Starting today, the 8th annual Lookout Wild Film Festival brings together the best in outdoor film from around the world. The four-day event showcases films about outdoor sports, conservation, and the wilderness.

"The stories from these folks can be from inner-city Detroit all the way to South America so it's really a cool mix of where the stories come from,” festival founder Andy Johns said.

Johns founded the Lookout Wild Film Festival to give outdoor filmmakers a voice. The films come from dozens of countries, but Johns also builds a home for Southeastern adventurers.

"There are a lot of really unique people, unique stories in our own area that we like to make sure we carve out a niche to showcase those folks,” he said.

Filmmakers Elaine Elliot and Nathalie DuPre fit into that space this year. “Filling the Void,” tells the story of land loans at Denny Cove, an hour from Chattanooga.

"Being able to open up land and purchase it and make it accessible for everyone else is pretty important. In the South it’s all private land,” DuPre said.

For Elliot, the space to tell stories is vital to preserving the sport and land she loves.

"This is what climbing in the Southeast looks like, and this is why it's so important to conserve land and come together as organizations to protect it,” she said.

In that way, the festival and the films work together for the preservation of their wild inspiration.

"Really what drives the festival's growth and what drives our interest in doing it is the stories and the characters,” Johns said.

The first block of films starts on Thursday, January 16th at 7 p.m. If you need a break from the movies, they'll also have yoga and specials at Chattanooga Brewing throughout the weekend.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit their website.