Inaugural Auburn Adventure Film Festival announces lineup | Update

Effort takes unique approach to combining film themes with adventure packages; tickets, film passes on sale now

  • Friday, January 4, 2019 12:29pm
  • News

The inaugural Auburn Adventure Film Festival – led by acclaimed film writer and director Warren Etheredge and hosted by the City of Auburn Tourism Division – debuts Jan. 18-20.

Screenings will be at the Auburn Avenue Theater, 10 Auburn Ave.

Opening night is 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, with the premiere of “Ski Adventure.”

“Life is an adventure, and adventure can take form in many different lenses, whether it is in the world of travel, sports, photography, culinary arts or nature,” said Lorraine Chachere, City of Auburn Tourism coordinator. “The topics that we are focusing on in this festival are meant to convey just that.”

Building on the city’s ongoing promotion of Auburn as a place to “Choose Your Own Adventure,” the festival offers a unique structure that allows the audience to fully engage in the topic of their choice. Unlike traditional festivals, the Auburn event centers around themes and pairs each grouping of films with hands-on adventures for the audience to participate in. Themes for this year’s festival include ski, surf, bike, mountain, culinary, ice, skate, family and child play adventures.

“We are creating something new with the Auburn Adventure Film Festival. More than a collection of exciting movies, the AAFF promises a unique experience for anyone who attends and opts to … experience the movies,” said Etheredge, who is the festival director.

Film packages will be complemented by a thematically-related adventure for the audience – everything from a game of grown-up tag with “professionals,” to ice skating in the heart of the city, sampling international street food, and exclusive tours of the mountaineering exhibit at the White River Valley Museum.

“Movies are adventures. Growing up in New York City, I had everything at my fingertips, yet true adventure could still feel a million miles away. Movies were my escape, my travel, my transport, my white-knuckled, daredevil excursions into unknown worlds and novel ideas,” Etheredge said. “I could sail on golden voyages with Sinbad, survive natural disasters in Sensurround and travel to Kubrick’s imagined edges of the universe in 70 mm. Later, I would climb the highest peaks in IMAX and immerse myself in fantastical locales, courtesy of cutting-edge VR. Most importantly, I could experience others’ lives, completely foreign to mine, and thus, revelatory. Movies allow me, allow us, to live multiple lifetimes within our own.

“We want folks to make memories in addition to seeing movies. No festival has ever undertaken such an adventure, yet this seems perfectly in the spirit of Auburn, a city where fun of all sorts is within walking distance and new experiences create richer lives,” Etheredge said.

Admission is $15 for the opening night film, or $75 for a festival film pass. Order at

For complete information, visit Auburn Adventure Film Festival.


Friday, Jan. 18

“Ski Adventure”

• 7 p.m. – Opening night gala

Once you’ve reached the top, it’s all downhill from there. For skiers, of course, this is great news, whether they’ve just gotten off a lift, left the starting gate or jumped from a helicopter. The thrill is in the descent – fast, frantic, potentially fatal, yet just plain fun. In this program of films, you’ll meet a man who literally skis around the world, a Frenchman who traverses unusual slopes, a trio of pros who overcome some steep fears and awful injuries, proving black diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Film ticket includes entry to an opening night reception at Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro, 18 Auburn Way S.

• 9 p.m. – Opening night reception at Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro

The best part of skiing is the nightly retreat to the lodge. Celebrate the launch of the film festival with food and drink.

Saturday, Jan. 19

“Family Adventure”

• 10 a.m. – Film screenings

In the spirit of old-school board games, the producers promise a program fit for ages 8 to 88. This collection of shorts — live-action, animation and documentaries — is fun for the whole family, even if sometimes at the grown-ups’ expense. You’ll see stories of aspiring astronauts, perspiring snowballers, inspiring nomads and retiring homebodies, plus a girl who dives deep and kids who commune with nature, an insatiable chameleon, lemurs in love and one exotic animal that will simply stun you. Further proof that the very best entertainment is … child’s play.

• 11:30 a.m. — Children’s Ice Cream Adventure with Sub Zero at Rainbow Café

Watching movies is easy, learning is child’s play. The smart, fun folks from Sub Zero have treats in store for everyone at the Rainbow Café, 112 E. Main St. They’ve concocted a science experience that will tickle taste buds and brains. Kids will learn about liquid nitrogen, test their own hypotheses and make their own ice cream. Cost: $15 includes a Child Scientist spot and one accompanying adult. Limited space, only 20 Child Scientist spots available. Geared toward children 5 years and older.

“Surf Adventure”

• 1 p.m. – Film screenings

For those who love the surf, joy comes in waves. Watching these films, it becomes clear why. Life’s a beach for these women and men: a genre-defying photographer who sees waters in a new light, an artist who paints what he sees every day, another who captures her therapeutic visions on canvas, New Yorkers who catch winter waves and a celebrated clique of pros who risk their limbs, lives and livelihoods in pursuit of the perfect break.

