Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mountainfilm 2010 | Part 2: A Few Favorite Films

After posting my musings on the question, "What is Mountainfilm?" I wanted to add a few thoughts about some of my favorite films from this past festival.  I need to say that there were several films that I did not get a chance to see that sounded incredible.  But of the ones that I saw, here were my favorites (in no particular order):

"I Am"
Tom and his production team watch their premiere at the Palm
Director Tom Shadyac’s deeply personal journey begins with the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” and comes full circle to discover that the question “What’s right with the world?” can yield the same answer with very different perspective.  

His search - as it plays out through interviews with some of the greatest minds of today - is empowering and accessible, profoundly thoughtful and deeply moving.  Basic premises of accepted human urges toward aggression and consumption are questioned and a paradigm shift in our thinking is gracefully and convincingly proposed.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I viewed the premiere of “I Am” at the culmination of a day full of emotional and powerful films, or if it was the content of this film exclusively, but when the end credits began to roll, I was flooded with a rush of endorphins and burst into tears of pure love - for the film and for the potential in all of us.  I am grateful beyond words for Tom’s personal commitment to this movie and to making the world a better place through his own life changes as well as the connection and love that I witnessed in his conversations with others throughout the festival.

I cannot wait for this movie to get larger distribution - I very much look forward to experiencing it again!

"Bag It"

Dr. Theo Colburn, Jeb Berrier and Suzan Beraza talk plastics
Another must see begins as an investigation of the history and consequence of the single-use, disposable plastic bag.  Perhaps that sounds less than gripping, but what a masterpiece this soulful documentary turns out to be!

After work had begun on the film, it was discovered that Jeb (the “average guy” in the film) was expecting his first child.  The intimacy that is conveyed once the investigation now includes the deeply personal question of how to safely bring a newborn baby into the world - how intimate and invasive the situation is with endocrine disruptors in our plastics and every part of our lives - is truly powerful.  Some of the biggest names in the field are interviewed (although I believe the film-makers are still “on hold” with the plastics industry).  The result is an engaging and intimate story combined with a very convincing global message that will leave you seriously examining your own relationship to plastic on every level.

"Eastern Rises"
Discussing the challenges of filming in Kamchatka
Pure Joy.  

A classic Mountainfilm adventure story journeys to the edges of our planet - in this case the spectacular (albeit mosquito infested) beauty of a most remote and pristine wilderness on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.  
We already know that the team of Felt Soul Media are truly gifted film-makers.  Ben’s ability to make the experience of a film absolutely gorgeous has been apparent from his very first works.  What is less expected here is his use of wit and dry humor in this film.  Gorgeous shooting, music, art direction, character development, narration and editing are all perfectly timed and brilliant.  I watched the passion of these characters and though I have never landed a fish on a fly-rod, I could not get enough of their passion and love of the sport (which I almost want to call art).  I can’t wait to add this film to my growing Felt Soul Media collection!


Josh Fox talks about his film and dangers of hydraulic fracturing
Wow.  I wrote in my program the words “ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING” in bold red ink.  I had moments during the screening when I thought I would throw something at the screen.  Which is to say I would highly recommend it!  Josh is a fabulous film maker and this story needs to be heard.
This film is currently running on HBO’s documentary series, and is one that will grab you and make you ANGRY.  Anyone who thinks natural gas is a “natural” or acceptable alternative as a source of energy needs to see this film.  It definitely opened my eyes to a world of questions!

Please visit the Mountainfilm website to learn more.  

They also have a post including links to  most of the festival movie sites from the 2010 lineup here.

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