Written by Kelsey Sanchez.

Since 1979, the Mountainfilm Festival has advocated for global awareness and environmental conservation while showcasing personal triumphs and contemporary issues. Expanding from an annual festival in Telluride, Colorado, Mountainfilm has become a global phenomenon touching over 70,000 people in 150 locations.

In 2009, Savannah local Zelda Tenenbaum brought the festival here. In the past nine years, Mountainfilm has screened films to several thousand people in Savannah. The Mountainfilm students are the focus of the festival’s board of directors. For two days, Chatham County middle and high school students view five to 10 documentaries. After the screenings, the students participate in Q & A sessions with directors and personalities of the films. Their teachers are provided with educational materials related to the films as they leave.

The festival not only entertains students but inspires them to take action. One group of students raised money to purchase bicycles for children in the remote villages of India and Africa. Others have started recycling programs in their schools. The festival fosters an ecological and cultural mindfulness to empower young people to start shaping their futures.

Starting this Thursday, take time to support your community and watch great films. Here is the schedule of events:

January 18, 7 p.m.: “Take Every Wave,” a feature length film directed by Rory Kennedy, is about surfing legend Laird Hamilton. Located at Trustees Theatre. Tickets are $15.

January 19, 7 p.m.: Shorts and Documentaries, a collection of films that include a young refugee’s journey, a mourner looking for peace in the Rocky Mountains and a conservationist who’s collected more than 880,000 seeds. Located at Trustees Theatre.
Tickets are $15.

January 20, 10 a.m.: Coffee Talka discussion with filmmakers and conservationists with coffee provided by Historic Savannah Foundation’s 13th Colony. Located at the Kennedy Pharmacy. Admission is free.

January 20, 11:30 a.m.: Bike Ride/Walk. Admission is free.

 January 20, 2 p.m.: Mountainfilm Matinee, a collection of animated shorts that include a physics-defying cyclist, avocados looking for love and a shout out to “The Big Lebowski” with a little longboarding. Located at Trustees Theatre. Tickets are $5.

January 20, 7 p.m.: Mountainfilm Saturday Night, a collection of films that feature rodeos, the artistic side of Flint, Michigan and an Australian hemiplegic that keeps rock climbing after a head injury. Located at Trustees Theatre. Tickets are $15.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit mountainfilmsav.org.