Thursday Kick Off Event



Life ,Animated

LIFE, ANIMATED

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires.

Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him.

LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.

Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Friday Night Films

Ace_And_The_Desert_Dog-CREDIT-Forest_Woodward

2016 USA / Duration: 9 mins
Directed by: Brendan Leonard, Forest Woodward, Stefan Hunt


ACE AND THE DESERT DOG

Ace Kvale, a veteran photographer, and Ghengis, a blue heeler “dogger” (that’s canine for “blogger”), live together in the Utah desert. Their backyard: 2 million acres of canyons, redrock cliffs, dry washes, empty landscapes and desert wilderness.

For his 60th birthday, Kvale decided to go on a 60-day backpacking trip. Ghengis, naturally, joined him, along with friends who tagged along for sections.

Ace and the Desert Dog proves that while backpacking may not be sexy, what it lacks in glamor it makes up in meaning. Kvale and Genghis are living proof, plodding along to spectacular places only reachable by foot, following the cycles of the season and learning lasting lessons from one another. Namely: Slow down, spend as much time with your best friends as possible and don’t forget to play.

MF16-STILL-Edges

2016 USA / Duration: 9 mins
Directed by: Katie Stjernholm, Jonathan Hiller


EDGES

She survived being thrown through her windshield in a car crash at the age of 80 and then a major stroke at the age of 85. And still, at the age of 90 years young, Yvonne Dowlen continues to ice skate almost every day. Dowlen insists it’s easier to skate than walk at her age. Her elegance on ice reflects the decades she spent traveling the world as a performer in the Ice Capades and sharing her love of dancing on ice as a teacher. Indeed, skating has helped her recover and rehabilitate from the most challenging times in her life. She spends every day pursuing what makes her happy — and that is the true wisdom in her story.

MF16-STILL-Nascent

2015 Central African Republic / Duration: 7 mins
Directed by: Lindsay Branham, Jon Kasbe


NASCENT

Nascent is proof of how short films can impart big messages. It’s a simple premise: two children, a Christian boy and a Muslim girl, give their perspectives on growing up in the divided and desperately poor Central African Republic. Despite differences in their upbringings and religious backgrounds, the pair share a hopeful vision of peace that would allow them to be friends. This could have been an awkward film or, worse, a treacly one. But in the hands of director Lindsay Branham (who attended school in Telluride in 5th and 6th grade), the result is a thoughtful and powerful documentary that asks the simple question: Why can’t we all just get along?

MF16-STILL-How_We_Choose-CREDIT-Alexandria_Bombach

2016 USA / Duration: 15 mins
Directed by: Alexandria Bombach


HOW WE CHOOSE

After years of war, concrete blockades, corruption, suicide bombings and the departure of friends and family for safer countries, there are few opportunities left in Kabul, Afghanistan.

How We Choose follows several people as they grapple with the heart-wrenching decision to leave their motherland — some illegally — and start over again in a new country. The optimists who stay do so because of their desire to bring about positive change and to help create a hopeful future where suicide attacks are not part of daily life. Staying and going each present much to be lost, as well as gained.

MF16-STILL-Mile_191

2016 USA / Duration: 10 mins
Directed by: Vincent DeLuca


MILE 19

Since the inception of the Los Angeles marathon in 1986, 178 runners have completed every race. They’re called “Legacy Runners.” Johnnie Jameson is a member of this special group, but he’s not an elite runner: He’s a working man, a postal employee. But what he lacks in speed, he makes up in creativity. He ran his first marathon backward, finishing in last place. He dribbled a basketball the next year. Each race, wearing his signature Payless shoes, he stops and talks and takes his sweet time.

And over the years, the marathon has become a form of therapy for Jameson, who was scarred deeply from serving as an infantryman in Vietnam. The annual challenge of running 26.2 miles has helped him cope, grow and recover from those traumatic experiences. “It’s not about how long you out there, it’s about completing the race,” he says. “You gotta grind it out, because life ain’t nothing but a grind.”

This poignant film from Vincent DeLuca conveys a lifetime of lessons in 10 short minutes, spinning a powerful story of resilience, humor and healing.

