Alaska, Arts, Education, Events, Outdoors



The third annual Balto Film Fest kicks off tonight with an evening of adventure, focusing on the real life drama of the Alaskan outdoors.

Learn to get the most out of your Go Pro. University of Alaska professor DB Palmer teaches the first and only adventure film making degree program in the State.  Palmer will be at the Seward Library/Museum at 6:00 p.m. with a free filmmaking workshop that is open-to-the-public.  Palmer owns Adventure Film School Alaska and co-leads University of Alaska’s week-long intensive Adventure Film Research course (FLM 298).

Join a team or go it alone, either way, take the 24 hour filmmaking challenge.  At 7:00 p.m., the clock starts ticking for the Togo 24 Hour Sprint when the prompt is released.  Teams will have a day to create a film using the prompt, then submit it for competition.  Completed films will be screened for Audience Choice competition in Seward at the UAF K.M. Rae Bldg. at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday July 27th. Films will be screened by a Blue Ribbon panel for Judge’s Choice prior to the 27th.

11Watch the Adventure of a Lifetime
UAF K.M. Rae Building takes over from the Library at 8:00 p.m. with a free night at the movies.  Trailers from Alaskan made films that will be shown over the weekend will be screened prior to the main event – the multi-award winning dramatic documentary Mt. St. Elias will be screened at 8:15 p.m.  Hold your breath and watch it’s heart stopping trailer here.

Red Bull is sponsoring the opening night of the Balto Film Fest with this screening of a dramatic and awe-inspiring feature documentary following three of the world’s greatest ski mountaineers to the Mount St. Elias in their attempt to realize the longest ski descent of the world.

Set against the backdrop of Alaska’s dangerous beauty, Mount St. Elias is about a visionary borderline experience where unparalleled physical and mental pressure pushes them to the absolute limit. They find themselves in puristic situations, in which heroism cannot easily be distinguished from folly. Situations which can only be mastered if reason is supposedly abandoned and in which courage as well as trust in their own abilities and last but not least luck are used as guidelines.

Two Austrian ski mountaineers Axel Naglich and Peter Ressmann as well as the American freeski mountaineer Jon Jonhston are facing this breathtaking challenge! A team with individual abilities, but also a team of leaders, knowing they literally cannot survive without teamwork and cooperation. Especially Axel Naglich, he unconsciously takes the role of the protagonist due to his charismatic and authentic personality and, within the permanent struggle not against nature but against himself, polarizes as a strong character.

A movie about men who accept mountains as a challenge. A process whose vision becomes a real adventure. Men who, formed by their origins, want to experience their passion as intensively as possible and above all want to survive.

The film has been the darling of the International Film Fest circuit, picking up awards and accolades every time it is screened.

Torento Film Festival (ITA)
“Three hardcore extreme skiers throw themselves from Alaska’s Mount St. Elias (5489 m). The film includes breathtaking shots of skiing on avalanches, sheer slopes, and death-defying leaps.
The director’s perfect technique places us at the centre of the action and affords moments of pure magic.”

Byron Bay International Film Festival (AUS)
“Everyone loved your film – a real stand-out of the festival.”

Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (NEP)
“A visually stunning film. Dramatic and a departure point from the typical mountain climbing films we generally see.”


Michael S. Marolt, Legendary Ski Alpinist (USA)
“Freaking GREAT film!!! I don’t understand a lick of German and I was glued for the entire film!! Can’t wait to get the English version. Having been on that route, I found the film and the accomplishment to be one of the greatest mountaineering feats of all time. It is so freaking cold, big, fucking harry, I was blown away watching!! You guys really did a great job on that Axel. Great accomplishment. And congrats on winning at Taos and Graz!! No other film was even close.”

Byron Bay International Film Festival (AUS)
“Your film is standing out as a favorite with all of our screening team. Thanks so much for sending us in your nail-biting film.”

Chris Romano, Stowe Mountain Film Festival (USA)
“This movie really puts into perspective the incredible situations that mountaineers have to endure. An absolutely gripping documentary.”

Matt Heason, Programmer for the Kendal Mountain Film Festival (UK
“I watched the film Mount St. Elias – the Longest Ski Descent. I thought it was excellent! Very well made, and with a nail-biting scene in the snow hole during the storm!”

Jury’s Comment, Whistler Film Festival (CAN)
“Brilliantly photographed, this production excels in all aspects of filmmaking craft, capturing the risks, conflicts and consequences of high altitude mountaineering. It set a new precedent for Mountain Culture filmmaking.”

Joseph Vilsmaier, Director of, among others, Nanga Parbat, Schlafes Bruder (Brother of Sleep), Comedian Harmonists (GER)
“A documentary for cinema can’t be better than this!”

Laudatio, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (USA)
”Just recently Mount St. Elias was awarded “Best Documentary” at the 24th Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), which puts it on a level with legendary surf documentary “Riding Giants” by Stacy Peralta. Meanwhile Mount St. Elias has also received rave reviews in Austria.”

Michael Liss, Director of Development & Film Programmer Vail Film Festival
“Congratulations – we’re very happy to accept Mount St. Elias into the Vail Film Festival, in the Adventure Film category. In addition the stunning cinematography and both soaring and at times bone-chilling imagery, I really enjoyed how the film made such a compelling narrative out of these people’s quest, and truly delivered their individual characters in a very developed way, with a good eye towards their relationships. It also made great use of the failed American attempt to do the same, as background and context. Plus, so many parts of it were just plain cool! The film really drew you in across the entire running time, and was beautiful to watch. I look forward to it connecting with the Vail Film Festival audience.”

Jury’s Comment, Internationales Berg & Abenteuer Filmfestival Graz (AUT)
“This movie by Gerald Salmina is a worthy successor to Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. It’s about humans in the struggle against themselves.”

Robert Schauer, Director of Internationales Berg & Abenteuer Filmfestival Graz (AUT); first Austrian on Mt. Everest
“I’ve never before witnessed such standing ovations at Stefaniesaal in Graz, not even after performances by Anna Netrebko or Nikolas Harnoncourt.” (1,000 people rewarded director Gerald Salmina and his film Mt. Saint Elias with 15 minutes of standing ovations.)

Walter Köhler, ORF’s Editor of Universum (AUT)
”Gerald Salmina managed to free the movie from the genre’s stereotypes and took it to the next level.”