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Telluride film festival rolls into town

What: Mountainfilm On Tour Where: MY Place When: March 15, 16 Mountain maniacs and peak freaks rejoice, Telluride’s Mountainfilm On Tour is back bigger and better than ever and ready to raise another crop of cash for local environmental projects

What: Mountainfilm On Tour

Where: MY Place

When: March 15, 16

Mountain maniacs and peak freaks rejoice, Telluride’s Mountainfilm On Tour is back bigger and better than ever and ready to raise another crop of cash for local environmental projects in the Whistler area.

Each spring for the past 25 years, the tiny town of Telluride has turned into a major movie mecca, attracting adventure, wilderness and mountain buffs from around the world. But with the Canadian dollar not that strong in the ol US of A, most of us north of the border could barely afford the program, let alone the air ticket. Not to worry though, those good people behind the festival, and Seattle’s Raynier Institute, are bringing the films to us.

The festival’s director for 12 years, Rick Silverman, is personally making the trip to Whistler to introduce this year’s films.

"I don’t do many of the tours anymore but I’m certainly smart enough to go to Whistler," he said. "Last year we sold out there for both screenings so it certainly justifies coming back, apart from the fact all proceeds go entirely to the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation’s Environmental Fund."

The Environmental Fund allows Whistler-Blackcomb staff to make donations every pay cheque, which are in turn matched by the Foundation. Since its creation in 2000, more than $25,000 has been raised for local conservation projects. Just last year, the improvements were outstanding. The money went to rehabilitating Jordan Creek, helping local bear researcher Micheal Allen, planting trees in local wetlands and erecting bridges and catwalks in the Train Wreck bike trail at Function Junction to avoid erosion.

So apart from raising money for a good cause, what can people expect from the two night Telluride showcase?

"It’s going to be an eclectic mix of films with about 10 shows per screening. There’ll be a few festival favourites that vary from an hour in length to little shorts. There’ll be comedy, there’ll be animation, there’ll be some pretty hard-hitting things to take in and you’ll see some remarkable places that you could safely say are the last bastions of unsullied nature," Silverman said.

Mountainfilm on Tour always shows something from Telluride and this year’s offering is particularly unusual. The film is called French Fries To Go about a local inventor who has developed a process to reuse the spent oil from cooking fried foods by putting it into cars.

"Restaurants pay him to truck it away, then he’s distilling it and turning it into fuel. It’s also an interesting trip into the counter-culture of life in Telluride, plus it’s very lively and very good filmmaking," said Silverman.

Here is a small snippet of the 2003 Whistler Mountainfilm Schedule. More films are to be added and the line-up is subject to change due to last minute whims.

SATURDAY, MARCH 15

FRONT RANGE FREAKS

Peter Mortimer

Once in a while it seems there really is nothing left to climb – a humorous glimpse of world class climber Timmy O’Neill in Boulder. (USA, 2002, 7 min)

FRENCH FRIES TO GO

Howard Donner

Environmentalism at its best and in Telluride. This is a fast-paced look at how one person can make a difference. (USA,, 2002, 12 min)

A CONVERSATION WITH HARIS

Sheila M. Sofian

Growing up during the Bosnian War has given 11-year-old Haris wisdom beyond his years. (USA 2001, 6 min)

MINI GOLF IN THE CHUGACH

Ben Knight

Forget tapping little balls around a putt-putt green, "mini golf" is an Alaskan heli-ski term for short and steep. Alaska, where every run is the best run of your life. Eleven minutes, no plot — just loud music, video and pretty pictures. (USA, 2002, 11 min)

