Walking into the Emera IDEA Building at Dalhousie University’s Sexton Campus on March 10 — through the twists and turns to get to Auditorium G109 — you find yourself amidst the crowd gathering for the Dalhousie Outdoors Society’s Film Festival.
Once you get over the irony that a film festival dedicated to celebrating Nova Scotia’s beautiful outdoors is being held in the Irving Oil Auditorium, you realize everyone knows each other. It’s not hard to recognize the excitement — along with thousands of inside jokes — brewing in the crowd as everyone awaits the program. It’s almost like a movie night with friends. The submissions prove this — out of the 10 submissions, nine belonged to society members.
The presenters took the floor and the films started rolling. Each short film, lasting somewhere between two to 10 minutes, was made to celebrate Nova Scotia’s gorgeous potential for adventure. All submissions urged the audience to fall in love with the outdoors, go outside and take advantage of what every Dal student has at their disposal — an endless variety of landscapes and bodies of water.
While all the submissions were somewhere between heartwarming and visually stunning, everyone in attendance was asked to vote for their favourites. Three films stood out.
The Caves, Tommy Saucier and Chris Ginou
The Caves by Tommy Saucier and Chris Ginou took first place after the voting. The film followed a group of friends (including the filmmakers themselves) trying out a new rock climbing route at caves on the coast. The short film takes the audience through the highs and the lows of figuring out a new route for the first time, and (spoiler) the injuries that come with that.
Had The Caves been shot on a Netflix budget, this could’ve easily been dubbed “a harrowing story of survival” or something along the lines of “an incredible story of determination.” However, to everyone’s disappointment, The Caves is yet to be picked up by a major production company. This short film might make you want to go climbing on the coast, but it will still have you looking to explore new routes.
Below Zero: A Nova Scotian Surfing Story, Morgan Rice
Below Zero by Morgan Rice follows surfers in the Nova Scotian winter as they prepare for the water. Not only is this film beautifully shot, but it completely transports its audience into the middle of all the action.
Placed into second place by votes, Below Zero (almost) convinces you that surfing is as fun in the winter as in the summer. If you missed the surfing sequences in Outer Banks and want to get your fix without the drama, give this short a watch — you won’t regret it.
Cross the Street, Alex Humphrey
Cross the Street by Alex Humphrey is the quintessential falling in love with Nova Scotia short film. Humphrey takes the audience through a variety of adventures from Cape Split to the Atlantic Ocean. This film could be classified as a visual diary. Perhaps it is, showcasing beautiful views and friendly faces.
Coming in third, this is the film to watch if you are looking to get inspired for your next adventure. Who knows, it might inspire you to make your own visual adventure diary — or maybe something more low effort, like an adventure TikTok. All submissions are now available to watch on the Dalhousie Outdoor Society’s website.