Movies to move mountains

Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah returns

Mountainfilm on Tour Savannah is back to share stories of action, adventure, and the indefatigable human spirit.

Since 2009, the touring film series has been inspiring Hostess City residents of all ages to explore and change the world we live in, and 2018’s festival continues that legacy.

“The festival was started in 1979 in Telluride,” explains Director Leslie Carey. “At that time, it was just a film festival about climbing and extreme sports and adventure. It’s adjusted into us showing a lot of films about environmental awareness, conservation, social justice politics. It’s definitely evolved, but we still have lots of fun adventure shorts!”

Movies to move mountains
"John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale" screens on Saturday.

From Thursday, January 18, to Saturday, January 20, students from local schools and colleges will gain fresh perspective through Mountainfilm during the day. In the evenings, attendees are whisked away to new locales through feature-length and short films and documentaries.

Carey walked Connect Savannah through some of the films she’s most excited for during the three-day festival.

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

Learn about the life and career of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, an icon of the sport. Hamilton refused to compete professionally yet ruled the art of big wave surfing all the same. With never-before-seen archival footage, audiences step into winter surf season on Kauai, where El Nino storm systems are expected to bring the biggest surf in decades. Longtime Hamilton fans will be treated to a deep look into his life through one-on-one interviews with family, friends, collaborators, and Laird himself.

“That’s going to be great,” Carey says of the feature-length kick-off film. “We’re doing a live Q&A with [film maker] Rory Kennedy immediately following the film.”

One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts (2016, USA, directed by Peter Byck)

Meet Will Harris, a fourth-generation farmer in Bluffton, Georgia whose entire business model changed in 1995.

“It’s about his decision to turn his family’s industrial farm into an organic, free-range farm,” says Carey, who cites the film as one of her favorites. “It’s a pretty scary proposition financially, but it turned out to be a wonderful decision. He looked at the animals one day and decided he wanted to treat them in a different way. The ecosystem he’s created has attracted all these bald eagles—I think he has the largest bald eagle population in the state of Georgia! Will Harris is just such a great personality. I think people will really like that.”

While the festival takes audience members all over the world, it’s refreshing to hear a story from right here at home.

click to enlarge Movies to move mountains
Mountainfilm on Tour showcases stories of adventure and the enduring human spirit.

“We do an opening reception every year for our sponsors, and I was talking to the catering director at Cha Bella about our films,” Carey recounts. “I was telling her about ‘One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts’ and she said, ‘We use their meat here!’ It’s nice to have people at home making changes and making the world a better place.”

Chocolate Spokes (2017, USA, directed by Brendan Leonard)

In 2011, Gregory Crichlow opened a brand-new kind of bike shop in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

“He’s really making the effort to revitalize the neighborhood,” Carey says. “He builds custom bikes and helps neighborhood people with bike repairs. It’s much more than just a business to him. He gave up his car and only bikes now.”

Following the screening of the six-minute film, Crichlow himself will participate in a Q&A session.

The Time Travelers (2017, USA, directed by Brendan Leonard and Forest Woodward)

click to enlarge Movies to move mountains
"Zain’s Summer: From Refugee To American" depicts the sunny side of the refugee experience.

In 2016, the U.S. Men’s Rafting Team created a challenge for themselves: attempting to break the speed record for 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon by rowing the entire stretch in only 34 hours. The wildly ambitious feat included creating a 48-foot-long rivercraft, trading customary paddles for oars, and eight months of intense training in anticipation of a January 2017 launch day. As the river rages, the team holds true and learns camaraderie and strength in the face of adventure.

“We’ll have a member of the men’s rafting team here for that,” says Carey excitedly.