Physical beauty…the mountains really do steal the breath and after Saturday’s windstorm Sunday was crystal.
Lots to do, both outdoors and in. Of course the obvious hiking, skiing, fishing, et al. But also more cultural activities than any other bitsy little town I know of. With a weensy population of only 2,400 the town hosts many world class cultural events, Met simulcasts, chamber music, popular music, and the film festivals.
The people are so dang nice…truly. No snoot factor here. Watched a ticket taker at MountainFilm give an on-the-spot discount because the only remaining seats were poor. That kind of thing happens all the time. Lots of ‘air kissers’ in Aspen, none in Telluride.
On with the show…MountainFilm is a marquee event for Telluride. The famous film festival over Labor Day is…well, famous, with lots of stars and crowds. But the films shown there, you will ultimately be able to see at your local neighbors popcorn-seller.
Films shown this weekend are documentaries that “celebrate the human spirit” and are emblematic of the spirit of Telluride. And you’ll have a hard time seeing them in regular circulation. Three of my faves:
Bidder 70. Tim DeChristopher was a 27-year-old student in 2008 who made false bids at a government auction, hoping to protect beautiful public lands from mining destruction. Although the entire auction was later declared invalid by the Obama administration and other non-paying bidders were not prosecuted, DeChristopher was. Last year he was in Telluride for Mountainfilm, an impressive speaker and advocate, and was awaiting sentencing. The sentence was two years, which he’s now serving. If only Bidder 70 was so articulate. It meanders a good bit, but you’d never know it by the partisan audience. Best is glimpses of development and growth of a young man under pressure.
Plastiki. You remember, a couple years ago the big new story about a catamaran made out of plastic bottles that sailed from San Francisco to Sydney? Here’s the full story. Combo of adventure and environmentalism…and yep, machismo…that’s part and parcel of Mountainfilm. Well integrated with the story of the boat, the when, the why, the how, is the story of plastics and how they are misused in our world. Interesting, but not mentioned in the film is that expedition leader, David de Rothschild, of the British banking Rothschild elite. In Bidder 70, you have normal-guy discovering and making name for himself, in Plastiki, you have rich guy doing the same.
Chasing Ice. For photographic beauty you won’t beat this one. James Balog charts climate change through glacial change, which is, sadly, NOT occurring these days at a glacial pace. Yes, yes, I hear you yawning, but what a fab story. Balog and company post cameras at critical places around the world looking at key glaciers and chart their changes. Just astonishing, and beautiful at the same time. Over a million images in total, so no surprise they’ve got some great ones. And through pluck and luck, they capture on film two giant calving incidents, in which giant chunks of ice break off from the parent…in one case it’s after seventeen days of a crew sitting there watching, a piece, and then pieces, the size of lower Manhattan, break apart. This one you’ll be able to see on screen somewhere, big screen best for sure!, but if not, it’ll be a National Geographic special.