Wheeler Opera House announces MountainSummit lineup | AspenTimes.com

Wheeler Opera House announces MountainSummit lineup

Staff report
A lone cow looks for food in a burning dumpsite alsongside the Ganges near Haridwar in Peter McBride's "Holy (Un)Holy River."
Peter McBride/Courtesy photo |

Forty short and feature-length documentaries will come to town in late August for the eighth annual MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen at the Wheeler Opera House.

The film festival, produced by the Wheeler and Telluride Mountainfilm, will run Aug. 24 through Aug. 28.

It will open Aug. 24 with an Evening of Adventure short film program, including a special guest appearance by high-end fashion model/free-skiing world tour competitor Sierra Quitiquit to talk about her eponymous documentary short. The evening also will feature “The Adventure Dispatch,” “Equal Footing,” “Wasfia,” “The Accord,” “Heavens 11” and “When We Were Knights.”

The program on Aug. 25 features Water Adventure Shorts, including a special program led by award-winning Basalt-based photographer and documentarian Pete McBride and Grand Canyon river guide Kevin Fedarko. Their project, “Leave It As It Is” is on a mission to save the natural wonder that is the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon from developers and industrialists. McBride’s film “Holy (un)Holy River” documents a traditional expedition at the source of the Ganges River high in the Himalaya, but that quickly becomes something else.

Aug. 26 features two programs about different types of journeys: two Iraqi veterans embarking on a life-changing and incredible journey in “Almost Sunrise.” Special guests from the film also will be on site for a Q&A following the screening. At 8:30 p.m., journey all over the world with the “Meet the People” shorts programs, which includes films about a wrestling cholita from Bolivia, a man who has run the Los Angeles Marathon every year since it started in 1986 and an activist and author appropriately named “Kickass Katie Lee.”

The film schedule for Aug. 27 includes “Life, Animated,” a documentary following the astonishing journey of an autistic boy who finds healing and happiness with the help of Disney films. Ron and Cornelia Suskind, the boy’s parents, will be at the screening and will join in a Q&A following the film. Producer Ben Nabors also will be at the festival for a Q&A following the screening of his latest project, “The Happy Film.” Closing out the Aug. 27 program is a live music concert by Fort Collins-based four-sister group SHEL.

The festival closes Aug. 28 with the family friendly program Kidz Kino beginning at noon. It will include hands-on educational activities as well as a two-hour afternoon program of family-friendly short films, including “Zebra,” “Giraffes Diving,” “Pickle” and “Sweet Cocoon.” The evening concludes with “Million Dollar Duck,” which focuses on the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried, art competition run by the U.S. government.

This will be Wheeler executive director Gena Buhler’s second year at the helm of the festival.

“We set a record last year with attendance so the pressure is on to top that, and I’m confident we’ll do that with the awesome festival we have planned,” Buhler said in an announcement. “On top of the amazing list of films, I’m really excited about all of the free community events that we’ll soon announce that will allow everyone to fully immerse themselves in the topics and stars of these documentary films.”

A lineup of free community events will be announced in coming weeks.

Festival passes will go on sale Monday at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (http://www.aspen showtix.com), with single tickets to follow at the end of July. The full film lineup for is online at http://www.wheeleroperahouse.com.


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