A still frame from Frontier of Firsts, one of the dozen films that will be shown at the Kenai River Paddling Film Festival on May 18, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo provided by Steve Cothran)

A still frame from Frontier of Firsts, one of the dozen films that will be shown at the Kenai River Paddling Film Festival on May 18, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo provided by Steve Cothran)

Paddling film festival makes return to Soldotna

The Kenai paddling fest is featuring films from the Paddling Film Festival World Tour

After a successful debut in 2018, the Kenai River Paddling Film Festival is returning next weekend in a big way.

Slated for a Saturday night at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, the festival will showcase top films from some of the most talented filmmakers in the world of adventure paddling. Saturday’s showing will feature 12 of the year’s best paddling films, including locally made films and nine award winners from the Paddling Film Festival World Tour.

Event organizers Steve Cothran and Chris Walker helped bring the festival back to Soldotna after a successful first year, and Cothran said he expects an even better round of adventure films.

“There’s a wide variety of films about paddling,” Cothran said. “Some celebrate the high levels of adventure, others the resiliency of the human spirit. There are family-oriented films. There’s a whole range of movies that I think will interest everyone.

“I’m excited to see the whole (range of) films myself.”

Walker said after a great turnout last year, the decision to host the film festival again wasn’t hard to make.

“It’s a great way to bring people together at the beginning of the season and get excited for summer,” Walker said.

Cothran said the Kenai paddling fest is featuring films from the Paddling Film Festival World Tour — a change from 2018 when he and Walker brought in films from a different film tour, the National Paddling Film Festival.

“We felt the quality of films would be a little bit better,” he said.

Since 2006, the World Tour fest has showcased the love and passion for the world of paddling, whether it be the gnashing white-water rapids or relaxed, sauntering rivers around the globe. The list includes films shot in Alaska, Greenland, Nepal and South Africa.

The 2019 World Tour fest includes more than 100 stops across North America, Europe and Australia, as well as the first one ever held in Japan. The only other stop in Alaska was in Fairbanks on Friday.

“It’s one of the largest paddling events in the world in terms of number of people,” Cothran said.

There will also be a gear swap to benefit the Kenai Watershed Forum. The gear swap is a chance not only for paddlers, but also bikers, skiers and campers alike to drop off unused outdoor equipment or to pick out new stuff. Gear can be dropped off from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Sports Complex, with the swap taking place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Food will also be provided by Yo Tacos.

Cothran estimated about 80 people showed up for last year’s inaugural showing, when his love for white-water paddling combined with Walker’s ambition to bring the world tour to Soldotna, and hopes that this weekend’s event will pull in 100 or more.

Cothran said all proceeds will go towards river conservation and to support paddling on the peninsula, noting that some of that support will go to the American Canoe Association, which is looking to start a club chapter on the peninsula.

The Kenai River Paddling Film Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance at Peninsula Power Sports, and $15 on the day of the show, and admission includes a free digital subscription to Paddling Magazine.

More in News

In this March 19, 2020, file photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, talks with reporters following a Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murkowski acknowledged Thursday, June 4, that she’s “struggling” over whether she can support President Donald Trump given his handling of the virus and race crises shaking the United States. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Mattis emboldens GOPers to criticize Trump

Murkowski on Thursday called the rebuke by Trump’s first Pentagon chief “necessary and overdue.”

A pair of tents sits at the Infinity Pools above the Tutka Backdoor Trail in Kachemak Bay State Park on July 9, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
State officials urge Alaskans to get outside

During a virtual town hall, commissioners fielded questions from the public on state recreation.

COVID-19. (CDC)
Nonresident COVID-19 cases nearly double; 8 residents test positive

Seventeen of the 18 new nonresident cases are workers in the seafood industry.

Photo provided by Ocean Bluff B&B
                                Tammy Kehrer of Palmer sits on the deck overlooking Cook Inlet at Ocean Bluff B&B in Kasilof. Kehrer is the daughter of owner Kathy Carlisle.
B&B bookings take hit due to virus

Owners have been getting feelers from in-state visitors, but so far reservations have been rare.

A king salmon during the 67th annual Golden North Salmon Derby at the Don D. Statter Memorial Boat Harbor in August 2013. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Low king counts result in closures on southern Kenai Peninsula

As of Sunday, video weirs and sonar had counted 184 king salmon at the Anchor River.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a Friday, March 27, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
Revised travel mandates to begin Friday

Those arriving from outside the state must self-quarantine, but revisions allow for exceptions.

Nikiski Fire Station #2, seen here on July 15, 2019 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
3 in Nikiski fire service test positive for virus

11 members of the department have been quarantined due to the possibility of COVID-19 exposure.

The Devil’s Creek Trail in Chugach National Forest, seen June 15, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
During pandemic, Chugach National Forest mostly stays the same

One of the differences will be in how much volunteer help the forest gets.

In front and from left to right, Aaron Ford, Karianna Ford and Jenni Stowe hold signs at a protest on Sunday, May 30, 2020, at WKFL Park in Homer, Alaska, in support of people of color who have been the subject of police violence, including George Floyd, a man who died May 25, 2020, in a police encounter in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to the “We (heart) our po po” sign — “po po” is slang for “police” — there also was a sign that read “Thank you HPD.” (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Homer residents organize multiple demonstrations on racial injustice

Gatherings, protests and demonstrations have been held in Alaska from Anchorage to Haines to Bethel.

Most Read