The 2024 ATA Show in St. Louis, Jan. 11-13, is the best place to see and test new products, network and meet company leaders face to face, get Show special pricing and discounts, and support the archery industry. Plus, it’s a great place to see old friends, build professional relationships, and celebrate all things archery and bowhunting.
Thankfully, the ATA Show’s evening events, like the ATA’s Industry Celebration, Outtech Innovations and the Badlands Film Festival, provide the perfect atmosphere for attendees to relax and catch up with old friends over food, drinks and free entertainment after a long, productive day on the Show floor.
We spoke with Blake VanTussenbrook, senior marketing manager for Badlands Gear, to get the rundown on this year’s Badlands Film Festival, held Friday, Jan. 12, in the America’s Center Ferrara Theatre from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Film Fest first debuted at the 2014 ATA Show. Photo Credit: Badlands
VanTussenbrook joined the company in 2013 and sought a way to ramp up the company’s ATA Show presence. The solution was to initiate a film festival, an idea that circulated throughout the company for a few years but didn’t turn into reality until the 2014 ATA Show.
The first event took place on the second floor of the Hard Rock Café in Nashville. VanTussenbrook said the team begged Showgoers to attend and were pleasantly surprised by the participation.
“We filled the room past capacity to the point where the fire marshal was getting mad,” he said. “It blew away our expectations. So many people showed up and they brought their friends. That event showed us the support was there, and since then, we’ve tried to make it bigger and better.”
Over the years, the Badlands Film Festival grew from around 200 people to nearly 1,500 at the 10th annual event in 2023. With support from partners like HuntVault, Garmin, Bedford Cameras, Fourth Arrow and Wyndscent, Bakcou Bikes and others, Badlands has expanded the event and offered more cool prizes and giveaways to attendees.
“It’s been fun to take the event to different cities and venues showcasing different hunting films,” VanTussenbrook said. “The videos and attendance continue to blow us away each year, but the message is still the same: We want to provide a fun evening where people can hang out, watch films, get awards and rally around what a lot of us are there for, which is hunting.”
The 2024 Badlands Film Fest will be held on-site at the America's Center so ATA Show-goers don't have to leave the building to enjoy the festival. Photo Credit: Bandlands
“Everyone can expect to see everything they’ve seen in the past and more,” VanTussenbrook said. “This year, the event will be on-site at the convention center, which is special in itself and makes logistics easy. It’s a beautiful space, and we’re very excited.”
Here’s what attendees can expect from the 11th annual event:
- On-site location: The Ferrara Theatre is inside the America’s Center dome and has 1,400 seats and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system.
- Hunting films: Enjoy 10-12 hunting-themed videos split between two categories: feature films (5-to-10-minute length) or short films (2-to-4-minute length). The selection committee tries to showcase a variety of films, including whitetail hunts, Western hunts and international hunts. Films featuring archery equipment are preferred, but films with the best storyline will be selected first. The submission deadline for the 2024 event is Dec. 17, 2023. Click here for more details on film submission formats, runtimes and rules.
- Awards: The top three fan-favorite films win a Golden Antler trophy and a financial payout. Attendees vote on their favorite films by phone, and the Badlands team congratulates the winners on stage.
- Goody Boxes: The first 200 people through the door will receive a free Goody Box sponsored by HuntVault. Last year’s lucky recipients received a package valued at $150 packed with various items, including a knife, game call and more.
- Limited-edition T-shirts: The first 200 people in the door get a free limited-edition Badlands Film Festival T-shirt. The Badlands team is currently working on a new design.
- Giveaways: Everyone attending the film festival gets a raffle ticket and is eligible to win prizes and giveaways, including a Bakcou ebike, Grizzly Coolers, Vortex Optics, Badlands Gear, a Garmin watch, a smoker or pellet grill, two Prime bows, and a camera package valued at over $7,000 from the Presenting Partner Bedford Camera.
VanTussenbrook said the Badlands team continues to receive praise and appreciation for the film festival. “A lot of people share the same sentiment that it’s their favorite part of the ATA Show week,” he said. “That’s an honor. It’s become a can’t-miss part of ATA. We look forward to seeing everyone again this year.”
Tickets to the Badlands Film Festival are free and available to all ATA Show attendees. Stop by the Badlands booth #2731 and get yours to reserve your spot.
Doors open at 6 p.m. The event starts at 7 p.m. Goody Boxes and limited-edition T-shirts are given away on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the 2024 Badlands Film Festival, visit www.badlandsgear.com/pages/film-festival.
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