On the evening of Wednesday, June 6, the inaugural Ozark Streams Film Festival premiered at the historic Tivoli Theater in University City. You could feel the excitement and energy build as ticketholders poured in to the sold-out event. “It was a reminder to all of us how lucky we are to live near these streams,” said Lisa Hollenbeck, owner of Alpine Shop.

The brainchild of adventure blog Where’s Malko and Friends of Ozark Riverways, the Ozark Streams Film Festival was a celebration of some of the finest stretches of water in Missouri — and, if you ask some folks in the crowd, the finest rivers in the country.

Nationally recognized (and federally protected) for their natural beauty and wild characteristics, the Current, Jacks Fork and Eleven Point Rivers were chosen as the focus for the collection of films during the two-hour event. From stories of hope after the floods of 2017 to the winning submission’s story of his love of trout fishing the Current, the films were carefully selected and curated in a way to tell stories of these rivers and the connections people have to them.

Audience members were treated to special guests Mark Wanner of the St. Louis Zoo’s hellbender conservation program and the always entertaining and informative Dave Tobey of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. While the organizers aren’t currently planning to take the event on the road, they will make it available online at wheresmalko.com.