Mountainfilm in Aspen is a documentary film festival – in partnership with Telluride Mountainfilm showcasing nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. Along with exceptional documentaries, the festival goes beyond the film medium by bringing together world-class athletes, speakers, change makers and visionary artists for a multi-dimensional celebration of the indomitable spirit.
Denali’s Raven (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.
Ascend (6 min) | 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.
A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends (14 min) | Nate Henn was full of humor, generosity and spirit. He was so alive. But then, in 2010, a series of terror-related bombings devastated Kampala, Uganda, leaving 74 people dead, including Henn. The news was a devastating blow for his best friend Tyler Dunning, who plunged into darkness, grief, anger and self-medication. His only solace? Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, where the cliff faces, pine forests and wildlife softened his raw emotions. It was a failed attempt to climb Longs Peak that really changed him: The humbling experience sent him on a quest to visit all 59 U.S. national parks.
In Person: Tyler Dunning
Doing It Scared (12 min) | Eighteen years ago, Paul Pritchard was abseiling from the top of the Totem Pole, a gravity-defying tower that juts out from the sea off the coast of Tasmania, when he dislodged a boulder that hit him on the head. In an instant, his life changed. In Doing it Scared, Pritchard, with the help of his friends and fellow climbers, returns to the Totem Pole to challenge himself in an entirely new way.
John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale (7 min) | 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.
Safety Third (30 min) | “There’s a fine line between being bold and being a dumbass. And I think Brad did some time on both sides of the line.” Such are the words filmmaker and climber Cedar Wright uses to describe the subject of his new film.
Tatum Monod (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.
It was just a dead bear in a metal can. But unbeknownst to Eduardo Garcia, the animal was concealing a live electrical wire. As he stooped to poke at it with his knife, he was hit with 2,400 volts of electricity, which left him with gruesome, life-threatening injuries and forever altered the course of his life. Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story recounts the heart-wrenching recovery of the “bionic chef,” adventure-seeker and Montana outdoorsman.
In Person: Dennis Aig (Producer), Eduardo Garcia, Jennifer Jane
Fred Beckey is a towering figure whose innumerable first ascents cemented his legacy as one of the greatest climbers of all time. Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey looks back at this singular life, following the nonagenarian climber over the last decade as he’s slowed but never stopped doing what he loves most. Beckey, like so many people of great accomplishment, is a controversial figure, having alienated fellow climbers by stealing their routes (and even their girlfriends). View trailer.
In Person: Dave O’Leske (Director)
In Chasing Coral, director Jeff Orlowski and a team of scientists, photographers and divers set out to document this underwater crisis and share it with a global audience. It’s no easy task, and the team faces technical challenges, the whims of nature and the ticking clock as it races to record bleaching events as they happen. Chasing Coral is a film that pairs beauty and urgency with a glimpse of the tragedies that will continue if humans don’t address climate change. View trailer.
In Person: Zach Rago and Jeff Orlowski (Director)
Rebecca Rusch has won numerous championships in ultra-endurance mountain bike races. In Blood Road, she undertakes another kind of endurance challenge on two wheels, covering 1,200 miles of the fabled Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and stopping at the obscure site in the jungle where her father’s plane crashed in 1972 during the Vietnam War. View trailer.
A portion of ticket sales will be made to the Blood Road non-profit and to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
Laird Hamilton is best known as a pioneering big wave surfer, but that label doesn’t do him justice. He is a consummate waterman, innovator of wave riding, free diver, windsurfer, long-distance paddler and man more able and at home in the ocean than most of us every will be on dry land. In this feature documentary, Rory Kennedy traces Hamilton’s life and legacy, from a childhood as a towheaded outcast in Hawaii to the defiant streak that compelled him to sit out competitive surfing and the obsessive nature that’s led to many breakthroughs in surf technology, including tow-in and foil methods.
Kidz Kino aims to expand the reach of the festival to youth audiences – bringing the passion, creativity and vision of filmmaking to the next generation. The program will include hands on educational activities, as well as a two-hour afternoon program of family-friendly short films.
The first, the Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen will feature hour long film content daily (plus lunch!). These take place Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 12:30 PM at the Cooking School of Aspen. Films on the series includes a series of shorts focused on climate change and The New Normal (Aug 23), Patagonia’s Fishpeople (Aug 24), and The Last Honey Hunter (Aug 25).
And then to continue the discussion, we’ll host our Lunch Discussions at The Little Nell on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at noon (all with lunch from Element47)! Special guests will have follow up discussions on earlier film topics, including The New Normal (Aug 24), Climbing Adventures (Aug 25) and The World Under Water (Aug 26).
Check back soon for more information about these and other events and guests that will be announced for the 2017 Mountainfilm in Aspen!