By Dakota Parks for Pensacola Magazine
Arguably, the best way to enjoy a movie is outdoors, spread out on a blanket on the cool grass and dirt, gazing up on the big screen, underneath the stars. Outdoor film festivals are the perfect way to enjoy Pensacola’s fleeting winter weather and cozy up for an evening of art and cinematic adventure. The Gulf Coast has a burgeoning community of film enthusiasts with independent filmmaking groups like the Emerald Coast Filmmakers and Gulf Coast Short Film Fest. Pensacola is also home to the Stamped Film Festival, which has been showcasing LGBTQ+ films since 2012, and the Pensacon Short Film Festival, which highlights science fiction, horror, fantasy, pop culture and animated films. A new staple in the Pensacola film community is Mountainfilm on Tour, which is premiering for its third year in a row on March 12 at Museum Plaza on 120 Church Street from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival that originated in Telluride, Colorado in 1979 and showcases films about environmental, cultural, political and social justice issues. While the festival was originally held only in Telluride, Mountainfilm began touring the globe in 2000 to spread their films to a larger audience and educate the public on pressing issues.
Jacey J. Cosentino, a financial advisor for The Radcliff- Schatzman Group at Morgan Stanley, focuses on sustainable investment solutions and is one of the directors for the Mountainfilm Pensacola tour location. After experiencing the awe and beauty of the Mountainfilm Festival firsthand during a family trip to Telluride, she decided the festival needed to come to Pensacola. Cosentino paired up with her business partner, Chesley Allegri, to plan the first festival in Pensacola in February 2020, sponsored by Morgan Stanley.
“The films encapsulate adventure, excitement, joy, sadness, real life social issues, environmental enlightenment and travel,” Cosentino said. “The films are done in locations all over the world and take you inside the lives of people, families, towns and entire countries. Some of the most beautiful cinematography I have ever seen has been through the festival films. You won’t see these films anywhere else, so each one offers you a glimpse into issues that matter most to people from your same or different cultures.”
Environmental and social activism are pillars for the film festival as Mountainfilm’s mission is to use the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. Many of the short films focus on environmental justice and protecting and preserving the environment for future generations. While hosting an inspiring collection of films, the Pensacola premiere is also an opportunity to support local waterway protection as proceeds will go to support the nonprofit Healthy Gulf, an organization dedicated to providing research, communications and coalition- building tools needed to reverse the over exploitation of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources.
To help grow the festival and garner more sponsors, Jacey J. Cosentino, Chesley Allegri and Christian Wagley, the coastal organizer for Healthy Gulf, formed the nonprofit organization, the Gulf Coast Film Festival. This organization officially hosts Mountainfilm Pensacola in partnership with a collection of local sponsors and hopes to expand to other areas in the future.
“I personally feel that we each owe it to ourselves to know what issues might be affecting those around us, and when I say around us, I mean in our families, communities, cities, states and countries,” Cosentino said. “We have been blown away by the support, not only from here in Pensacola but people and businesses from all over—Gulf Shores, Fairhope and even Mobile. A film festival like this was needed here and the attendance has made that clear. People genuinely want to share in the experiences of adventure and thought-provoking topics, and they want to share in it through the gift of film.”
Cosentino explained that Mountainfilm Pensacola nearly sold out both in 2020 and at the smaller pop-up screenings in 2021. To support this growing attendance, this year’s screening will be held outdoors to give guests the space they need to feel comfortable and safe, and to allow more people to cozy up with friends and family on blankets and chairs at Museum Plaza. The Pensacola screening will feature a variety of short films with the longest being around 25 minutes, so guests can experience a wide variety of artistic styles, directors, producers and musicians in a short amount of time.
The show kicks off on Saturday March 12 at 6:30 pm with doors opening at 5 pm. Live entertainment will be provided by local musician, Hane Skot, and food will be available to purchase. Tickets for Mountainfilm on Tour Pensacola can be purchased online through the tour schedule page of the Mountainfilm website at mountainfilm.org. Tickets will also be available onsite on the day of the event. Advance tickets are $20 per adult and $15 for children ages 12 and under. TIckets are $25 at the door.