Mountainfilm: Armchair adventure



All your Facebook buddies might be posting photos of themselves surfing in Maui and you might think you’re the only one left in Homer. You’re not, of course. Lots of us remain in town enduring icy streets and erratic weather. Pity your poor friends not in town next week. They’re going to miss the Telluride MountainFilm on Tour festival.

Homer Community Recreation’s annual event that cheers up the town with two nights of documentary films, MountainFilm shows at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 and Jan.26 at the Mariner Theatre, with admission $10 each night. MountainFilm on Tour pulls films from the film festival held each year in Telluride, Colo. While jaw dropping, high energy adventure films bring some flash to the festival, it’s also one that has become known for quirky little films that often are humorous, sometimes enlightening and always entertaining. For every film of skiers roaring down fresh powder there might be a look at some aspect of an exotic culture or an environmental film challenging us to think in new ways.

Community Recreation Coordinator Mike Illg said he trusted the tour organizers to come up with a good list.

“They’re the ones who are most familiar with what’s cool and what’s not cool,” he said. “I did request some diversity. I didn’t want all adrenaline, nor did I want to pump out something with an environmental theme.”

Adventure films include shorts like “Code Red,” about surfers in Tahiti who surf breaks shut down by the authorities that they see not as a risk but an opportunity. “Last Light” films skiers in Haines during that magical last hour of winter daylight. “Outside the Box” should frighten those scared of heights by looking at climbers who have no fear.

Other films combine adventure with a message, like “The Freedom Chair,” about a skier who pushes his limits when an accident paralyzes him. Films with an environmental message include “Living Tiny,” which explores our obsession with stuff and is about people who live in 200-square-foot homes.

A film that fits in with Community Recreation’s mission of getting people to be active and healthy is “Right to Play,” Illg said. The tour director recommended the film about a Norwegian Olympic gold medalist who uses his drive and dedication to make a difference in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable and victimized children.

While other film festivals like the Homer Documentary Film Festival bring equally interesting films to town, Illg said MountainFilm brings a selection that’s varied in subject and theme as much as in length. Some films run just a few minutes while others are 45 minutes long.

“It really gets people fired up about life in general and gives them a new perspective on things that are happening in the world,” Illg said.

Proceeds from the festival support Community Recreation programs. The play list for each night is different, with no repeats. MountainFilm presenter Karla Brown will be on hand to introduce and discuss the films.
A ski and winter gear swap also is held at
5:30 p.m. the first night of the show on
Jan. 24.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at