For nearly a decade, the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley had brought the Wild and Scenic Film Festival to Boise. The festival showcased the natural world through environmental and adventure films, and each year, the event sold out.
But every year, the LTTV—a nonprofit dedicated to conserving open spaces in southwestern Idaho—had to write a big check to the touring festival to get it to land in Boise.
This year, the little nonprofit decided to create its own event and call it the Les Bois Film Festival, which takes over the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, March 5.
"Changing something that's worked for 10 years is a tough sell," said Whitney Byrd, outreach coordinator for LTTV.
"We didn't want to duplicate the Banff Film Festival," added LTTV Executive Director Tim Breuer. "It's not a bunch of huck-yourself-off-a-cliff films, nor is it purely activism. It's in the middle."
Curating the films turned into a bigger job than the staff of four anticipated. With the help of Matt Podolsky, of Wild Lens, Byrd sorted through the 600+ submissions.
"The outcome was—other than exhaustion—some really unique stuff," Byrd said.
Byrd narrowed the program to 15 films spanning from 1 minute to 26 minutes in length. They include a handful of local films such as Life on the Range: Tom Page and the Sage Grouse, produced by Idaho author Steve Steubner; View from a Pedal Buggy, made by local filmmaker Zach Voss and screened in the Telluride Film Fest; Salween Spring, made by former Cascade Raft and Kayak instructor Will Stauffer-Norris and screened at Banff; and Into Africa: The Idaho Gorongosa Connection, put together by Idaho Public Television's Outdoor Idaho.
International films include an animated short from a college student in Singapore called The Pale Blue Dot; another short film about Australia's iconic landscapes called Nature Needs You; and The Art of Flying, a film from the Netherlands exploring how thousands of birds can fly in dense swarms without colliding.
Breuer said the new festival is "not just about mingling with friends, buying a beer and sitting in the dark, then taking a break, getting another beer and sitting down again."
Along with the films, the festival includes beer from Woodland Empire and live music from local roots band Idyltime, as well as a silent auction featuring work from local artists and special guests such as Monte Tish of Tish Raptor Rehabilitation and Slim, his golden eagle.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the films get start at 7 p.m. Tickets $15 for the general public, $5 for students and is free for children under 13.