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The indigenous female wrestlers of Bolivia. A B.A.S.E. jumper who’s afraid of heights. Three childhood friends biking through the mountains of Mongolia. A climber in his 60’s taking on Wyoming’s famed Devil’s Tower. These are just a few of the characters you’ll see and adventures you’ll live vicariously at the ‘On The Edge’ Film Festival, coming to Ohio City Friday and Saturday, October 14-15.

On The Edge Films has brought the Banff Mountain Film Festival to Cleveland for 15 years. Film Festival Director Christine Russell says it is high time Cleveland had its own festival:  “We wanted to start our own adventure film fest in Cleveland. The films we are screening are many of the best short documentaries from the big film fests out west, but On the Edge Film Fest brings a local flavor; all our sponsors, exhibitors and benefactors are local. In the future, we also hope more local filmmakers will submit to our festival.

“It is the first adventure film festival of short documentaries produced locally, with the focus on extreme sport, travel, culture, environment and sustainability issues from all over the world. Several films are Ohio premieres.”

Clevelanders have long been adventurers, even in our own backyard, where 23,000 acres of open land we call the Metroparks and hundreds of miles of lake shore provide year-round fulfillment to locals and visitors. Our melting pot of ethnicities makes us keen to learn about and explore other cultures. On The Edge may have been made for Clevelanders, but we were also made for it.

“Clevelanders love independent films as evidenced by all the excellent film festivals we have here,” says Russell. “And we know they’re adventurous.”

On The Edge is unique in that most of the films are short – the longest of this year’s films runs just over half an hour. Though many feature extreme sports, the films also cover environmental activism, world culture, and the most beautiful scenery the earth has to offer in places most of us will never see.

The Wrestling Cholita” features Teresa Huayta, a female wrestler from the South American nation of Bolivia. ‘Cholitas’ are indigenous women often characterised by their long, flowing skirts, bowler hats and ornate jewelry. Recent social and cultural changes, including the election ten years ago of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, have created a more open and welcoming society for these women, many of whom take to the ring to show off their new-found liberation.

Dog Power” looks at the not-so-familiar sports featuring man’s best friend, including “surfjoring” and “canicross”. Dog owners and their equally-capable athlete pets offer a glimpse into their world, their sports and the relationships they treasure.

“Salween Spring” is a multi-award-winning short introducing Travis Winn, an American outdoorsmen who founded a rafting company in China to help Chinese people explore and enjoy their vast network of rivers…while they still exist.

The Breen Center for the Performing Arts hosts the On The Edge Film Festival Friday and Saturday nights, October 14-15. Each night of the festival begins with a reception featuring local exhibitors geared toward fans of the outdoors, including Bike Cleveland, the Metroparks and the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Friday and 7:00 p.m. Saturday. Local sponsors will provide complimentary coffee and snacks with food trucks and a cash bar open for the duration of the festival. You can purchase tickets here or at a Geiger’s location near you.

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