Aspen’s MountainSummit film lineup set | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s MountainSummit film lineup set

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Wheeler Opera House and Mountainfilm in Telluride have announced the lineup for MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen, the annual issue-oriented film festival co-presented by the two organizations. The fourth MountainSummit is set for Aug. 23-26 at the Wheeler.The festival opens with “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” a portrait of the acclaimed, politically outspoken Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei that earned a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival. First-time director Alison Klayman, who as a journalist in China had unprecedented access to her subject, will be in attendance for a Q&A session.Closing MountainSummit will be “Under African Skies,” which earned the Audience Award for Documentary Feature at the South by Southwest Festival. Joe Berlinger’s film tracks Paul Simon’s return to South Africa several decades after making his groundbreaking “Graceland” album there, and examines the political backlash the musician received for visiting South Africa while a U.N. cultural boycott was in effect. Featured in the film along with Simon are Maya Angelou, David Byrne, Philip Glass, Paul McCartney, and members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who contributed to “Graceland.”MountainSummit will also screen “The Dust Bowl,” the latest exploration of American history by Ken Burns. “The Dust Bowl,” about the early 20th century drought on the Great Plains and its after-effects, will be screened in two parts prior to its TV broadcast in November. Burns will be in attendance for a discussion.Other films being screened include “Ethel,” Rory Kennedy’s portrait of her mother Ethel, the widow of Robert Kennedy; “Chasing Ice,” photographer James Balog’s investigation into climate change and the implications for the Arctic icecaps; “Bidder 70,” Beth and George Gage’s film about Tim DeChristopher, an activist who was imprisoned for disrupting a gas and oil land auction in Utah; “Ready to Fly,” about a young athlete’s effort to have womens ski-jumping made an Olympic sport; “Big in Bollywood,” the story of an Indian-American actor becoming a star in India; and “Living Downstream,” Sandra Steingraber’s critical look at the effects of pesticides on soil, air and water.In addition to Klayman and Burns, guests at the festival will include Balog, the Gages, Steingraber, and Lindsey Van and Bill Kerig, the subject and director, respectively, of “Ready to Fly.” Rory Kennedy will participate via Skype link.MountainSummit will also include two evenings of free screenings of outdoor and adventure films, presented at the Ute Mountaineer; and two morning Coffee Talk discussions, with guests to be announced.Full festival passes and day passes for MountainSummit will go on sale July 23. For further details, go to wheeleroperahouse.com.stewart@aspentimes.com