FEATURE ARTICLE

MOUNTAINFILM

| October 13, 2017

Mountain ranges all over the world are full of epic tales just waiting to be told, and for 40 years MountainFilm, a nonprofit organization based in Telluride, has been inspiring audiences worldwide by presenting those tales on film.

Since 2013, GARNA, the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, and Central Colorado Conservancy have joined forces to bring the MountainFilm tour to Salida, and this weekend they are teaming up again to host two evenings of film, one in Salida and one in Buena Vista.

Organizers hope the two-night event will motivate a larger audience of individuals to discover the artistry of what MountainFilm can offer while supporting a good cause. The films highlight a wide range of topics, from embracing mountain adventures to connecting cultures. Different film selections will be shown each night so viewers can enjoy a different theme at each screening.

Crystal Merrill, a MountainFilm tour director, is proud the company is in its 40th year of spreading awareness of mountain adventures worldwide. She said the annual MountainFilm Festival in Telluride is a great experience for meeting influential filmmakers and becoming part of something good for the world.

“After the festival, we take a selection of the films on the road because we feel that, while Telluride is an amazing place to watch all this content, a lot of people can’t come to Telluride. The tour serves as a way to share these incredible films with audiences all over the world, and we are able to travel to over 150 locations worldwide,” said Merrill.

Merrill said the artists are just as diverse as the films shown at each tour stop. Salida and Buena Vista’s two-night lineup will explore topics such as celebrating courage and environmental preservation.

“We began in 1979 when a group of climbers got together to climb during the day and watch climbing films in the evening; so the Salida playlist is very much an homage to that,” she said.

“Salida’s film presentation even includes a piece by Ben Knight, a Salida resident and a MountainFilm Commitment Grant winner. Titled The Last Honey Hunter, it is a beautiful story of a remote villager in Nepal who hunts a hallucinogenic honey that is used for medicinal purposes.”

The films to be shown in Salida range from a fairytale ski guide in Silverton who is pursuing his passions, to a climber injured while working on a route who goes back to tackle it. The Buena Vista films will cover a different array of environmental issues and adventures.

“You’re going to see some of those classic adventure stories, but you are also going to see more people profiles and films about the environment, so it’s a nice mix between the two. For example, Guided is a story of an old-time wilderness canoe guide in Maine; Cowtownis about one of the oldest weekly rodeos in North America; and The Time Travelers focuses on a team’s mission to break the speed record through the Grand Canyon,” said Merrill.

The Salida MountainFilm tour will be held at the Salida High School auditorium and will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Families are welcome to the two-and-a-half-hour event, and tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate in advance with GARNA or Central Colorado Conservancy, or at the door for $15 for adults and $5 for youths. On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Buena Vista event will be held at the BV Community Center with the same time schedule as the night before. Two-night advance tickets can be purchased online for $22.

“For us to have the festival experience in Telluride is nothing short of inspiring and, ultimately, just a wonderful experience. Being able to take a piece of that festival on the road and share it with more audiences is really special because we are able to reach places that otherwise might not have the opportunity to see this sort of content,” said Merrill.