Kodiak’s pop-up, drive-in theatre returns for Kodiak Outdoor Film Festival


Kodiak’s drive-in movie theater will be popping back up at the Fairgrounds on Friday for the Kodiak Outdoor Film Festival. The event is organized annually by Island Trails Network, which promotes outdoor stewardship on the island. 

Seventeen films will be screened at the festival. Philip Tschersich is one of this year’s dozen featured filmmakers in the festival. He has nearly 80 clips on Vimeo of his adventures scrambling, packrafting and camping across the island. He said they don’t get a lot of clicks, but that’s not really his motivation. 

“When you experience something first hand, and make a recording of it through the video and you edit the video together, a couple years later, the video essentially becomes your memory of the event.”

Philip Tschersich has been documenting his adventures around Kodiak for years, and will be one of this year’s featured filmmakers. (Photo: Philip Tschersich)

Tscersich also used to serve on Island Trails Network’s Board of Directors. He still helps the organization catalog video memories from him and other filmmakers into about an hour and a half of content for the festival each year. He says Kodiak’s backcountry isn’t the only focus of the films. 

Commercial fishing and amateur footage from hikes off the island’s road system are also part of the program. Anchorage-based filmmaker Max Romey’s film “If You Give a Beach a Bottle” will also screen this year. It’s about clearing marine debris from Kodiak’s pristine coastline and it’s made the rounds at other film festivals – including Banff’s Mountain Festival World tour. 

According to Tschersich, there’s one thing that ties them all together. 

“The overarching theme to the film festival could be boiled down to responsible use of the Kodiak outdoors,” he said. “There was actually a time when someone submitted a video about surf-kayaking on the Homer spit, and just to really keep it local we declined to screen that one.”

In the past, the Kodiak Outdoor Film Festival was held at the Harbor Convention Center in downtown. It was canceled because of the pandemic back in 2020. And this will be the second year films will be screened on a 40-foot jumbo screen donated by Highmark Marine at the Fairgrounds.

The festival starts at 7 p.m. on Friday. More information and registration is available at Island Trails Network’s website.

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