Winona’s Frozen River Film Festival: My Volunteer Experience

I had not heard about the Frozen River Film Festival (FRFF) here in Winona until my mom and mentor suggested I volunteer for it in order to gain experience in both areas of study I am interested in: Biology and Film. I thought, why not? It would be a fantastic way of seeing just how a film festival functions, plus, many of the films involve the great outdoors and protecting all parts of it: my favorite!


Although I only sold tickets, I was there long enough to get the feel of just how devoted people are to showing their support for these works of art. The public appeared to be genuinely excited and intrigued by everything the festival had to offer in its 15th year. 


The FRFF shows a compilation of many films made all around the world, including some shot locally here in Minnesota, which makes the festival all the more personal. Each individual film or set of films is made with the hopes of educating and engaging people of all ages and from all places. (Did I mention that WSU students get in for free?) 


Finally, at the end of my volunteer shift, I had the opportunity to see the Adventure Film Set, which included Broken, Ice & Palms, (People) of Water, Rios Patagonicos, and Tough: The Roger Volkmann Story. 


Each of these short films inspired me in some way. It’s funny that even though they ranged from seven to 30 minutes, they were so cleverly made that they got their desired point across with an amazing impact. For instance, in Ice & Palms, two men decide to ditch motors of any kind and bike across the Alps, stopping to ski through intimidating peaks along the way. When I say no motors, truly the only things they had with them were downhill skis, tents, sleeping bags, bikes and climbing equipment. It seemed impossible, but they made it happen. 


What I got from this film is that you can always push yourself further. There is no limit to what you can do as an individual, only you can keep yourself moving forward. 


All in all, whether or not you live in Winona, or even Minnesota, support your local films and art. Volunteer. The experiences you can have and things you can learn are infinite.