IF YOU GO
What: Lookout Wild Film Festival.
When and where: 7-10 p.m. Friday, March 22; 3-6:30 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. Saturday, March 23; 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 24.
Where: Various locations, see schedule.
Admission: $5 per day, $10 for a weekend pass. Outdoor screening during Chattanooga Challenge festival (9-11 p.m. Saturday at Ross's Landing) is free.
Friday, March 22
7-10 p.m. Opening ceremony at Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St.
Saturday, March 23
3-6:30 p.m. Film screening at Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St.
9-11 p.m. Outdoor screening at Ross's Landing, 100 Riverfront Parkway (free admission).
Sunday, March 24
1-4 p.m. Awards ceremony and Winner's Block at Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St.
4:05 p.m. Reception at The Crash Pad, 29 Johnson St.
Friday, March 22
7-10 p.m. at Chattanooga Choo Choo
"Cascada" (8 minutes)
"A Leg To Fly On" (5 minutes)
"Peruvian Ice Maiden" (6 minutes)
"The Way Home" (10 minutes)
"Kudzu Vine" (20 minutes)
"The Eighty-Six" (41 minutes)
"Waters of the Greenstone" (61 minutes)
Saturday, March 23
3-6:30 p.m. at Chattanooga Choo Choo
"The Nomad" (7 minutes)
"Eagle's Sky" (7 minutes)
"Still Here" (22 minutes)
"The Mystery of George Masa" (61 minutes)
"Wampler's Ascent" (77 minutes)
9-11 p.m. at Ross's Landing
"What the Tree Remembers, the Axe Forgets" (9 minutes)
"The Shapeshifter" (7 minutes)
"Why We Climb" (12 minutes)
"Sand Rider" (5 minutes)
"Julio Solis: Move Shake" (11 minutes)
"The Majestic Plastic Bag" (4 minutes)
"The Earth From Below" (4 minutes)
"The Cache Quest" (8 minutes)
"Caving for Cure" (9 minutes)
"The Pacific Oceanscape" (8 minutes)
"The Warrior" (9 minutes)
"Clinch Knot" (5 minutes)
"23 Feet" (29 minutes)
From bouldering in Little Rock City to fishing on Nickajack Lake to hang-gliding off Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga has drawn outdoor enthusiasts for years.
This weekend marks the debut of the Lookout Wild Film Festival, which hopes to capitalize on local zest for nature and adventure by screening 25 films chosen for their captivating, educational and inspirational qualities.
"We wanted the films ... to have more than eye candy of guys going off giant waterfalls and climbing awesome rock faces," says event organizer Andy Johns. "We have some films with weight that will do that."
Johns began mulling over the idea of establishing a film festival after the birth of his son in February 2012. Watching an action-filled blockbuster while walking around his home with an infant at all hours of the night didn't seem appropriate. Instead, he opted for documentaries and was impressed by what was available on services such as Netflix and Vimeo.
Johns says he saw a festival as an opportunity to connect Chattanoogans with films that spoke to their naturally adventurous tendencies.
More than 70 films representing 18 countries were sent to the selection committee. Many are shorts with runtimes of less than 15 minutes, but a few feature films will be shown that run for more than an hour.
All things being equal, Johns says, the committee members chose films with some connection to Chattanooga or the Southeast.
Some of the local connections are more distant than others, as in "Waters of the Greenstone," which chronicles a four-month fly-fishing expedition by Chattanoogans Taylor Kirkpatrick and Hardwick Caldwell in New Zealand.
Others have closer ties to the Scenic City, such as "A Leg To Fly On," Chattanooga filmmaker Lucas Riley's five-minute, inspirational short about a one-legged hang-gliding enthusiast taking wing in the area.
The films will be screened Saturday at the Chattanooga Choo Choo and to close out the Chattanooga Challenge festival at Ross's Landing (see story on Page 17). Eight category winners and an audience favorite will be announced Sunday, also at the Choo Choo.
Johns says he is hopeful that the event will draw large enough crowds to spark lively discussions about issues ranging from conservation to high-level climbing techniques.
"I'd love to see a good turnout with enough folks to react to the film," he says. "No matter how many people we have, success will be the people there enjoying it and engaging in the film experience."
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@times freepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.