Film tour offers taste of Telluride festival
By Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs CO ColoradoCARBONDALE When asked what MountainFilm on Tour is all about, Justin Clifton was quick with his answer.Its awesome, said the tour director, joking around. Seconds after, he became much more articulate, going in-depth about the traveling film festival. But even with the added seriousness, the gist of his words was the same. MountainFilm does sound awesome.The touring film experience is a small taste of a festival of the same name, which started in Telluride nearly 30 years ago. With a motto of celebrating indomitable spirit, the event has set out to showcase little grassroots films, all dealing with adventure or social or environmental issues that might otherwise not have a voice. Starting in 2000, the festival hit the road, too. According to Clifton, last year, the films traveled from coast to coast in the United States and hopped around to three different continents. Between its 95 stops, it reached about 30,000 people.Tonight and Saturday, local residents will get their chance as well, when the films make an appearance at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. Each night will feature a completely different lineup of seven short movies. As Clifton put it, with every film, the point is to open peoples eyes, to extend that vision of education and inspiration.And he really seemed to mean it. Though Clifton, 35, has been working as the events tour director only for a year, he felt the power of the film festival long before. He first attended the shows more than seven years ago, three years before he would move to Telluride. For him, the effect was instant.I was just like blown away by my own sense of inspiration by the films and the people involved with it, he said.Calling the festival an open dialogue, he admitted that, of course, its no neoconservative, evangelical event. But its not forcing lefty ideology upon people, either. Its all about sharing, he explained, not preaching whatever it takes to get people to think.Were certainly not going to slap you with a message, he said. Thats the power of it. Were all looking for answers in different ways.This year, hes been traveling alongside films with a decidedly environmental bent. Theres Trial & Error: Progression, which chronicles a mans challenging bike ride through old-growth trees slated for destruction. Exploring the Mother of Waters exposes threats to Chinas Mekong River system, the most productive inland fishery on the planet. To Clifton, the American film Gimme Green really forces us to recognize the quest for the perfect lawn, and its downside.And though hes now a seasoned MountainFilm veteran, to him, it doesnt seem a bit like old hat.Every time I go to a festival, every time I meet a filmmaker, it inspires me to do something different with my life, he explained, still sounding so taken with the event.Now, who can say that about their job?Contact Stina Sieg: email@example.com
TONIGHTTitans of the Coral Sea (Jordan Plotsky)This film studies the Titan people of Papua New Guinea in a classic story of an ancient society learning to survive in a modern world. These subsistence fishermen are running out of their catch and trying to do something to ensure there will be enough left for their children. (New Zealand, 2006, 18 min)The Job (Jonathan Browning)A satirical peek at a political hot-button issue. (USA, 2007, 4 min)Rita (Alison Blehert-Koehn)Rita is a true story based on the filmmakers childhood. Brought up in a worldwide whirlwind of adventure by her outdoor photographer/travel-guide parents, Alison Blehert-Koehn had an early life filled with the stuff of dreams. It was not until the family set out on an expedition to Mount Everest, however, that 7-year-old Alison was able to experience her own dream. (USA, 2006, 6 min)Coast to Coast (Olivier Aubert)Not many new frontiers are left for todays adventurers. Flying from the east coast of Africa to the west in an ultra-light plane must qualify as one of the few. South African Mike and Swiss Olivier search for beauty in the skies each time they take off and spread joy on the ground wherever they touch down. This film won Best Adventure Film at MountainFilm 2007. (South Africa & Switzerland, 2006, 52 min)SATURDAYMountainFilm Intro Speed Riding the Eiger (Franois Bon)On June 14, 2006, Franois Bon and Antoine Montant executed the worlds first speed-flying descent of the Eiger in Switzerland. Wearing skis and a paragliding sail, they descended from the top edge of the iconic mountains west face to the bottom of its notorious north face, skiing and flying low over a long steep minefield of ice and rock and snow. (France, 2006, 5 min)First Ascent: Black Canyon (Peter Mortimer)Colorados Black Canyon is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Two-thousand-foot drops, loose rock and poison ivy thwart the path to some of the most gorgeous and difficult alpine crack lines that tempt free ascents. Join up with the two best men for the job, Jared Ogden and Topher Donahue, as they conquer the choice lines, debate the drunken Aussies and support a harrowing near-death rescue on rock. This film won Best Climbing Film at MountainFilm 2007. (USA, 2006, 10 min)Gimme Green (Isaac Brown and Eric Flagg)Gimme Green takes a humorous look at Americas obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life. (USA, 2006, 28 min)Papa Tortuga (Rob Wilson)Fernando Manzano was just 16 when he found his calling. For the past 31 years, he has dedicated himself to bringing the Kemps Ridley sea turtles back from the edge of extinction. In the small town of Tecolutla, Mexico, he has battled relentlessly against weather, natural predators and poachers with no outside financial support. (USA, 2006, 20 min)Good Riddance: Air Pollution (Nick Hilligoss)An unscheduled stop on a railroad crossing leads to a radical redesign of the Eco Van. So what do you get when you join the front half of a VW Beetle with the rear of a Morris Minor van? A quiet, pollution-free vehicle albeit one without an engine. But alternative energy sources are waiting to be tapped: the sun, the wind, the rain maybe even a couple of freeloading rats. (Australia, 2006, 5 min)Voyage to 109 Meters (Jerome Espla)In September 2006, Guillaume Nery dove to a depth of 109 meters with a single breath to become the new constant-weight free-diving world record holder. Guillaumes real story is about his exploration of the soul in the cold depths of dark water. (France, 2006, 7 min) Exploring the Mother of Waters: Source to Sea on Mekong (Brian Eustis)The Mekong River system is the most productive inland fishery on our planet, and it supports the third-greatest plant and animal diversity on earth, after the Amazon and Nile basins. Tens of millions of impoverished and vulnerable subsistence peoples from six nations currently depend on the rivers natural bounty, which is severely threatened by Chinese plans for a series of mega-dams. This film exposes some of the most significant environmental and human-rights issues of our time, while charting Michael OSheas unprecedented kayak adventure through one of the worlds most diverse natural and cultural environments. (Australia, 2006, 45 min)
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