MF16-STILL-The_Adventure_Dispatch

2016 USA / Duration: 6 mins
Directed by: Warren Kommers


THE ADVENTURE DISPATCH — STEVE FASSBINDER

He’s no Instagram star or sponsored athlete, but longtime Durango resident Steve Fassbinder — aka Doom — is a true explorer. Using fat bikes, climbing gear and inflatable packrafts to access and link up remote destinations, Fassbinder sets out deep into the desert country of the Four Corners, experiencing places few of us will ever see and pioneering a new way of travel. This short film follows Fassbinder and a friend on an adventure that combines tower climbing, narrows biking, canyon camping and rafting with the emptiness of landscapes that are too far off the beaten path for most people.

MF16-STILL-The_Accord.jpg

2016 Iceland / Duration: 18 mins
Directed by: RC Cone


THE ACCORD

Iceland is an island in the very north Atlantic where the wind is unpredictable at best, where perfect waves are almost as rare as albino elephants and where frigid temps require a full wetsuit arsenal.
In other words, being a surfer in Iceland requires a particular mix of hardiness, patience, passion and insanity. And more than anything, it requires befriending that mercurial, capricious, wildly drunken and occasionally benevolent wind.

MF16-STILL-Throw1

2016 USA / Duration: 10 mins
Directed by: Darren Durlach, Dave Larson


THROW

Growing up in East Baltimore surrounded by poverty and violence is hard enough, and Coffin Nachtmahr had the added challenge of being different. He stutters. He never quite fit in, and he was picked on. Then he discovered a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits: yo-yoing. In the subculture of “throwers,” he found purpose, acceptance and community. Today, Coffin is the city’s best, transforming the simple activity of yo-yoing into a transfixing dance of creativity, innovation and connection.

Saturday Matinee

MF16-STILL-Wrestling_Cholita

2016 United Kingdom / Duration: 9 mins
Directed by: Harri Grace


THE WRESTLING CHOLITA

In Bolivia, the indigenous Cholita women are easily recognized by their bowler hats, pollera skirts and plaited braids. Cholitas have long been mistreated in this South American country, but that’s changing, thanks to anti-discrimination legislation and new progressive politicians. It’s also thanks to individuals like Teresa Huayta, the wrestling Cholita. This diminutive woman is a force of nature in the ring, proving with each match that it’s a badge of pride — not a mark of shame — to be a Cholita.

MF16-STILL-Canyon_Song

2016 USA / Duration: 12 mins
Directed by: Dana Romanoff, Amy Marquis


CANYON SONG

Canyon de Chelly, located on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, was once home to the Ancient Puebloans, who lived in the area for thousands of years and built sophisticated homes in alcoves tucked under the cliff walls.

In the winter of 1864, during a systematic campaign to force the Navajo people off their land, the U.S. military faced off against a holdout of Navajo people in Canyon de Chelly. The Navajo tried to escape by scaling the steep walls, but most were taken prisoner and forced to march 300 miles out of the canyon in a deep and bitter cold. The traumatic event is known in Navajo history as the “Long Walk.”

The Draper family is descended from participants in the Long Walk and eventually returned to the canyon. Today, young Tonisha Draper and her little sister, Tonielle, are learning Navajo traditions from their father. This short film follows Tonisha, Toneil and their family as they reclaim their Navajo history and reconnect with ancestors within the canyon walls.

angel

2015 USA / Duration: 4 mins
Directed by: Teton Gravity Research


ANGEL COLLINSON ANNIHILATES ALASKA

In 2015, Angel Collinson won the award for the Best Female Freeride Performance at the Intern­ational Freeskiing Film Festival. It’s not hard to see why: She’s fast, fierce and can send it with the best of them. The spines of Alaska don’t stand a chance against her.

MF16-STILL-FINconceivable-CREDIT-Lily_Williams

2014 USA / Duration: 5 mins
Directed by: Lily Williams


FINCONCEIVABLE

This short film explores the human use of natural shapes to create smart and useful things.

