Mountainfilm: No Pass? No Problem

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No pass? No problem?

Mountainfilm offers host of free programs.

Mountainfilm rolls into Telluride this week, a tidal wave of documentary films, theater speakers, panel discussions, adventure tales, scientific discourse, bold activism, and outdoor events.

It’s a lot to digest, and a lot to plan for. And what many locals may not realize is that amid the talks and walks and films and presentations, there are many events that are free to the public. So many that you can string together an entire itinerary without having a pass, get your yearly dose of inspiration even if you don’t have a lanyard.

At Mountainfilm, we believe in spreading our stories of indomitable spirit far and wide, but we also don’t want to forget the people who live in our backyard.

That said, the following guide of free festival events should ensure that you emerge from the festival moved, motivated — or at least with your mindset shifted.

Mountainfilm will offer free movies under the stars Wednesday through Sunday night at the Base Camp Outdoor Theatre in Town Park. Movies start at 8:45 p.m. nightly. [Photo courtesy of Gus Gusciora/Mountainfilm]

1. Base Camp Outdoor Theatre

Each spring as the aspen leaves begin to unfurl, Mountainfilm’s production team transforms the Town Park stage into a state-of-the-art outdoor theater called Base Camp. And for five nights beginning Wednesday, May 24, Mountainfilm beams films from this impressive screen under the stars to audiences who tote low-backed chairs, blankets, and warm layers to the park for a special movie experience. This year’s lineup features the must-see space film “The Farthest,” which chronicles the historic Voyager space probe mission (Wednesday); the ever popular Adrenaline program, which collates high-flying and physics-defying extreme sports shorts into a night of adventure (Saturday); and “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey,” which chronicles the life and achievements of 94-year-old climbing pioneer Fred Beckey (Sunday). Films begin at 8:45 p.m. nightly.

2. Town Talks 

For candid conversations between big-name and fascinating guests who run the gamut from New York Times columnist Roger Cohen to best-selling author Cheryl Strayed, artist Justin Brice Guariglia and longtime Obama science advisor John Holdren, check out our Coffee & Conversations and their afternoon counterparts, Booze & Banters. These free events take place from 8-9 a.m. Saturday-Monday (Coffee), and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (Booze) at venues across town, and are ground zero for some of the meatiest and most interesting conversations at the festival. The coffee is free, but don’t forget to bring your own cup!

3. Free-Range Programs

Mountainfilm is rooted in getting people outside, and in that spirit the festival hosts Free-Range Programs, which take participants out on local trails and locations to experience Telluride’s outdoors. This year’s lineup ranges from an outdoor cheffing demo with Eduardo Garcia, star of the documentary “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story,” (major story/podcast here)to a full nature immersion (complete with medical measurements to test the science behind the good feelings) with “The Nature Fix” author Florence Williams (see major story on Williams/listen to podcast) to a climate-change walk with scientists Dick Waring and Steve Running. There will even be a meander down the Valley Floor to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the land acquisition. 

4. Gallery Walk

The Gallery Walk fills venues downtown with art and crowds. [Photo courtesy of Mountainfilm]

Mountainfilm celebrates the two-dimensional work of its photographers, activists, and artists with the Gallery Walk, which fills galleries and venues downtown with bold, beautiful and change-making work. This year, don’t-miss exhibits by Justin Brice Guariglia, (see major story on the artist/listen to podcast) a big-thinking artist whose art tackles the Anthropocene (Telluride Gallery of Fine Art); our artist-in-residence Lindsey Ross, who specializes in the old, slow process of wet-plate collodion photography (Telluride Arts HQ), and Renan Ozturk, who’s show chronicles the threatened and fascinating practice of honey harvesting on sheer cliffs in Nepal (Mixx Gallery). The opening reception is Friday from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

5. Reading Frenzy. 

Mountainfilm’s Sunday afternoon Reading Frenzy is a bookworm’s dream. The event, organized by Telluride’s own indie bookstore, Between the Covers, brings festival authors, ranging from Tim Laman to Florence Williams and Craig Childs, to the Hotel Madeline Ballroom to sign and sell their books. It runs from 2-4 p.m.

6. Ice Cream Social 

Because who doesn’t like free ice cream? The social, which takes place Saturday afternoon on Colorado Avenue between Aspen and Fir streets, is part street dance, part farmers market, and part outdoor gathering to learn about action initiatives and chat about the films, art, and ideas that have most blown your mind. As a bonus, the ice cream is provided by Lucas Price of La Cocina de Luz. The Social takes place from 2-3:30 p.m.

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