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 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.

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