Mountainfilm on Tour brings a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and incredibly inspiring documentary films curated from the Mountainfilm festival held every Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The tour visits Santa Cruz at the Rio Theatre on November 11 with films that will explore the themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission: using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. A Mountainfilm presenter will guide the audience through the program providing insight on the films, filmmakers and subjects. The show kicks off at 7 pm (Doors at 6 pm) Films announced 2 – 3 weeks in advance online at riotheatre.com. Check film listings if you are concerned about film ratings. Mountainfilm on Tour in Santa Cruz is hosted by the Rio Theatre in partnership with Local Sponsors Dream Inn and Aquarius Restaurant, Sandbar Solar, Rip Curl, Lighthouse Realty, Osprey, Pacific Coffee Roasting Company, Dig Santa Cruz, Good Times & Santacruz.com, Adventure Sports Journal and Well Within Spa.
Denali’s Raven (Renan Ozturk, 9 min.)
Like a raven on an updraft, Leighan Falley soars above the glaciers and peaks of the Alaska Range with her daughter Skye strapped into the backseat of her de Havilland Beaver. Born of a desire to see more of the dramatic landscape and a need to supplement her career as a mountain guide, Falley now works as a commercial pilot in Talkeetna, Alaska. She comes from a long line of aviators and finds inspiration working with other women in the high alpine. Denali’s Raven is a glimpse into the life of an Alaskan pilot, skier, alpinist and mother.
Ascend (Simon Perkins, 6 min.) language
After being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Jon Wilson had his left leg fully amputated. The loss of a limb stopped the cancer, but it didn’t stop Wilson from enjoying his favorite pastime of mountain biking. This short film celebrates the indomitable spirit that keeps him zooming through singletrack. “If I don’t ride a bike, I will lose my mind. It’s because I need to find that spiritual place, that spiritual channel on the trail,” Wilson says. “The simple answer is that it brings me joy.”
John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale (Ryan Heffernan, Grayson Schaffer, 7 min.) language
He lived with his parents until he was 26, took a minimum-wage guide position at the age of 39, and at 52 still hasn’t landed what society would deem a real job. But refusing to grow up has worked out well for John Shocklee, who splits life between ski guiding at America’s rowdiest ski mountain, in Silverton, Colorado, and rowing dories down the ultimate river, The Grand Canyon. He lives in an alley shack, wears Teva sandals like they’re going out of style and doesn’t make much money. But he doesn’t want to. John Shocklee, A Fairy Tale taps into Shocklee’s fountain of youth. Hint: It involves mountains, snow and ’90s hip-hop.
Where the Wild Things Play (Krystle Wright, 4 min.) language, mature content
Friday night at the local watering hole and … where the ladies at? Answer: BASE jumping from high desert cliffs, performing tricks on slacklines, climbing granite routes, shredding singletrack, skiing backcountry lines and generally leaving you fellas behind. This rowdy ode to female athletes by Krystle Wright leaves no doubt about the state of women in today’s outdoor world: badass.
Lost in Light (Sriram Murali, 3 min.)
This film is about how light pollution changes what you see. —Henry, age 13
Zain’s Summer: From Refugee to American (Joshua Seftel, 13 min.)
Zain’s Summer depicts the sunny side of the refugee experience. Zain and his siblings and mother fled Pakistan 11 months before the period the film covers, a six-week summer language program to prepare young, new immigrants for the start of school. The possibility of a new life in America, relatively free from fear of violence and persecution, represents the very best of America in director Joshua Seftel’s telling. Zain’s openness to what the U.S. offers is old-fashioned and inspiring.
Conservation Generation (Kate Greenberg, 11 min.)
“Young farmers” may seem like an oxymoron, but fortunately for all of us there’s a young generation committed to agriculture. On the frontlines of the battle for environmental sustainability in the face of climate change, the four farmers in Spencer MacDonald’s Conservation Generation are as devoted to a vocation that’s equal parts livelihood, lifestyle and sacred cause as they are clear-eyed about the challenges. While the National Young Farmers Coalition, which produced Conservation Generation, represents a broad movement, the focus here is on the specific problem of water scarcity in the arid Southwest. Two of the four are farming in northern New Mexico, and two are farming near Telluride, Colorado.
Tatum Monod 2016 (Josh Berman, 4 min.)
Tatum Monod is the embodiment of grace and steeze as she threads down pillowed slopes, steep spines and bold backcountry lines in this 2016 season edit.
120 Days: Tarpon Season (Ben Knight, Travis Rummel, 8 min.) Language
Even if you know nothing about fishing, and couldn’t care less about it, you should still watch every fishing film ever made by the Felt Soul Media team. Why? Because they exemplify the art and craft of filmmaking. This latest short about saltwater flyfishing for tarpon is no exception. Using super high-resolution, black and white and their trademark, slow-motion punctuation, Ben Knight and Travis Rummel have created a piece that is dreamy and wide awake all at once. The effect is harmonized by Knight’s agile editing that gives the pace both punchiness and lyricism. And, in classic Felt Soul style, the most beautiful and arresting images of the film are peripheral to the story: In this fish film, it’s all about the birds.
Chocolate Spokes (Brendan Leonard, 6 min.) Language and mature content
“You’re not investing in a bike; you’re investing in a relationship.” So says Gregory Crichlow, the bow-tied owner of Chocolate Spokes, a Denver bike shop he opened in 2011. Making a relationship with neighborhood residents is something that gives Gregory pride. “As soon as you get a bike…your boundary expands a little bit because you can go farther.” From fixing a tire to building custom bikes, Crichlow has helped make Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and his shop go beyond what anyone thought possible.
Cowtown (Greg Kohs, 11 min.)
The oldest weekly professional rodeo in the United States is a place called Cowtown, located in the unexpected eastern state of New Jersey. Here, third-generation proprietor Howard “Grant” Harris, a former bull rider and lifelong cowboy, strives to keep his birthright intact, running horses, producing a weekly show and fending off exorbitant offers to purchase and develop his prime land. He could cash out, but in his mind he’s already got all the treasures he needs. “What we do is what we are,” he says. “We don’t know how to do anything else.”
The Time Travelers (Brendan Leonard, Forest Woodward, 24 min.) language
In 2016, members of the U.S. Men’s Rafting team hatched an incredible challenge for themselves: to attempt to break the speed record for 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon by rowing the entire stretch in only 34 hours. The Time Travelers follows their extraordinary mission, which entailed designing and building a 48-foot-long Millenial Falcon of rivercrafts, swapping out customary paddles for oars and training intensely for eight months until launch day in January 2017. What could have been a purely physical challenge turned into something much more: a lesson in camaraderie, perspective and the power of a wild river. In the hands of the team that made The Important Places (Mountainfilm 2015), it becomes an unforgettable story of adventure.
La Langosta (Rush Sturges, Ben Marr, 2 min.)
Most people would consider sending a 70-foot waterfall pretty epic. Not Rafa Ortiz, who decides to ditch the kayak for a pool toy.
Owl Dance-Off Part 2 (Megan Lorenz, 2 min)
Owl Dance-Off Part II is the much-anticipated follow-up to wildlife photographer Megan Lorenz’s award-winning internet sensation Owl Dance-Off.