Staff Report

“Into the Arctic: Awakening,” an official selection for the 2019 NatureTrack Film Festival, will be pre-screened March 2 at the Wildling Art Museum.

The film’s director is Cory Trépanier, a landscape painter, filmmaker, and explorer based in Ontario, Canada. His fine art career spans two decades and has always been intertwined with his passion for the outdoors.

The film focuses on the untamed beauty and lure of the North, which has drawn Trépanier to paint the Canadian Arctic for more than a decade. He is preparing for a touring exhibition to premiere in Washington, D.C., by heading back on his fifth and final expedition to complete his vision.

In the film, for nine weeks and 25,000 kilometers, Trépanier immerses himself in the Arctic. He explores with Inuit elders, paddles the most northerly canoe route in North America, and walks in the footsteps of early explorers John Rae and John Franklin.

Voyaging through the Northwest Passage, Cory connects with a changing land, eager to bring it to the eyes of those who may never see it. He asks: With the future of the North at a crossroads, can a simple stick and some bristles paint the Arctic into the hearts and minds of others, so far away?

In 2001 Trépanier began filming his painting expeditions, leading to four televised documentaries. His fifth film, “Into the Arctic: Awakening,” had its first pre-release screening in Monaco before Prince Albert II. His films are broadcast in Canada and internationally.

In January 2017 Trépanier’s “Into the Arctic” exhibition — an unprecedented collection of 60 canvases and his films — began touring for four years, with 11 museums on the itinerary to date.

Highlighting the collection is the 15-foot-wide “Great Glacier,” possibly the largest Arctic landscape painting in Canada’s history. Trépanier has been featured in media around the globe, and his documentaries broadcast internationally, sharing his passion for the wild places that he explores and paints.

Canadian Geographic named Trépanier one of Canada’s Top 100 Living Explorers. He is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a member of The Explorers Club, receiving the Canadian Chapter’s highest award, the Stefansson Medal. He is National Champion of the Great Trail.

The NatureTrack Film Festival, the only nature-focused film festival between Los Angeles and San Francisco, kicks off on Friday, March 22, with an al fresco opening reception in the courtyard of St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church prior to screenings that evening.

A full slate of films will be offered on Saturday, and the festival will conclude on Sunday with a half-day of programming and a closing reception.

Films will screen at three venues in Los Olivos: the Santa Ynez Valley Grange, the Gates Foss Community Center at Los Olivos School, and St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church.

Filmmaker panels and Q&As are all in the mix for the second NatureTrack Film Festival, along with special bonus and repeat screenings of select films.

NatureTrack will also offer docent-led hikes for those wishing to take advantage of the abundant natural beauty of the Santa Ynez Valley for a more immersive outdoor experience. Passes to the 2019 NatureTrack Film Festival may be purchased at  

 To buy tickets for the pre-screening at the Wildling, go to, stop by the Wildling Museum, or call 805-686-8315.