Wheeler announces MountainSummit lineup | AspenTimes.com

Wheeler announces MountainSummit lineup

Staff report
Guatemala, Tikal National Park
Getty Images | Photodisc

The seventh annual MountainSummit film festival at the Wheeler Opera House will include a presentation by mountaineer Chris Davenport, concerts, community events, a family program and adventure films covering the gamut of outdoor pursuits and environmental issues. The Wheeler announced the lineup this week for the festival, produced in partnership with Telluride Mountainfilm, and takes place Aug. 27 to 30.

A collaboration between Aspen’s oldest year-round performance venue (Wheeler Opera House) and Telluride’s 37-year-old film festival (Telluride Mountainfilm), which features award-winning documentary films alongside outdoor adventurers and social activists, MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen’s August 2015 lineup will feature a weekend full of programming both inside the historic Wheeler Opera House and throughout downtown Aspen locations.

Focusing on “real people and unreal stories,” the weekend’s festival will allow audiences to not only view award winning feature films and shorts, but through a focus on interaction and community engagement.

“The concept of the festival is expanding this year,” said Wheeler Opera House Executive Director Gena Buhler. “The films are so inspiring that they make you want to get out of your seat and go do something. This year, we are allowing you to do so, with community interactive events ranging from conversations, activities for the kids, to even a group mountain bike ride. We hope that there will be something for everyone as we celebrate the passion, adventure, and spirit that lives in us all.”

“The concept of the festival is expanding this year. The films are so inspiring that they make you want to get out of your seat and go do something.”Gena BuhlerWheeler Opera House executive director

The festival’s opening night, Aug. 27, includes a presentation by Davenport on his recent completion of the “Centennial Challenge,” several adventure-focused short films and the highly anticipated “Meru,” which chronicles the historic ascent of the formidable Shark’s Fin peak in northern India.

Friday’s schedule invites audiences to dig a bit deeper into topics and issues of today. Beginning with Friday Afternoon Conversation hosted by Craig Childs and sponsored by the Roaring Fork Conservancy. Pass holders will be able to delve into the topic of water — it’s beauty, it’s devastation, and our ultimate need to protect it. Following the Friday Afternoon Conversation, Childs will host a program of water-focused short films, including “California: Paradise Burning,” a shattering portrait of an agricultural paradise, rapidly disappearing into a drought induced desert, Pete McBride’s “Leave it As It Is,” about the Grand Canyon and “Knee Deep,” chronicling the impromptu brigade of volunteers who went to work during the Boulder 2013 flood. The second half of Friday’s program features Mountainfilm Festival Director David Holbrooke’s portrait of his father, “The Diplomat.”

Saturday’s lineup includes “The Rider and the Wolf,” about the life and mysterious disappearance of Mountain Bike Hall of Fame cyclist Mike Rust. The film “No Cameras Allowed” will follow, with a journey through the power of music festivals, where the lesson learned is that the best things in life should be shared with the ones you love. The evening will close with a concert event (to be announced later this month.)

MountainSummit’s closing day, Aug. 30 launches a new family friendly program “Kidz Nino,” beginning at 11 a.m. The program, aiming to expand the reach of the festival to youth audiences, will include hands-on educational activities as well as a two-hour afternoon program of family-friendly short films. Later on Sunday evening, the festival will close out with the Mountainfilm Audience Award-winning film “Unbranded,” an epic journey of self-discovery and friendship that includes runaway horses, perilous mountain passes, sweeping vistas and one sassy donkey.

“We go to a myriad of towns with Mountainfilm but our relationship with Aspen and the stellar Wheeler Opera House is truly special,” Holbrooke said. “I think our program here simply gets stronger each year and this one is no exception. I am really excited to work with Gena Buhler and her terrific team to bring an array of essential documentaries to Aspen audiences.”

More details on the festival’s interactive events will be released in the next few weeks.

The full lineup and schedule events for MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen 2015 can be found at http://www.mtnsummit.org. Weekend and single-day passes go on sale Wednesda at 9 a.m. online, via phone and in person at the Aspen Show Tickets box office in the lobby of the Wheeler Opera House (www.aspenshowtickets.com; 970-920-5770; 320 E. Hyman Ave.). Single-event tickets, based on availability, will be available for sale in mid-August.