Telluride Mountainfilm: Josh Aronson

Telluride Mountainfilm: Josh Aronson

[ click "Play" button to hear Susan's interview with Josh Aronson]

DSCN6170  Part-time local Josh Aronson is a regular at Telluride Mountainfilm, an event that began as a homespun gathering of gnarly outdoor adventurers and evolved into a crazy quilt of lively talks, memorable exhibits, and yes, films. (Mountainfilm's current program director, David Holbrooke, is also a filmmaker.)

Josh received an Oscar nomination in 2001 for his very first film, "Sound & Fury," which documents one family's struggle over whether or not to provide two deaf children with cochlear implants, devices that can stimulate hearing. Implants are hot-buttons in the deaf community: while they provide easier access to the hearing world, they also challenge one's identity within the deaf culture. "Sound & Fury" screened at Mountainfilm following its premiere at Sundance.

DSCN6213 In 2005, Mountainfilm showed Josh's "Bullrider," another feature-length documentary that took us into the heart of the 2004 PBR finals in Las Vegas. The testosterone-laced drama Josh managed to pull off on screen winds up looking and feeling like an action flick, right up to the thrillingly poignant curtain. "Bullrider" is an incisive, insightful portrait of modern-day gladiators at work and at play.

One year later, in 2006, Mountainfilm's former director, Rick Silverman, featured Josh's "Beautiful Daughters." The documentary tells the story of three transsexual women and provides an inside look at the first all-transsexual production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," performed in L.A. with a cast of 30 transwomen from across America.

In 2008, Josh began to produce portraits of individuals, about 20, who live up and down the Hudson River. The series of shorts was designed to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's first trip up the river in September 1609. For this project, Josh wore all the hats: creator/writer, producer, director, cameraman, and editor. The films will run as interstitial programing on PBS stations this year. The few we previewed, including the story of a Coast Guard icebreaker and the perspective of a present-day lighthouse keeper, were meticulously crafted and shot with Cartier Bresson-like insight, imagination, and restraint. Any one of Josh's frames would make a collectible still. Mountainfilm 2009 plans to serve up an appetizer of the Hudson Valley series: two of these gems will be screened Friday night at The Nugget.

One month after Mountainfilm, June 24 – July 5, Josh, a high level amateur classical pianist, returns to town, this time in the role of co-producer (with Vincent and Anne Mai) of the Telluride Musicfest. The event's artistic director is Josh's wife, violinist Maria Bachmann of the critically acclaimed Trio Solisti. Musicfest 2009 celebrates Mendelssohn's 200th birthday plus new music by Composer-in-Residence, the redoubtable Philip Glass.

Press the "play" button on his podcast to here more about Josh's rich life and work.

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