Student helping to bring worldwide film festival to RIT

Student Spotlight
Kelsey Williford, fourth-year, biochemistry

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Fourth-year student Kelsey Williford is helping to bring the Reel Rock Film festival to RIT for the first time in the history of the rock climbing club.

Kelsey Williford is a fourth-year biochemistry major. She is also the president of RIT’s rock climbing club. With the help of her fellow club members and The North Face store in Victor, N.Y., RIT will host the Reel Rock Film Festival for the first time in the club’s history at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in Ingle Auditorium. The event is open to both students and the general public. Tickets for the film festival are $5 for students and $7 for the general public and are available at the Gordon Field House or through the RIT tickets website at For more information about the Reel Rock Film Festival, go to

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I grew up in North Creek, N.Y., which is in the Adirondack Mountains.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I came to RIT because I wanted to experience a more metropolitan area since I grew up in a very rural area. I was impressed with RIT’s chemistry department and the opportunities it provided for undergraduate research.

Q: What has been your favorite part of RIT so far?
A: It has been awesome to meet so many new people and interact with different cultures. My favorite academic experience so far has been being able to conduct research as a freshman; most other universities don’t provide students with that opportunity.

Q: What does the rock climbing club at RIT do?
A: The rock climbing club is composed of both a competitive team and people who just enjoy climbing during their free time. The team competes in the Collegiate Climbing Series and travels throughout the Northeast to compete. We have been regional champions three times in the last four years and even took fourth place in nationals last year!

Q: How did you get involved in the club?
A: I heard about the rock climbing club as a freshman at the Club Fair. After attending the first meeting and learning the basics of climbing, I was hooked! During freshman year I was climbing almost every night of the week and joined the competitive team in the winter of freshman year.

Q: What is the Reel Rock Film Festival?
A: The Reel Rock Film Festival is an annual tour of climbing and adventure films. It began in 2006 by filmmakers involved in Big UP Productions and Sender Films. The festival travels around the world each year.

Q: How did the RIT rock climbing club get involved?
A: Every year many of our members travel over an hour to see Reel Rock in either Buffalo or Toronto, so when a representative from The North Face store in Victor, N.Y., approached us about hosting Reel Rock, we were thrilled! We are all really excited about hosting the event.

Q: What makes the Reel Rock Film Festival unique?
A: What is great about the Reel Rock Film Festival is that it can entertain many different types of audiences. The films are centered around climbing but they are more than that. These films are high energy and depict people willing to go to the extreme for a sport they love, but many of the films take place in gorgeous parts of the world. So both climbers and people that just enjoy seeing breathtaking views might be interested in the festival.