All-female adventure film festival premieres in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

All-female adventure film festival premieres in Carbondale

Jessica Cabe
jcabe@postindependent.com

The No Man's Land Film Festival debuts on Saturday, premiering 13 adventure films featuring women as the main subjects.

When Aisha Weinhold was a sophomore in high school, she saw a film at the 5Point Film Festival that changed her life in a way that she didn't even realize at the time.

"I was really moved by it, so I decided to try to be a professional athlete," she said. "It turns out that isn't actually what I wanted. I just wanted to bring people together through film."

The 5Point movie was about women and their relationship with the sea. Weinhold, a sailor herself, was struck by how much she related to and was inspired by the film. She also realized how troubling it was that more adventure films did not feature 3-dimensional female subjects.

These factors contributed to her creating No Man's Land Film Festival, an all-female adventure film festival that will premiere 13 films showcasing almost every adventure sport you can think of. The first No Man's Land will take place on Saturday at the Carbondale Community School.

While Weinhold's experience as a teenager at 5Point did play a pivotal role in her decision to found No Man's Land, what really pushed her to do something with her inspiration was seeing the world outside of Carbondale, where she grew up.

"In Carbondale, you're constantly surrounded by excellence," she said. "And as soon as I left Carbondale, I realized that really isn't the norm. It made me realize how gifted this community is."

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All these factors — her love of adventure sports, the glaring lack of women in adventure films and her appreciation for the Carbondale lifestyle — made Weinhold want to do something. A film festival seemed like the best way to accomplish her goals.

"It was a humanitarian idea," she said. "I really wanted to find a way to highlight girls in the world. I thought this was a really good way to get people together; I've noticed that film is a really good means to communicate an end."

So far, Weinhold has noticed a couple of different reactions when she tells people about No Man's Land. One is the assumption that men aren't allowed to attend or be involved, which is not true; No Man's Land is just about celebrating women, and anyone can and should do that, she said. Another is from men who say they want to come because they think the women in the films will be attractive. This reaction is one that she said reinforces the need for something like No Man's Land to exist.

"I think the festival is important because it just starts this conversation," Weinhold said. "It immediately addresses the way we form ideas about females in adventure films."

Weinhold has never organized a film festival before, and she said the process was "epic."

"I've never done anything like this, so it's been this constant up and down," she said. "But Carbondale is so supportive that it's not scary. It's a lot of fun."

At first, there was the fun part of picking the films to include. But the last year and a half has consisted of a variety of smaller, behind-the-scenes tasks, like applying for nonprofit status, securing a liquor license, buying event insurance, finding chairs, etc. It was one long learning process, but she's ready to do it again next year.

Weinhold plans to make No Man's Land an annual event with film premieres in Carbondale in the fall, and she hopes to be able to take the festival on the road in the summer and winter.

"I think it will be really cool to show that men and women are equally capable of pushing their limits and finding adventure," she said.

IF YOU GO…

What: No Man’s Land Film Festival: an all-female adventure film festival

When: Doors 5 p.m., show 6-9 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Carbondale Community School

How much: $15 for adults and $10 for kids younger than 18 in advance; $20 adults and $15 for kids at the door. Ticket includes two free beers from Roaring Fork Beer Company