Local packraft manufacturer Alpacka Raft is partnering with Mancos FoodShare, Mancos Pay It Forward, and Mancos Valley Resources to bring the inaugural Mancos Valley River Film Festival to town on Saturday, July 15. All proceeds from this festival are earmarked for the two Mancos Valley Resources projects that are supporting Western Excelsior employees who lost their jobs when the plant burned on May 8. The plant employed more than 100 people.
“As one of the biggest employers in Mancos, this is a huge loss to the community,” said Alpacka Raft CEO Thor Tingey. “It’s not just the 100+ people; it’s also their families. We feel strongly about giving back to the local community. We were already considering organizing a yearly river and film festival to benefit local nonprofits in Montezuma County, so we just put our team in high gear to get the event up and running this summer.”
The Mancos Valley River Film Festival will show a mix of films including everything from whitewater paddling and fly fishing to kayaking and river conservation.
The festival will present the American debut of the short film “Waiau-Toa Odyssey,” Tingey said. The film, directed by Simon Waterhouse and featuring mountain biker and packrafters Damian Stones and Dean Parker, won the award for Best Locally Made Film at the 2017 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival. Additional films have been submitted by local Durango filmmaker Nathan Shoutis and Colorado-based nonprofits American Rivers, a national organization with a base in Durango, and Rig To Flip, of Steamboat Springs.
“At this time of great need in our community, we are delighted that Alpacka is stepping up and putting together this fundraiser for the families that were impacted by the Western Excelsior Fire,” stated Mancos Valley Resources President Tami Graham.