• 4-6 p.m. – Pool party at Auburn Pool

After watching all those movies about the surf, you’re probably ready to take the plunge at the Auburn Pool, 516 Fourth St NE. Serving food and drink. Cost: $8 per adult 18 years; $5 for 17 years and over.

“Bike Adventure”

• 4 p.m. – Film screenings

Many compare all things simple to riding a bicycle, and while it’s true, the basics of riding a bike may be easy to remember, but the adventures we enjoy on two wheels are often unforgettable. In this program, we’ll meet a Nepalese kid who built his own cycle to become one of the world’s fastest, an octogenarian who’ll never dismount, an animated father who teaches his daughter how to ride, a father and son who bond during a two-wheeled road trip, two buddies who might wish they’d never biked together and a squadron of pros enduring a trans-Peru ultra-marathon.

• 1-3 p.m. – Interurban Bike Adventure

Get yourself to the Auburn Ave Theater by plane, train or automobile, but once there, get ready to ride. You’ll mount a mountain bike and breeze on over to the Interurban Trail led by a capable team for a great glimpse of the city. Get prepared for an easy, flat ride before a lineup of screen cyclists who make tougher trails and unbeaten paths look like just as much fun. Cost: $10 per person. Space is limited to 25 participants and dependent on bike availability.

“Mountain Adventure

• 7 p.m. – Film screenings

Because they’re there, we climb them. Mountains have a certain pull, an attraction that’s almost irresistible. We’ll see a mother and daughter venture out on an epic trek, two pros face their worst fears while climbing, high-liners conquer theirs and another animated explorer who longs to set the hills alive with music or, at least, his own special song.

• 9-10:30 p.m. – Night at the Museum

Museums are experiential playgrounds — the perfect places to let your mind explore the unknown, to experience the unfamiliar. Following a lineup of breath-taking mountain movies you’ll be introduced to the spectacular (and rarely-exhibited) photography of George L. Kinkade. Join us for this exclusive after-hours tour and a hosted reception at the White River Valley Museum, 918 H St. SE, provided by the exhibit curator and museum’s director. Sponsored by Tin Cup Whiskey.

Sunday, Jan. 20

“Culinary Adventure”

• 10 a.m.— Film screenings

If you live to eat – rather than eat to live – this is the cinematic smorgasbord for you. Food is a daily adventure, especially for those with daring palates, open minds and some air miles. Travel around the world for a taste of different cultures courtesy of some of the most committed and most decorated chefs, from the Syrian refugee who runs “The Nicest Place In America” to the Austrian exec who raises truly slow food, to the maverick pasta savant who educates diners one hand-made dish at a time.

• Noon-1:30 p.m. – Lunch at Gor Gai Thai.

Authentic Thai street food and delicacies, at 614 E. Main St. Cost: $20 per person includes lunch, one nonalcoholic beverage, tax and gratuity. Space is limited to 30.

“Child’s Play Adventure”

• 1 p.m. – Tag You’re It!

The secret to staying young is playing young: Just because you’ve grown up, doesn’t mean you ought to give up the games that always brought you joy. Get ready to regress to the days of recess and running around: Tag, you’re it! Revisit Hollywood’s hottest comedy of 2018, “Tag,” with an Auburn connection that inspired its making.

“Ice Adventure”

• 4 p.m. – Film screenings

Some folks like their adventures straight up, others on the rocks. We believe some of the coolest experiences are served on ice — whether speed skating, figure skating, hockey or curling. In this exclusive program, you’ll meet three characters who defied expectations and overcame some very long odds. An award-winning short and underseen documentary will be followed by a secret screening of a story that was 240 years in the making. The story tracks a hero who overcomes incredible obstacles to reach the pinnacle of his profession. At a time when the world needs heroes, you will love meeting this one.

Note: This is a first-time audience viewing of this film. After the screening, the filmmakers will be on hand for a unique Q&A during which your participation might very well shape its future form. Because of the exclusive nature of this screening, audience members will be asked to sign oaths of secrecy. Recording devices will be prohibited in the theater.

Ice activity: All ticket-holders of the “Ice Adventure” receive a complimentary pass to skate in Auburn’s ice rink in downtown Auburn to enjoy a classic wintertime activity. Ticket must be used before Jan. 31.

“Skate Adventure”

• 7 p.m. — Film screenings and closing night gala

More than 11 million people still enjoy roller-skating, so where’s the love? Better yet, where are the rinks? Well, Auburn Sk8 still gives folks a chance to skate six days a week. After a special screening of an award-winning doc about the pleasures and impact of roller-dancing and a few shorts chronicling the joys of skateboarding in Paris and St. Louis to get things rolling, prepare to skate the night away with some celebrity guests and other surprises.

• 9 p.m. – Super Skate Derby Closing Party at Auburn SK8

Skate, dance, schmooze the night away at Auburn SK8. Take it easy or test yourself alongside the all-pro Dockyard Derby Dames, who will also provide a demo of their bloodsport … just for fun. Eats and treats served. Cost: $9 per person.

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