Steamboat library hosts Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour
January 19, 2012
Steamboat Springs — When Jim Nowak travels to remote mountains in Nepal, he sees similarities between the mountain people there and those in his home state of Colorado.
"The common denominator is the genuine generosity of humanity," he said. "Anytime you're out there and you're closer to nature, you'll see that."
Nowak is the founder of the Ridgeway-based dZi Foundation that helps jumpstart community and infrastructural development in remote Himalayan villages, and he will return to Steamboat Springs this weekend to host the Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour event.
At 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the mobile version of Telluride's annual outdoor film festival will light up the projector screen at Bud Werner Memorial Library with 14 short films that cover a range of environmental and adventure genres, from soulful ski films to social dissent rants and daring stunts.
During each night of the festival, Nowak will give a short presentation and show videos of recent work by the dZi Foundation, which in the past three years helped communities in Nepal replace 15 schools, build more than 2,000 toilets and form 98 parent-teacher associations.
Their efforts, he said, help the Nepalese to be "in charge of their own dreams."
The films chosen for Mountainfilm on Tour also reflect the strength of mountain and outdoor communities across the world, as well as humanity's relationship with Mother Nature.
Nowak said one of his favorite films is "Cold," a 20-minute documentation of the harrowing ascent of a Pakistani peak. "Cold" screens tonight.
"It boils it down to that core of mountaineering," he said. "There's no fluff. It shows what it's like and how scary it can be. You realize how much of a speck you really are."
It's not exactly upbeat, and neither is "Kadoma," his favorite movie of the second night of the Steamboat tour. "Kadoma" is about a kayaking tragedy.
That's all part of the power of art reflecting reality.
"Film is supposed to make you think, make you reflect and make you discuss," Nowak said.
Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour listings
Friday, Jan. 20
Ascending an 8,000-meter peak is never easy. In winter, with temperatures plummeting to 30 below zero and colder and with snowstorms raging, it is nearly unthinkable. In fact, of the 17 efforts to ascend an 8,000-meter peak in Pakistan in winter, only one has been successful. That winter ascent of Gasherbrum II by Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards is the subject of "Cold."
Run time: 19 min.
In "Chasing Water," photojournalist Peter McBride sets out to document the flow of the Colorado River from source to sea. A Colorado native, McBride hails from a ranching family that depends on the Colorado for irrigation, and this is the story of his backyard. His simple desire is to find out where the irrigation water of his youth went after his family used it, and how long it took the water to reach the ocean.
Run time: 19 min.
"People keep looking at our shoes and boards in a weird way. They think that they are attached to the boards through some sort of magnetic field." So says 17-year-old Afghani Murza, a teenager from Kabul who has found his oasis in a place called Skateistan. Directed by former professional snowboarder Orlando von Einsiedel, the film documents how a physical action as simple as skateboarding can help dissolve barriers between boys and girls and empower children to believe in their ability to create positive change, even in a bomb-scarred country.
Run time: 10 min.
"Animal Beat Box"
What is the true call of the wild? Here, we travel down a very special river and are introduced to a wide variety of animal kingdom members, each of which contributes their name for the sake of music.
Run time: 4 min.
Sweetgrass Productions offers a poetic ski film set to the haunting Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song "Desert Song." The film provides a glimpse into the beauty of late-season skiing in Haines, Alaska, as well as the extreme turns that still can be had as evenings deepen with long spring shadows.
Run time: 4 min.
The North Fork of the Payette has long been fabled as one of the classics of big water kayaking. "Wild Water," filmed by Anson Fogel, takes us along as kayakers attempt to run this classic during a record high water year.
Run time: 7 min.
"With My Own Two Wheels"
If you think that bikes can save the world — or at least have a hugely positive impact on it — then this film is for you. "With My Own Two Wheels" tells the story of four people whose lives have been deeply changed by bikes. In Africa we meet a visiting nurse who sees infinitely more patients after he acquires a bike; we also meet a remarkable woman who overcomes serious physical handicaps to become the best bike mechanic in her town.
Run time: 44 min.
Saturday, Jan. 21
"Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl")"
Directed by Tiffany Shlain and narrated by Peter Coyote, it is a brief essay (really a rant) about technology and how we need to — as Peter Coyote shouts to the world — "unplug, unplug, unplug and revisit the present tense."
Run time: 4 min.
"One Plastic Beach"
For 12 years, Judith Selby and Richard Lang have collected plastic trash along a one-kilometer stretch of beach near their home in Northern California. At a rate of 35 pounds per hour, it isn't surprising that they have accumulated tons of debris. What may be surprising is the art they produce with it — sculptures and abstract prints reminiscent of Paul Klee and Henri Matisse that feature 1949-vintage toys, Korean lighters, Astroturf (a common find), bubble blowers and hair curlers that may have last adorned a human head 30 or 40 years ago.
Run time: 8 min.
Heath Calhoun would never wish his experience on anyone, but somehow he considers his experience a blessing — which is not what you would expect from someone who lost both legs from a rocket attack in Iraq. The lesson Calhoun has taken from his disability is that the human body can go a lot further than we imagine. On a Wounded Warriors-sponsored trip to Aspen, Calhoun discovered mono-skiing. Within four years, he was competing for the U.S. in the Paralympics. Along the way, he learned that his spirit had gained far more than his body had lost.
Run time: 14 min.
"Waiting for a Train"
"Waiting for a Train" is the story of Japanese-born Toshio Hirano, who took the road less traveled by following a unique and encompassing passion for the music of Jimmie Rodgers. The moment he discovered Rodgers was a transcendent epiphany that inspired him to immigrate to the U.S. through Appalachia and Texas, after which he finally landed in San Francisco. As a man following his bliss, Hirano chases a passionate dream for more than 40 years and is rewarded with a life well lived, one that is filled with music, song and dance.
Run time: 20 min.
"Yosemite Falls Highline"
Filmmaker Renan Ozturk shows us a new angle on slack lining as Dean Potter attempts a perilous crossing at Upper Yosemite Falls.
Run time: 4 min.
"Kadoma" was a nickname for Hendri Coetzee, a legendary South African kayaker who explored some of Africa's wildest rivers. In December 2010, American pro kayakers Chris Korbulic and Ben Stookesbury followed Coetzee into the Democratic Republic of Congo for a first descent of the dangerous Lukuga River. Seven weeks into the expedition, tragedy struck. Coetzee was paddling tip to tail in between the other two men when a 15-foot crocodile surfaced silently and swiftly pulled him underwater. He was never seen again.
Run time: 44 min.
"Way Back Home"
With trial bike in hand, Danny MacAskill returns to the old country to try a few new-school tricks. Filmmaker Dave Sowerby captured MacAskill at play in his hometown of Dunvegan, Scotland.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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