Mountainfilm fest: a respite from snowless winter

Rain, ice and a drought of snow have made this winter almost unbearable for people who would rather be outdoors playing. As Homer hopes for fluffy white flakes falling from the sky, an annual cabin fever cure can be relied upon — the Mountainfilm Festival.

Sponsored by Homer Community Recreation and a benefit for the program, Mountainfilm picks some of the best short films shown at the Telluride, Colo., Mountainfilm festival. Traditionally a festival of films about sports like skiing, surfing and climbing in wild locales, Mountainfilm has grown to include films on environmental and social topics.

Mountainfilm on Tour is a traveling road show led by guides from the festival who talk up the films as well
as show them. 

This year’s roster includes films showing things snow-starved Homerites would love to be doing, like “Supermom,” about a former free-skiing champion now the mother of two boys who hits the slopes again. Other films take sport to new heights — literally — with a slack line walker who walks the highline between two balloons.

Other films explore environmental issues. In “Marshland Dreams,” an Iraqi exile looks to see if the marshes of Mesopotamia still exist after Saddam Hussein tried to destroy them as refuges for rebel forces. In a “Beautiful Waste,” filmmaker Steven Duncan journeys into New York’s sewers.


Mountainfilm on Tour

Where: Homer Mariner Theatre 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday
Admission: $10 each show, available at the Homer Bookstore and
the City of Homer Community Recreation office

Proceeds benefit Community Recreation


Thursday films

Duke and the Buffalo

Every year, Duke organizes a roundup of the largest conservation herd of American buffalo. It turns out bison aren’t as easily herded as cattle, and a lot of cowboy mettle gets tested every year. 


Wendy Fisher ruled the women’s big mountain freeskiing scene from 1996 to 2004. Then she had kids and traded in the life of a professional skier for being a mom. This film checks in with her to see if she’s still got it on the steeps of British Columbia and Chile.

A Beautiful Waste

Filmmaker Steve Duncan journeys down to the core of the Big Apple to wander its sewers with all its nastiness, but also something beautiful.

Catch It

French surfer Lea Brassy’s nomadic lifestyle has led her to Northern Norway, where frigid waves crash into a rugged coastline and mountains rise straight up from the sea.


Fourteen-year-old climber Kai Lighter’s introduction to the sport is striking. Much like Tiger Woods in golf or the Williams sisters in tennis, he could change the demographics of climbing. This film, directed by Telluride’s George Knowles, isn’t about race, however; it’s about family. His single mother has become his regular belay partner, one who also makes sure that he maintains straight A’s in school.

Tyler Howell

Downhill skateboarder Tyler Howell embraces his surf style in the hills of Santa Barbara, Calif., stylishly descending at amazing speeds and wearing nothing more than shorts and a T-shirt.

Stars Above Lofoten

A group of Norwegian students on a star-gazing field trip learn about astronomy and astrophysics and also get philosophical about their place in the universe.

Summer Light

This short film is an ode to summer and a reminder to hold on to the magical memories of youth.

Mending the Line

In 1944, 20-year-old Frank Moore landed on the beaches of Normandy. The young soldier daydreamed about coming back in peacetime to fish the bucolic streams. Now 90 years old, Moore completes the dream with his wife and son by his side.

Kelly McGarry Rampage

Professional mountain biker Kelly McGarry recorded his run at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage with a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. 



Saturday films

El Sendero Luminoso

World-renowned free solo climber Alex Honnold went to Mexico with a film crew in hopes of capturing what many regard as the most difficult, ropeless climb ever attempted.

Off-width Outlaw

One of the most accomplished off-width climbers in the world, Pamela Shanti Pack, seeks out North America’s most challenging inverted and vertical cracks.  

The Record Breaker

Ashrita Furman is the greatest record breaker of all time. Underwater bicycling, upside-down juggling, splitting apples with a samurai sword — you name it, Ashrita has done it. 

The Balloon Highline

Slacklining no longer seems to need the expanse of trees or other earthbound objects — only some kind helium and a cool buzz.

Marshland Dreams

Once the largest ecosystem in the Middle East, the Mesopotamian Marshes were destroyed by Saddam Hussein so that they couldn’t shelter rebel forces. Drained and burned, the vital wetland habitat seemed lost forever. Iraqi exile Azzam Alwash never accepted that this magical place of his childhood could simply cease to exist.

The Karsts of China

Sprinkled across the vast country of China are pockets of geologic wonder: surreal forests of limestone fins, monumental arches and slender towers. Climbers Cedar Wright, Emily Harrington and Matt Segal and National Geographic photographer Carsten Peter spend a month roaming the country, seeking otherworldly formations and unclimbed routes in an exploration of wild landscapes.

64 mph

The San Joaquin Couloir is one of Telluride’s most iconic backcountry lines. Greg Hope is one of the town’s best-known rippers. In “64 mph,” the two meet for one slough-dodging, high-velocity descent.


There’s a highly anticipated beast of a winter wave in Newport Beach, Calif., that rolls in heavy and attracts hordes of brave souls who attempt to drop into its steep face.

Bryan and Kaia

Mountain biker Bryan Gregory attempts to keep up with his dog, Kaia, on a piece of Pacific Northwest single track. 

Tashi and the Monk

In a remote community in the foothills of the Himalaya, a former monk struggles under the weight of his calling. Once a spiritual teacher in the U.S., Lobsang returned to India to create a community for orphaned and neglected children.