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Movie details sprawl effects

Jeremy Heiman

Valley residents will have two opportunities in coming days to view “Subdivide and Conquer, a Modern Western,” an independent film about the consequences of sprawling development in the American West.

“Subdivide and Conquer,” created by local filmmaker Chelsea Congdon, will be presented Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Isis Theatre in Aspen and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale. Admission is free, and a panel discussion will follow each showing of the one-hour film.

Congdon’s film was named “Best Environmental Film” at the 1999 Telluride MountainFilm Festival. The drawling voice of television cowboy Dennis Weaver narrates, and the soundtrack features the sounds of Gene Autry.

“It’s a film about the consequences of sprawl on our daily lives,” Congdon said. Among those ramifications are social and economic costs, as well as environmental problems, she said.

“People are forced to spend a lot of time in their cars, getting to where we live and work and play,” Congdon said.

The panel will lead a discussion on the implications of growth in the valley and across the state. Panel moderator will be Steve Alldredge, a screenwriter and former director of Aspen Filmfest. Other panelists will include Congdon, Pitkin County planning director Cindy Houben, developer John Sarpa, Denver planner Bill Lamont, University of Colorado geographer Bill Riebsame, local rancher Reeves Brown, local journalist Ben Gagnon and local designer Don Ensign.

Alldredge describes “Subdivide and Conquer” as an important film which emphasizes the importance of planning the way we build. He said the film-and-discussion format of the presentations suits him.

“As a screenwriter, I love to be able to take a shorter film, show it to an audience and then have a discussion,” Alldredge said. “You get a chance to share ideas and enlighten them.”

“Subdivide and Conquer” is presented locally by First Light Films, Congdon’s film production company, in association with the Isis Theatre and the Crystal Theatre. The showings are supported by Colorado Audio Visual, Flying Dog Brewery, Aspen Filmfest, Aspen Valley Improvement Association and the Central Mountains Region of the American Planning Association.

Congdon was consulting producer for “Cadillac Desert,” a four-part television film produced by Public Broadcasting Service about water issues in the Western United States. With First Light, Congdon is now producing a documentary about restoration of rivers in the West, concentrating on the Colorado River.

Refreshments will be on sale in the theaters.

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Posted:Wednesday, October 25, 2000


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