Teddy Knape in mountainsThe first Teddy Knape Film Fest was held on December 29th 2006. The event was the brain child of Carol Paine-McGovern and her daughter Briana. They approached Crystal Mountain about the possibility of re-naming Teddy’s favorite hill the “Back Bowl” in his memory.  With the help of Crystal Mountain Resort’s Brain Lawson and other friends and families it was decided to have a Film Festival to showcase Teddy’s movies and to formally dedicate the hill being re-named in Teddy’s memory.

The festival featured the viewing of the two ski movies that Teddy filmed and produced in his high school years through his own production company Saw Kaw Films. The Fest also featured the premiering of “Photoplay” by Theory-3 Media.  Teddy had just completed most of the filming for this production before his death.  The film was released by Theory-3 in memory of Teddy.

The unveiling of the new sign “Teddy’s Turn” brought the crowd to their feet.   As a first-grader, Teddy wrote a book about skiing on the Back Bowl at Crystal Mountain, his favorite hill, which Briana read to those who came to remember and pay tribute to their friend. Teddy’s friend Hunter invited friends and family to the podium to share stories and memories of their skiing buddy whose life they were here to honor.

Teddy Knape on the plainsThe many raffle prices including the ski chairs that Teddy’s dad and brothers construct out of old skis, ski gear and other swag raise the money that is donated to Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports. Their presentation each year at the event allows the crowd to understand the skiing opportunities that their organization provides to those whose disabilities require adaptations to enjoy the sport of skiing.

Friend and cartoonist James Stanton created a t-shirt of a cartoon of Teddy pointing to the hill for people to wear at the event.  He continues to pay tribute to his friend each year with his cartoon depiction’s of Teddy. His whimsical drawings that grace the t-shirts are sold at the event to help raise money for the charity.  Teddy was known for donning neon clothing much of the time so the t-shirt colors pay tribute to his unique clothing style.

TKFF Shirt 2006After the success of the first years event Crystal Mountain proposed to make it an annual event and include a amateur film contest as well as premiering several professional films including the latest release of Teddy’s former company Theory-3 Media.

The third year of the event was held on January 3, 2009.  In addition to the amateur film contest which more than tripled its previous years entries, the festival committee was honored to welcome Tony Blancato and Mark Hughes who stepped up to assist in running the festival.  With their love and passion for skiing, Crystal Mountain Resort and Teddy, the TKFF welcomed the largest crowd to date and delivered a fun packed evening for all in attendance.

Teddy gave to so many with his contagious smile, positive attitude and love of life.  When a child with a disability heads down the ski slope for for first time smiling from ear to ear, having just been given an opportunity many thought was not possible, it is clear that this event is truly a fitting tribute to the Teddy we so love and who will never be forgotten.