No Man’s Land Film Festival returns to Carbondale’s Crystal Theatre
Premier women and gender non-conforming adventure film festival returns to Carbondale
Carbondale is where it all started, Aisha Weinhold said. Since 2014, documentaries featuring female outdoor athletes taking on the world one natural obstacle at a time occupied the Crystal Theatre marquee.
For the past three years, however, No Man’s Land Film Festival, which has grown into an international event highlighting women and non-conforming athletes and creatives, was held at the Denver Art Museum.
But, come Sept. 16, No Man’s Land returns to the Crystal Theatre, with seven featured films slated for a 7:30 p.m. screening. The film program, presented by Mountain Hardwear, Black Diamond and Dometic, spans two hours.
“This is a long time coming,” said Weinhold, No Man’s Land founder and Carbondale native. “With COVID, we didn’t know when this was going to happen, and this is the best aligning of the planets to make it happen.”
No Man’s Land aims to facilitate a more inclusive space for adventure, sport and film, championing women and gender-non-conforming people, while actively investing in BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. The film lineup on Sept. 16 explores everything from scaling mountains to starting companies.
One film, “What It Takes: Hilary Gerardi & the 90K du Mont-Blanc,” highlights athlete Hilary Gerardi’s journey to completing a “gnarly 90k ultra through the technical mountains of Chamonix.”
Another film, “Sheri,” is a 30-minute feature on entrepreneur Sheri Tingey. The film follows Tingey, 60, defying the odds by starting a company at age 55 that has revolutionized the outdoor industry.
“One of the best parts about No Man’s Land is, the films are about people who aren’t usually represented in adventure films,” Weinhold, who also owns Ragged Mountain Sports in Carbondale, said.
To have different humans come in, meet each other, have conversations and bond over the films and stories told at No Man’s Land is “pretty special,” she added.
“We started as a women’s-only film festival, and, now, we are inclusive of gender non-conforming individuals,” she said. “I see that as progress in that different viewpoints with seemingly different missions can come together to fight for the same cause.”
When Weinhold originally started the festival, most of the films were created and produced by white men, and they predominantly featured white women. Since then, the film festival has grown to include trans and non-binary athletes, as well as women of color and those with different body types.
No Man’s Land executive director Kathy Karlo said they felt it was important to shift with the changing times, with an overall theme of inclusivity. More than 80 percent of the films now feature women of color.
“What a hard but powerful and really important role to play as we head into 2023 soon,” Karlo said. “The ratio of male to female athletes — it’s pretty huge, the difference.”
Karlo is an avid climber who met Weinhold in 2014 in Carbondale.
“We created something special that we thought will just really speak to a larger audience,” she said. “We want people to relate to the films.”
Now that the festival is coming back to Carbondale, Karlo said it’s going to feature “a lot of diversity” and be in the “same latitude and longitude” as Weinhold.
“It’s a lot of stories,” she said. “Athletes and women and people you otherwise might not have heard of sharing their perspective and where they come from and what they’re doing in the world today.”
What: No Man’s Land Film Festival
Where: Crystal Theatre, 427 Main St., Carbondale
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16
How much: $20