TELLURIDE – Mountainfilm in Telluride – part film festival, part think tank – heads to New York next weekend. Co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Green Screens program, the three-day festival, focusing on the extinction crisis, includes screenings, receptions, panels and conversations with experts and activists who are on the front lines of the environmental battle. Programmed by Isa Cucinotta and Marian Masone of the Film Society, and by David Holbrooke and Emily Long of Mountainfilm, with a special thanks to Ronnie Planalp for her support, Mountainfilm in Telluride comes to Lincoln Center with its eclectic mix of films focusing on adventure, exploration and the environment Friday, Oct. 22-Sunday, Oct. 24.
As is the case with the annual Memorial Day festival, Mountainfilm in New York will feature screenings, receptions and conversations throughout the weekend with filmmakers and subjects, including top experts and activists from the front lines of the climate movement. Friday night kicks off with blockbuster filmmaker Tom Shadyac’s groundbreaking I Am, an introspective look at happiness and, at the same time, a commentary on the dark side of the American Dream. Shadyac questions why prosperity doesn’t correlate with happiness, interviewing spiritual thinkers about his fundamental question: If we can collectively question our culture of consumption and find a new paradigm of connectedness and kindness, can we truly be richer for it? Shadyac, who will introduce the screening, and a longtime friend of Mountainfilm, is best knowan as the director of blockbuster comedies along the lines of Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor and Bruce Almighty), yet despite his professional achievements and financial success, he felt unfulfilled. Showtime: 7 p.m., with filmmaker present. Reception to follow.
Saturday night brings 180 South filmmakers Jeff Johnson, Timmy O’Neill and Rick Ridgeway to Lincoln Center at 7 p.m. Their film chronicles events of 1968, the year mountaineers Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face) were part of a team that drove down to South America to climb a new route on the fabled Mt. Fitzroy. Four decades later, mountaineer Johnson retraced the epic trip to recapture the same spirit on his own journey to Patagonia as he encounters grizzled wise men from the mountains and beautiful surfer girls from Easter Island. The result is a lovely and thoughtful film about the true nature of adventure that tells the story of an unspoiled frontier that needs to be protected. For information, visit http://www.180south.com. Showtime: 7 p.m., with filmmakers present.
Sunday opens up into day of programming, beginning with an Extinction Panel (2 p.m.), featuring philanthropist Greg Carr, who is revitalizing a moribund game park in Mozambique, and scientist Laurie Marker, founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
As E.O. Wilson has written, “The key to life on this planet is biodiversity.” But today, with climate change, habitat loss and disease threatening thousands of species, the complex web of life on earth is unraveling. The result is the sixth major extinction in this planet’s history with species dying off every 20 minutes, and unlike previous extinction events, this is the first to be caused by humans. Carr and Marker head up a panel discussion among scientists and activists who are on the front lines of this crisis to discuss what can be done. After the panel, Trip Jennings’ 23-minute Flathead Wild, shot at the headwaters of America’s most pristine river, where a mining project is proposed that would destroy an irreplaceable landscape, critical habitat for both rare and endangered species. Photographers from the International League of Conservation Photographers capture the beauty of this wilderness treasure as a step toward protecting it. For more information, visit http://www.flathead.ca/.
At 5 p.m., adventurer/filmmaker Jon Bowermaster takes the stage to introduce his new film, SoLa, his a documentary about the people in Southern Louisiana who were directly affected by the disastrous British Petroleum oil spill. One of the first documentaries about the Gulf, SoLa deepens our understanding of what has been so badly damaged, environmentally and culturally. Visit www.jonbowermaster.com/filmpresskit/sola.php#photo/sola/DSC_0107.jpg for more information. Following the screening of SoLa, Telluride husband-and-wife filmmaking duo George and Beth Gage take the stage, alongside Tim DeChristopher, the 27-year-old subject of their film, Bidder 70, for a sneak peek of their newest documentary, about DeChristopher’s successful bid, at a government auction of federal lands for drilling rights, that he attended in December, 2008, intending to protest. Asked if he was there to bid, DeChristopher said yes, and was handed paddle number 70, which he used to bid for $1.7 million worth of leases that he had no intention of paying for. This bold act of civil disobedience, one of the signal moments of the climate movement, has left DeChristopher facing a federal trial on November 5.
The weekend climaxes Sunday, at 7:30 p.m., with a screening of Telluride filmmaker Suzan Beraza’s funny yet disturbing documentary, Bag It Beraza and Bag It star Jeb Berrier introduce the documentary in which Berrier, a father-to-be, challenge the audience to try going a day without using plastic, which, as Everyman Berrier discovers, in his efforts to do so, is everywhere and infiltrates our lives in unimaginable and alarming ways. Bag It starts out being about plastic bags, but soon evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and how it affects our lives, bodies and waterways. For more information, visit http://www.bagitmovie.com.
Tickets to Mountainfilm in Telluride/Lincoln Center are available through filmlinc.com, the Film Society of Lincoln Center (212/875-5601) or at the Walter Read Theater box office. Individual tickets cost $12 ($9, students; $8, seniors; $7, Film Society members); a five-film package is available for $45 (general public); $35 (students and seniors) and $30 (Film Society members).