WADE DAVIS, THE EXPLORER

Andrew Gregg

Wade Davis is an anthropologist, botanical explorer and best-selling author.  Gregg’s brand-new film biography follows Wade from a river trip with his family on the Stikine in Alaska and Northern B.C. to the Inca ruins of the high Peruvian Andes. Wade has lived with 15 different indigenous tribes in Latin American countries – not just studying them with his Harvard-trained keen intellect but immersing himself in their traditions, customs and ways of life. Gregg’s film also gives us a glimpse into the private man we have come to adore for his passions and wisdom. Here is a relaxed, joyful, very caring person who makes his daughters giggle when they talk about him. (Canada, 2002, 42 min)

SUNDAY, MARCH 16

DOOLITTLE DOES SOMETHING

Gus Guscoria

A comical look behind the scenes at Lissa Margett’s Rocky Mountain Art Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Jeb, the improbable summer intern, will take us on a tour of this refuge for orphaned or injured wildlife. So get ready to be educated, surprised and enlightened by the important work that goes on in the special place we call The Ark. (USA, 2002, 20 min)

MZIMA: HAUNT OF THE RIVERHORSE (Best of Mountainfilm 2001)

Mark Deebles & Victoria Stone

There is a mountain range in Kenya where the rains fall regularly, but the porous lava soaks up the water immediately and it disappears, not to surface again for 50 kilometres and 25 years. The crystal-clear spring that the water produces is called Mzima, Swahili for wild, and it is like no other place on earth. For reasons scientists can only speculate about, and local legends leave in myth, the entire waterway is a haven for hippos, and the fertilization that is produced by their dung has created an entire ecosystem like no other place on the African continent. Sparkling clear, these waters are now home to crocodiles, fish, birds, etc., all living in waters of such brilliant lucidity that looking into it is as revealing as peering through glass. The revelation of this Eden-like landscape is the work of an extraordinary husband-and-wife team who spent two years camping on site with their two small children. (UK, 2001, 57 min)

THE MIGHTY RIVER

Frederic Back

The focus on rivers and dams of Mountainfilm, 2002 demands that we bring back an exquisite piece, awarded Best Environmental Film at our Festival in 1994. How Frederic Back can turn his light touch into such powerful images is the mystery and genius of his films, which have earned him two Oscars, countless other prizes and won the hearts of people all over the planet. Here he captures, in boundless blues, the abundant life of a river – all rivers – under siege and entreats us to undo the damage we’ve done. (Canada, 1997, 25 min.)

UNCOMMON GROUND

Rob Frost

There is a lot of climbing in the northeastern United States, ranging form traditional to sport climbing, bouldering to hairy first ascents. Rob Frost’s film has you at the edge of your seat, holding your breath for those fingers to grip, the foot to find a hold and the rope to do its job. Excellent climbing, fun interviews and beautiful scenery meld into a great climbing film. (USA  2002, 45 min)

THE ACCIDENTAL MOUNTAINEER

Lee Goss

Barbara Washburn certainly never set out to place herself in alpine annals or to be a climber at all. Yet somehow (what else would anyone do on a honeymoon?) she did it, and with the same kind of humour and class that typifies everything she has ever done. Barbara Washburn emerges a delightful woman, delightfully portrayed. (United States,  8 min.)

LE COCHON DE GASTON (TRUFFLE HUNTERS)

Frederic Fougea

In the mountains of southwest France, truffles have been treasured for centuries and prized for their taste, flavour and scent. The keen sense of smell of the pig is the best way to find where they flower deep below the ground.  For 60 years Gaston has been raising pigs, but at 200 kilos, his most recent truffle hunter, "Kiki," is capable of pursuing his own ideas. (France,  26 min.)

LE JOUET

Patrice Aubertel & Jean Nerva

A young boy in Paris finds a small plastic superhero and begins to play with it in the streets of Paris, or is it really just a snowboarder in the Alps? A lovely "pas de deux" between elegant shooter Aubertel and producer-boarder Nerva. (France, 11 min.)

Tickets to each day’s screenings are $15 or $24.99 for both days. Contact the MY Place box office for advance purchases. This event sold out last year so get your tickets early. Ph: 604-935-8418.




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