He didn’t win any awards, but Dave Mai did climb to new heights at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival last week.
The Penticton filmmaker debuted his 13-minute documentary Ephemera, about the elusive sport of Okanagan ice climbing, at the film festival.
“It went good, I think. It’s hard to say, you’re always a little nervous. A lot of people came up to me afterwards and said they really liked it,” he said. “I can’t expect my first film to win best mountain film. That’s something I have to work towards.”
Dozens of films were shown during the festival held Feb. 9 to 17. Mai received a $5,000 grant from the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and outdoor clothing company Arc’teryx to complete the documentary in fall 2017. He started shooting the footage prior to receiving the grant last winter, starting filming his second time out ice climbing.
The film includes work from other Penticton creatives including poet Shane Koyczan and music composer Sam Welsh.
Footage in the film is of climbs all over the Okanagan — Christie Falls in Kelowna, Bear Lake in West Kelowna, sites in the North Okanagan and Naramata Creek Falls.
Mai had the opportunity to introduce his film prior to its first public showing Feb. 15 at the Rio Theatre.
“It was nice presenting to that crowd. I guess they’re kind of in my tribe. We have similar interests,” he said.
He met many other filmmakers and climbers during his short stay.
“We went for three days and we had to get back,” he said with a laugh. “Actually I was getting back to go out and film some more ice climbing but then it snowed. We’re going to try next week.”
Mai didn’t want to elaborate on the location of the ice they were trying to get to other than: “It’s been on the radar for the last decade or so, this ice formation that forms sometimes out north a bit.”
Ephemera will have its Penticton debut on Feb. 25 at HooDoo Adventures. The viewing is a fundraiser for the Youth Outdoor Recreation Society and Skaha Bluffs Park Watch.
Admission is by donation (suggested $5 or more) and includes another rock climbing video called The Fields from Kelowna filmmaker Clayton Arnall. There will also be a historical presentation from Howie Richardson and Graham Prunnet.
“We want to bring attention to outdoor recreation, mostly climbing, but what other local groups are doing,” said Mai.
The event starts at 5 p.m. and runs to 7 p.m.
Ephemera will also be part of another film festival in Kimberley, B.C. on March 23 and 24.