Ethnic Mountain Film Festival

A film festival dedicated to celebrating ethnic outdoor adventure athletes


Background Information

Cedar Bertelsen was born and raised in Bozeman, MT. He began skiing at the age of three, but until he was eleven, he had never noticed that he was one of the few ethnic people in the advanced ski group for P.E. field trips. It had never occurred to him that other people of color did not get the same opportunities. He started to realize there were just not that many ethnic people in the outdoor community, and the ones that were present were underrepresented. Cedar saw this problem especially in his hometown of Bozeman, and knew that there was a way to take steps toward solving the issue. So he created the Ethnic Mountain Film Festival, a film festival dedicated to celebrating ethnic outdoor adventure athletes. And with the goal of bringing awareness to the lack of diversity in the outdoors.

“My mom’s adventures and stories are the reason I always felt represented in the outdoors, and I never thought I didn’t belong in the wilderness or on a pair of skis.”

– Cedar Bertelsen

Implementation of Project

As Cedar started work on the project, the most important part was getting as many contacts as possible, and building connections.  As things started gaining momentum, the pandemic of COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders were passed, he had to adjust his priorities.  After the quarantine life had established a sense of normalcy, and online school began to wind down for the semester, things got back on track.  Cedar had help from his peers in getting a trailer for the film festival, and help from family members in gaining connections to people that could mentor and guide the project.


Results of Project

Cedar and his action team hope for the best with the COVID-19 situation, and maintain that the festival will take place in September 2020.  However, depending on the state of the country, or the state of Montana, they may decide to make the transition to online viewings of the films.  Cedar continues to stay in touch with the managers of local theaters on the possibility of hosting the festival in person. So far, about 20 Bozeman High School students are interested in attending the festival, but should the event take place virtually, the film event could reach an audience expanding beyond Bozeman.

What’s Next

Cedar plans to continue using his voice, to spread information about diversity in the outdoors.  He hopes to continue the Ethnic Mountain Film Festival, either by finding someone who wants to take on the project, or organizing continued virtual viewings of different films each year.  He will continue being an advocate for people of color in outdoor communities, and for all who want to experience the wild places, that he holds dear to his heart.

“I think storytelling is a good start to addressing problems, but it cannot solve an issue as complex as the relationship between skin color, and outdoor adventure.”

– Cedar Bertelsen