Wheeler Opera House announces Mountainfilm in Aspen lineup
The Wheeler Opera House has announced a 20-plus documentary lineup for its annual adventure film festival Mountainfilm in Aspen.
Running Aug. 23 through 27, the festival — formerly known as MountainSummit — is produced by the Wheeler in collaboration with Telluride Mountainfilm.
The 2017 festival theme is “Find Your Pulse.” Wheeler executive director Gena Buhler announced the program Tuesday night at a members’ appreciation party at the historic opera house.
Along with the usual slate of documentaries and special guests, this year’s festival includes new lunchtime film screenings at the Cooking School of Aspen, which Buhler called “the perfect way to get your quick fix in the middle of the day.”
The festival opens Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m., with the Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen screening of “The New Normal,” featuring inspirational short solution-oriented films about climate change. At 7 p.m. at the Wheeler, “An Evening of Adventure” will feature new shorts including “Denali’s Raven,” “Ascend,” “A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends,” “Doing It Scared,” “John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale,” “Safety Third” and “Tatum Monod.” Special guests for the evening will be announced later this summer.
The Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen continues Aug. 24 with a screening of Patagonia’s “Fishpeople” at 12:30 p.m. with special guest Lynne Cox. There also will be a noon lunch discussion at The Little Nell on “The New Normal,” moderated by Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron with a panel including cultural anthropologist Alizé Carrére and Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of sustainability Auden Schendler. That evening at 7 p.m., the Wheeler hosts the screening of feature film “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story.” The evening includes a special appearance by the filmmakers and the feature’s namesake, whose struggle for recovery and a return to the outdoors is documented after he suffers a freak electrocution accident in the wild.
And Aug. 25 features another lunchtime discussion at the Nell at noon and the screening of “The Last Honey Hunter” at the Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen at 12:30 p.m. That night’s events start at 5:30 with the showing of “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey,” a story about a controversial nonagenarian climber, and featuring a discussion with filmmaker Dave O’Leske. At 8:30 p.m., Zach Rago, Jeff Orlowski and the Impact Team introduce their acclaimed film “Chasing Coral,” documenting the overwhelming threat of warming ocean temperatures on coral reefs.
Participants can catch “Waves” at the noon lunchtime discussion at The Little Nell on Aug. 26, featuring guests from “Fishpeople” and “Chasing Coral.” There are two hard-hitting documentary features at the Wheeler that night including “Blood Road,” which focuses on filmmaker and championship ultra-endurance mountain biker Rebecca Rusch’s journey across Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to track down the site of her father’s plane crash during the Vietnam War. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Blood Road nonprofit and to the Mines Advisory Group. The night closes with the Laird Hamilton film “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton,” a new documentary feature about his life as a pioneering big wave surfer and leader of breakthroughs in surf technology.
The final day of the festival, Aug. 27, features the family-friendly program Kidz Kino at noon. 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. That evening, the festival will close with a 5:30 p.m. community dinner and celebration, featuring a meal created by festival favorite Chef Eduardo Garcia.
“Our Wheeler team is charged up about this year’s Mountainfilm in Aspen,” Buhler said. “We have curated an impressive film lineup for fans of adventure, exploration and inspiration.”
Full festival passes are $140. A $60 “Pick 3 Pass” also is available. Both go on sale today at the Wheeler Opera House box office and http://www.aspenshowtix.com. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 1. The full film lineup for Mountainfilm in Aspen can be found at http://www.wheeleroperahouse.com.
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