First annual student-uploaded film festival packs Procrastinator

If you weren’t at the first annual Ursa Outdoor Film Festival last Wednesday night, you were missing out. Put on by Ursa Outdoor and Launch Cats, the student-uploaded film festival featured footage of everything from skiing and snowboarding, to fishing, to mountain biking, to motorsports. Live music and a local tradeshow added to the event, filling the Procrastinator Theater to the limits.

Ursa Outdoor is a Montana company that combines education, leadership and getting outside in the great outdoors. The company says it stands “behind quality organizations, quality products and quality of life.” LaunchCats is a club that started this year with the intent to work with different groups on campus relating through cool events that facilitate that interaction. They are business and entrepreneurship based, but aim to get everyone involved and mix people together.

“A new idea might not come from sitting in an accounting class, it’ll come from communication with different groups and being around different people,” said Sarah Bolt, a junior studying finance and accounting and member of LaunchCats.

“We try to provide as much value as we can in a more dynamic way as well as trying to involve local companies,” said Craig Hildreth, a junior studying business management and entrepreneurship and brand manager for LaunchCats.

Together, these organizations had the idea to put on a film festival, since Bozeman is a town full of outdoor enthusiasts.

“We wanted to do something more involving for everybody,” Hildreth said. “I hope it will be very rewarding. If there is a good turnout and good energy, all of this will be worth it.”

The festival submissions were all from students, showcasing any kind of outdoor recreation or adventure. They just had to be under four minutes in length. They received 38 submissions and narrowed it down to the top ten to show at the festival, and then four winners were chosen. Phil Baribeau, the director of the documentary “Unbranded,” chose the best overall video and the crowd voted via text to determine the other three. The winners received a great-looking photograph on a pallet shaped like Montana made by the local company Montana Pallet Art and Design, owned and operated by Caleb Benson in Billings, Montana.

Live music by Yurt got everyone pumped before the films, Incognito Astronaut (DJ’s Nick Jensen and Dylan Surbur) kept the energy high throughout the evening, and Simple Being performed after the films to close out the night.

Given this was the first time this event has ever been put on, it turned out successfully. There was a good turnout and high energy, so the event will likely continue to grow every year, with hopes to eventually hold it in the Emerson Center where a lot of other outdoor film festivals take place throughout the year.

“It was awesome to see the impressive level of skill from such young people, especially people I know,” said Madison Hebner, a freshman studying construction engineering. “Bozeman is a rad community and that was definitely shown tonight.”

“I’m an avid outdoorsman so I had to check this out, and I’m new to town so it’s cool to meet new people too,” said Lucas Mace, a marketing student. “This is sick!”

Be on the lookout for information about the second annual Ursa Outdoor Film Festival, which will be happening next spring. Now go outside and do something awesome, because it is never too early to start working on your submission videos.