Slaton had happened on the festival by chance.
“I was new to the West and first time in Telluride. I had no idea there was going to be a big busy festival going on. Someone told me Peter Kenworthy was the man to talk to and he was right behind me. So, I asked him what the deal was. He gave my wife and me two six-punch passes and told us to figure it out.”
From that beginning, Kenworthy and Slaton grew the idea of Mountain Summit, a joint production of the Wheeler Opera House and Mountainfilm, brought in the rest of their respective teams and put the idea into play. The result, scheduled for Aug. 27-30, will be what Kenworthy calls a “slighty slimmer version of our Telluride festival.”
Says Slaton, “I’m actually the one that held Mountainfilm back on the size and scope of the Mountain Summit festival. This being its first year, and in an unstable national economy, I thought it best to do a concentrated version of the Telluride festival, capturing all of its exciting, unique essence without stretching to embrace all of its size. Plus, while Mountainfilm has brilliantly beefed up its brand over the course of thirty years in Telluride, in Aspen we need to make a concentrated stab in order to claim the ground for a new festival.”
Slaton said it was hard to point to highlights of the upcoming Aspen Festival.
“That would be like choosing which of the dozen is your favorite child,” he said. “The Farm: 10 Down, a world premiere in Telluride, just brilliant. Big River Man with Martin Strehl coming in from Slovenia – crazy. The Yes Men, Horse Boy, Rock Prophecies with Robert Knight in the house, Whittaker, Viesturs, Tim de Christopher, the list is ridiculous. The Cove was the most deeply disturbing beautifully made film I’ve ever seen. There is no fat in the programming, not even a little bit.”
“We have 503 seats in the Wheeler,” Slaton said. “And it’s the perfect intimate live-hall experience for what we’re doing with Mountainfilm. I think we’ll pack the house.”
For more details about Mountain Summit, go to http://www.mountainfilm.org/aspen/schedule.asp