Mountainfilm Travels To NYC
This weekend, people enjoying the 2010 Mountainfilm program will be surrounded by skyscrapers instead of mountains—the film festival is screening some of its finest flicks in New York City at the Lincoln Center this Oct. 22-24, including Tom Shadyac's I Am and Reel Thing Productions' Bag It. Mountainfilm is also sharing its message about the extinction crisis (the festival's 2010 theme) by hosting a discussion with a panel of experts at the event.
Over the years, Mountainfilm in Telluride has evolved from its roots as a cinematic collection of outdoor adventures into something even more significant. Today, Mountainfilm offers a broader perspective on the world, a group of films, books and conversations by people who share a love for the natural world and a passion for protecting our place in it. The documentaries presented still portray the pioneering adventurers of the outdoors, but now films like I Am and Bag It also make another type of connection with audiences. They ask tough questions about how over-consumption and greed are affecting our world.
Shadyac (director of such Hollywood favorites as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty) had a Newton-style epiphany when he bumped his head in a mountain biking accident. His head injuries (the cumulative effect of past accidents) were serious, and part of his recovery included some soul searching. Did he really need a 17,000-square-foot home on a sprawling estate? Weren't there people in the world starving and suffering from poverty? The result of that introspection was the narrative for his first documentary film, I Am. Shadyac, a sometimes-Tellurider whose long hair, fitness and casual style make him indistinguishable from the locals, premiered I Am here in 2010 and it was an instant hit.
Shadyac shared the 2010 Mountainfilm audience award with Bag It. Bag It was created in Telluride, by local director/editor Suzan Beraza and starring Jeb Berrier, a beloved Telluride TV host, actor and comedian. The film revealed the ecological and physical impacts of the plastic products that we use and throw away every day, from the choking of marine life on the huge islands of plastic trash that float in the ocean to the sterility and sexual impotency caused by the toxins that exist in plastic packaging and products. Bag It resonated with people here, and the town council passed an ordinance against the use of the ubiquitous single-use plastic bags at local markets. The environmental, social and cultural messages that these documentaries and all of the program contained are too important to keep to ourselves here in this little Telluride valley, and it's good to see Mountainfilm is carrying them beyond our mountains and into NYC; we just hope they carry them in something reusable.
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