MF16-STILL-Running_Wild3-CREDIT-Garret_Smith

2016 USA / Duration: 7 mins
Directed by: Danny Schmidt


RUNNING WILD

The wolverine is a rugged and resourceful animal that lives in isolated arctic and alpine regions of North America. When a wolverine was photographed in Utah’s Uinta Mountains, scientists installed remote-baited camera stations across 80 miles to learn whether the notoriously ferocious carnivores are expanding their range. Who better to tend the cameras than ultra runners? Able to travel great distances through the mountains quickly and lightly, runners check the cameras, change the batteries and refill the bait in the hopes that they can be part of a scientific discovery.

MF16-STILL-To_Scale_Solar_System1

2015 USA / Duration: 7 mins
Directed by: Alex Gorosh, Wylie Overstreet


TO SCALE: THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Look at any picture of the solar system, and it seems that everything is relatively close together — the moon an inch or two away from Earth, Mars a little over an inch away from the moon and so on. But posters and websites betray the truth: Things are much, much farther apart.

In an attempt to give Earthlings a new perspective of the universe, filmmakers Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh head to the Black Rock Desert to build the first to-scale model of the solar system. With an Earth the size of a marble and seven miles of open space with which to work, Overstreet, Gorosh and a few friends embark on a unique scientific endeavor, creating something that only 24 people in the history of mankind have actually seen: a perspective of the solar system, to scale.

MF16-STILL-One_Of_Those_Days_3

2016 France / Duration: 5 mins
Directed by: Candide Thovex


ONE OF THOSE DAYS 3

A manhunt is underway in the Alps to arrest French skier Candide Thovex. His crime? Where do we start? Dude skis over a helicopter, into camera vans, hits trees, interrupts races and busts through barns. In One of those Days 3, he takes his POV delinquency to new limits.

MF16-STILL-Throw1

2016 USA / Duration: 10 mins
Directed by: Darren Durlach, Dave Larson


THROW

Growing up in East Baltimore surrounded by poverty and violence is hard enough, and Coffin Nachtmahr had the added challenge of being different. He stutters. He never quite fit in, and he was picked on. Then he discovered a lifeline in the unlikeliest of pursuits: yo-yoing. In the subculture of “throwers,” he found purpose, acceptance and community. Today, Coffin is the city’s best, transforming the simple activity of yo-yoing into a transfixing dance of creativity, innovation and connection.

Saturday Evening

MF16-STILL-The_Mysteries

2015 USA / Duration: 8 mins
Directed by: Skip Armstrong


THE MYSTERIES

The vision came to Krystle Wright in a dream: a bird’s-eye view of BASE jumpers in flight over a stark desert landscape. When she awoke, the adventure photographer resolved to make that vision into reality. And with that, the dream turned into an obsession — one that led her on a four-and-a-half-year journey of failed attempts, uncooperative weather, disappointments and inward examination. The Mysteries follows a tenacious, and perhaps crazy, quest to chase down an elusive image and provides a glimpse into the kind of singular passion that drives people to reach their goals, regardless of what stands in the way.

MF16-STILL-Wasfia.jpg

2016 Nepal / Duration: 11 mins
Directed by: Sean Kusanagi


WASFIA

Wasfia Nazreen doesn’t just climb for the thrill; she climbs for a cause. The first Bangladeshi to scale the Seven Summits, Wasfia has made it her purpose to brave these climbs for the sake of something larger – for the women of Bangladesh. Lyrical and poetic, this short documentary is a reflective character portrait that takes us from the depths of Wasfia’s struggles to the highest peaks on the planet, as we explore what it means to pursue the unknown.

MF16-STILL-Property

2016 USA / Duration: 3 mins
Directed by: Allison Otto


PROPERTY

The National Wildlife Property Repository is a 22,000-square-foot warehouse outside of Denver, Colorado, where law enforcement officials around the country send confiscated illegal wildlife items. The repository holds more than 1 million pieces in total and received more than 35,000 items in 2015 alone. Among the seized goods are mounted tigers, kangaroo wallets, crocodile-skin purses and trinkets of carved ivory. The illegal industry that creates these products out of rare and endangered species is one of the biggest contributors to the decline of threatened species. The repository is a little-known but stark reminder of the illicit trade in wildlife that’s changing the face of the planet.

