it, and other accessories. They host another 50 kids in summer camps, and reach out to 200 or more via group outreach.

The wildly popular “Radical Reels” presentation includes 11 clips, mostly excerpted from longer films, with a focus on dynamic, high-adrenaline sports such as skiing, climbing, kayaking, BASE jumping, snowboarding and mountain biking, and new sports such as snow-kiting and speed-riding. The montage of films is backed by a high-energy sound track, that multiplies the emotional kick of the images.

Olsen promised that she can direct those who want to protect their hearing to seats where it won’t be too loud.

The presentation will run just under three hours, according to Olsen, including an intermission during which door prizes will be drawn. Attendees will be eligible to win backpacks, ski passes, and gift certificates from outdoors-oriented businesses in the drawings. The grand door prize will be a cruiser bike, donated by Red Barn Bikes.

The showcase is aimed primarily at a young audience, but the content of the films is determined by the filmmakers, and includes brief coarse language, and intense situations.

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That said, it’s been a hugely popular event, according to Diane Olsen, Executive Director of B.E.A.R. It has grown every year they’ve presented it, with about 450 in attendance last year. This year, she’s hoping the great word-of-mouth from past years will help to fill every seat.

As part of the fundraising aspect, B.E.A.R. is holding a pre-event “Pint Night” fundraiser with live music at Higherground Brewing in Hamilton, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 4-8 p.m. They’ll be screening some teasers from the film tour, hosting a silent auction, and even giving away gear, just to build up excitement.

The Pint Night events will also include drawing a raffle winner, with a package including a raft trip, a stay at the Downing Mountain Lodge, ski passes, and more, at stake. Only 100 tickets will be sold at $10 each, available at the B.E.A.R. office, 310 N. Fourth St., in Hamilton, or possibly available at the event if any remain. Call Wolfe at 363-5410, ext. 115, to reserve tickets as well.

Tickets for the Radical Reels are $10 in advance, available at Bob Ward & Sons and Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, and Rockin’ Rudy’s in Missoula. Tickets at the door will be $15, with kids 10 and under just $5.

This is the only scheduled showing of the Radical Reels Tour in western Montana this season. A different selection of films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival will play in Helena on April 30, visit www.thebasecamp.com for details.

For more information, contact Olsen at 363-5410, ext. 115, visit their website at www.bearoutdooradventures.com, or visit their Facebook “Radical Reels” event page.

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