What’s a film that makes you want to get outside and explore? Not fantasy, but something real that draws you outside of yourself?
We’re willing to bet only so many will make a urbanite Montrealer want to dive into the cold climes beyond the city at this time of the year—but there’s one featuring as many as four of them, screened back to back.
Hosted by the design company specialized in high-performance apparel and equipment Arc'teryx, this edition of the Arc'teryx Winter Film Tour is the first to go global: After spending the last few months screening everywhere from Paris and Shanghai to Oslo, Tokyo, and New York, the event is touching down in Montreal on December 14th and will feature a selection from nine never-before-seen films by brand.
GOING ALL OUT
Centered on stories coming out of the brand’s No Wasted Days campaign—stories on the unexpected detours in the lives of people ranging from athletes to climbers and filmmakers—the event marks the brand’s largest film tour offering to date.
“We host events year-round through our stores and on a larger scale through our Academy programming,” Arc'teryx sais when asked about what drew them to launch the film tour.
“We’re proud to offer these experiences as a unique opportunity to learn, connect, come away with a stronger sense of community, and a renewed stoke [sic] for the mountains.”
Screened at Cinéma Impérial downtown, the Montreal event’s audience alone is numbering at 800 attendees, with food by Menu Extra and performances by pianist Quentin Noël Bourbeau.
I wanted this film to highlight the scale of the human adventure, beyond the kilometers traveled.
A STORY OUT OF AND INTO QUEBEC
Among the four films showing at the upcoming Montreal stop for the film tour, there’s one story that takes the audience out north of the city itself.
The recipient of Arc’teryx’s 2023 Nos aventures d'ici bursary, Uapishka is the Montreal-based director Marie France L'Ecuyer’s story of an intercultural expedition that took place last winter in the Uapishka mountains (aka the Groulx mountains) at Quebec’s geographic centre, in the heart of the vast boreal lands of Nitassinan of Pessamit.
“It’s about 14 adventurers, indigenous and non-indigenous, who attempted to cross this mountain range on snowshoes alone, in the spirit of nomadism,” explains L'Ecuyer.
According to the director, she wanted to move away from the more traditional codes of adventure films when making the documentary. Rather than immersing us in the story of the expedition, the film uses the adventure as a background to address larger themes of relations between natives and non-natives, reconciliation, relationships with oneself, with others and to territory, identity, and the cultural and territorial reappropriation of young Innu.
(Territory) transcends its physical and geographical dimension to reveal its more imaginary, spiritual and poetic side.
“I wanted this film to highlight the scale of the human adventure, beyond the kilometers traveled. The narrative framework was constructed through the testimonies of the expedition’s members, where they freely speak and create an intimate relationship with the viewer,” she explains.
“The territory is also a central character in the film, silent certainly, but a facilitator of this encounter. It transcends its physical and geographical dimension to reveal its more imaginary, spiritual and poetic side.”
It talks about citizen action, and an initiative to bring together natives and non-natives, driven by the desire to live better together.
SOMETHING THAT CAN MOVE US
For L’Ecuyer, the film is first and foremost an invitation for people to walk together.
“It talks about citizen action, and an initiative to bring together natives and non-natives, driven by the desire to live better together,” she explains. “I hope that this will inspire the audience to open up more, to meet others, to take more concrete actions on a daily basis, if only one step on the long path that is reconciliation.”
And has she found the project provoking unexpected reactions? Maybe ones that left an impression on her?
“Beyond the beauty of the territory and the aesthetics of the film’s direction, I think that, overall, the audience has been touched by the testimonies of the people who participated in this expedition. Their perspective is sensitive, authentic, moving and above all filled with hope and humanity regarding the future of relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people.”
While the event’s now sold out, all proceeds from the Arc'teryx Winter Film Tour’s ticket sales will be donated to community partners dedicated to addressing structural inequalities and promoting equitable access to the outdoors. Here in Montreal, proceeds are going to Hike MTL.