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The Beta Film Festival debuted in front of a full house at the outdoor amphitheater at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival on Saturday evening, as the sun lowered behind the city’s famous red rocks.
The program showcased 11 short films, two of which also premiered during the evening, representing action-packed shred edits, documentary-style films and a wide range of riders in front of the camera. One of the premieres, “Outliers: Sage Kotsenburg,” is a personality-packed profile of Kotsenburg, an Olympic gold medalist, and his crossover between snowboarding and mountain biking. “Outliers” was directed, shot and edited by Justin Olsen, who was on-hand to introduce the project. In other other premiere, Dillon Butcher styled his way through Vancouver Island, partially at the new Jordie Lunn Bike Park, is a fast, fun edit from filmer Max McCulloch.
The rest of the line-up included a hefty dose of visual inspiration, from shred edits, like “Ghost Machine,” to community-based stories like “A Trail For Everyone,” documenting the Connected Communities project spearheaded by the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Connected Communities is centered around a trails master plan that would establish a 300-mile route around the Lost Sierra, a region of Northern California that has historically relied on resource extraction as an economic driver. Connected Communities aims to create new economies around recreation.
A highlight of the evening was Ash Zolton’s introduction to Blake Hansen’s powerful “Fuel For Life,” film. Zolton, Roam Fest co-founder, spoke on the importance of representation in mountain biking, the ability to handle topics that might cause discomfort, kindness and the acceptance of riders (and people) from all walks of life. The film details how Hansen, a transgender racer, came to find acceptance in mountain biking after years of hiding from her true self.
The evening capped with a showing of “Fastest For Now,” introduced by its ultra-endurance star athletes, Kait Boyle and Kurt Refsnider, and filmer Cort Muller. The film documents teammates Boyle and Refsnider as they attempt Fastest Known Time records on the iconic Kokopelli Trail—a feat that also marked Boyle’s first race back after a near-three-year recovery from a shattered pelvis sustained in a car accident on Christmas Eve 2018.
The entire program, is now available exclusively to Beta members HERE.