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u'Design by Austin Jansen/AS Publicity Center'

Matt Crowley/The AS Review

If anyone told you they came to Western Washington University for the weather, they’d be lying. But for many of us, Western’s attraction is not just its excellent programs and resources, but the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that surround it, from Bellingham Bay to Mount Baker. Now, the Associated Students Outdoor Center and KVIK Television are giving Western and Whatcom students alike a chance to capture their outdoor adventures for the first B-HAMFF, a film festival centered on outdoor activities and recreation.

The festival, organized by primarily by Hillary Landers, the marketing resources coordinator for the OC, along with KVIK Coordinator Royce Andrews, will consist of outdoor-centric films with few guidelines: While the organizers recommend a film length of 20 minutes or less, films of any length will be considered. The guidelines state that all films “must feature or in some way be affiliated with outdoor recreation or activities,” be devoid of any nudity or violence and must be submitted in the .avi or .mpg video formats. Landers said the ambiguity of the guidelines means students can choose to tackle social and political issues in their films, as long as they are somehow affiliated with outdoor recreation.

Landers was inspired by the recent B-HAMFF competition that took place at the Mount Baker Theatre last fall.

“I was thinking it would be a great opportunity for the Western and Whatcom [Community College] communities to showcase their work and show creativity and innovativeness in outdoor sports or anything that has to do with the environment,” said Landers. “It’s something the Outdoor Center has never done before … I think the idea of integrating art with outdoor recreation is something that maybe would attract a different crowd of people.”

Landers added that the festival provides unique chances both for participants and for the OC.

“It’s a fun opportunity for other students to see their work, as well as an opportunity to give out prizes and get the word out about the Outdoor Center and what we’re about,” she said.

In order to be considered, contestants must submit their film, along with a submission pack (located on the OC website) and a backup DVD to the OC’s front desk by Friday, May 6 at 4:30 p.m. Prizes include $300 for first place, a free OC excursion for second place and a prize basket with assorted OC merchandise for third. Winners will be determined by an audience ballot at the festival after all films have been screened.

Andrews said the chance to work with other departments around the school presents unique opportunities for her and KVIK.

“I feel like in the past KVIK hasn’t done a lot of collaborations with other offices, but I worked in the [Sexual Awareness Center] last year so I’m really used to working with other offices,” she said. “So it’s been really awesome working with [AS Productions] and the OC, branching out to fresh audiences and getting more people involved.”

Andrews added that the idea for such a festival seemed obvious considering the level of activity that goes on in Bellingham anyway.

“I feel like students are already doing all this awesome stuff outside, like rock climbing and going kayaking,” said Andrews. “The whole Western community is very involved in the outdoors, so why not bring a camera along and get some footage?”

For more information regarding the festival, including a complete list of guidelines and details, visit the Outdoor Center website at outdoor.as.wwu.edu. For questions about the festival, contact Hillary Landers at (360) 650-3241, or for video and technology inquiries, call Royce Andrews at (360) 650-2343.