MF16-STILL-Kamchatka-CREDIT-Ryan_Peterson

2016 USA / Duration: 7 mins
Directed by: Travis Rummel, Grayson Schaffer


KAMCHATKA STEELHEAD PROJECT

Located between the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula is home to some of the world’s most abundant steelhead runs. Under Russian law, the thick-bodied fish are protected as an endangered species, and it’s illegal to catch them — unless the fishing is done by anglers collecting biological data. The Kamchatka Steelhead Project is a U.S.-Russia partnership that monitors the steelhead population through catch and release, and over the course of 20 years it’s produced an extensive body of data about the fish in their wild and native habitat.

MF16-STILL-Strongwater1_0

2016 USA / Duration: 10 mins
Directed by: Jordan Halland


STRONGWATER

Surfing typically requires ocean waves, but StrongWater upends that presupposition. In this film, a group of board lovers go surfing — not near the beaches of Hawaii, but to the river city of Missoula, Montana, where surfers have transformed the sport and the scene of this iconic pastime.

MF16-STILL-Across_The_Sky

2015 USA / Duration: 2 mins
Directed by: Tim Kemple, Renan Ozturk, Anson Fogel


ACROSS THE SKY

Walking 500 meters — the length of nearly five football fields — is no big deal. But when you walk it on a slackline, suspended between the great towers of Utah’s Castleton Valley, like Théo Sanson did in November of 2015, it becomes a mega-feat of endurance, exposure and courage.

MF16-STILL-Heavens_Eleven

2016 USA / Duration: 7 mins
Directed by: Wes Coughlin


HEAVENS ELEVEN

Matthias Giraud — aka Super Frenchie — is a pro skier and BASE jumper who was the first person to ski BASE the Matterhorn. Six years ago, he skied off of Ingram Peak in Telluride and returned to do the same on the Heavens Eleven in 2016. The line, which can be seen from the top of Lift 9, features a narrow, rocky, hairy descent, made even more so when the egress of choice is flying. Local filmmaker Brett Schreckengost worked on this film and local skier Herb Manning guided Giraud into the Elevens.

MF16-STILL-When_We_Were_Knights

2016 USA / Duration: 12 mins
Directed by: Anson Fogel


WHEN WE WERE KNIGHTS

Understanding that his life was threaded with risk, climber and BASE jumper Matt Blank embarked on a project: writing letters to his closest friends and family to let them know how much they meant to him. That way, he figured, if his life were cut short he’d leave something behind to express his affection.

What he didn’t expect was that one of the recipients — his best friend and longtime climbing partner Ian Flanders — would go first.

When We Were Knights, an elegiac film by Anson Fogel, explores friendship, partnership, adventure and the many iterations of love that give meaning to our lives.

MF16-STILL-Iceland_Proven_Here-CREDIT-Craig_Grant

2015 USA / Duration: 6 mins
Directed by: Craig Grant, Joey Schusler


ICELAND. PROVEN HERE.

The moss and mountains of Iceland make for an otherworldly landscape. Add Yeti ambassador Sam Seward,
 riding swooping singletrack, and you’ve got yourself mountain biking eye candy at its best.

MF16-STILL-1800GiveUsYourKidney.jpg

2016 USA / Duration: 17 mins
Directed by: Samantha Smith


1-800-GIVE-US-YOUR-KIDNEY

“If I don’t give my kidney to somebody this week, will somebody die waiting for it?” The answer to this question, posed in Samantha Smith’s film, is unequivocally “yes.” Despite that, ethical and practical riddles surround the willingness of a living donor to undergo surgery and bodily mutilation to help a complete stranger. Smith doesn’t delve deeply into these questions. She simply tells the story of a kidney donor and recipient — individuals strikingly different from one another — leaving the audience to ponder the conundrum of more people needing kidneys than kidneys available. As the final credits roll, the viewer may wonder: “What am I doing walking around with two healthy kidneys?”

angel

2015 USA / Duration: 4 mins
Directed by: Teton Gravity Research


ANGEL COLLINSON ANNIHILATES ALASKA

In 2015, Angel Collinson won the award for the Best Female Freeride Performance at the Intern­ational Freeskiing Film Festival. It’s not hard to see why: She’s fast, fierce and can send it with the best of them. The spines of Alaska don’t stand a chance against her.