Alpine Shop brings Mountainfilm to Columbia

This touring festival’s 11 documentaries and short films focus on outdoors sports.

By Kara Tabor | Jan. 8, 2013

Tags: Film

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When: 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 Where: The Blue Note Tickets: $12 now, $15 at the door Use discount code “MUMANEATER” for $2 discount for MU students and faculty!

If you’re the type to get a little stir-crazy this time of year because you can’t be outdoors romping around in nature with your kayak/bicycle/hiking stick/sporting good of choice, here’s your release: the world tour of Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival (click for the tour promo video) is bringing 11 films to CoMo next week to get you up and moving (well, maybe vicariously).

Mountainfilm in Telluride started over 30 years ago in Telluride, Co., and it has since been dedicated to its mission statement ever since of “educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining,” according to the festival’s official site.

Although the Alpine Shop has hosted festival tours such as the Banff Mountain Film Festival and Warren Miller Film Tour in the St. Louis area, this is the first for such an event in Columbia, says manager and event coordinator Brennan VanMatre.

In planning the event, VanMatre says he looked for films that tested “the edges of risks, accomplishment and uses of the outdoors as a playground,” in keeping with the adventurous spirit of the Alpine Shop brand. Many of the selected films show activities that the Alpine Shop outfits such as rock climbing, slacklining and snowboarding.

“I can just really identify with the content of the films,” says VanMatre, an all-around outdoorsman himself who enjoys skiing and trail running. “Festivals like this are great for the outdoor industry.”

VanMatre says these films can encourage some to step out of their shell and also give seasoned adventurers “a visual next level.”

His favorite films in the festival include “Last of the Great Unknown” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” the latter of which he says is “on the high risk edge for adventure and daring.”

Mountainfilm round-up:

We’ve done a little research for you so you can decide which films to catch, but whether it’s high-danger exploration or preserving a planet in peril, these 11 films are all guaranteed to make you feel guilty about appointing the couch as your biggest climb all break.

"I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies)”

The pursuits of these mountaineers surely are not for the faint of heart. In Seb Montaz’s film “I Believe I Can Fly (aka Flight of the Frenchies),” he showcases the Skyliners in all of their aerial glory as they traverse tightropes in France and basejump from cliffs in Norway. The film took the grand prize at the La Rochelle Adventure Film Festival and was featured in the official selection at festivals such as the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, so it’s a must-see for viewers looking for human daring met with the rawness of nature.

”Last of the Great Unknown”

This film from Dan Ransom takes an enormous hulk of nature and reduces it to its nooks and crannies. The piece focuses on the Grand Canyon from a unique perspective -- one that follows the pursuits of modern explorers who seek to enter the canyon’s undiscovered regions by climbing, hiking, and rappelling down into the unknown. Crafted in a documentary style, “Last of the Great Unknown” may be more enjoyable for those interested in canyoneering rather than outdoors-lovers in general.

”Industrial Revolutions”

“Industrial Revolutions” follows street trails biking star Danny MacAskill as he matches a manmade landscape with impressive skill. He rides through an abandoned factory complex, showing that even the remnants of a human environment can be made into his playground. The video is a bit mundane in that it is similar to many other biking clips these days, but BMX enthusiasts may beg to differ.

”The Old Breed”

Here, mountain climbers Mark Richey and Steve Swenson prove that age isn’t a big enough mountain to keep them from the one they really want to tackle. Along with filmmaker and fellow climber Freddie Wilkinson, the 50-something duo ascends Saser Kangri II in the Karakorum Range and conquer the 7,518-meter mountain once and for all. Suspenseful and inspirational, “The Old Breed” will appeal to all ages.

”Eco Ninja”

An office finds its company’s method for eco-improvement more than extreme in Jonathan Browning’s “Eco Ninja.” The short, which won the Audience Choice award at Cine Eco in Portugal, depicts employees being attacked by a ninja who’s hired to make the office sustainable -- or else.

”The Nomad”

Erik Boomer isn’t just walking, kayaking, or skiing around the world; he is searching for something deeper. Skip Armstrong’s film follows Boomer as he sets out into ice, water, desert and city, constantly looking for the fulfillment that he seeks in exploration. Anyone who has ever embarked on a journey of self-discovery can enjoy this enlightening and visually pleasing work.

”Code Red”

Some rules just ask to be broken. The film “Code Red” is a prime example: surfers Laurie Towner and Dylan Longbottom defy the emergency orders of the Tahitian government and risk their lives to take on waves of historic proportion at Teahupoo. Although the film is only 15 minutes long, it is chock-full of perfect slow-motion shots of the surfers risking their lives on 50-foot waves and racing against crashing water in aquatic barrels. “Code Red” is simultaneously terrifying and delightful, and definitely worth the watch.

”Blue Obsession”

Water is also the major player in Alan Gordon’s film “Blue Obsession.” Set in Alaska, Gordon takes a journey through the rapidly disappearing Mendenhall Glacier and finds sublime beauty in a landscape of bright blue ice. Gordon’s cinematography helps support his message of preserving glaciers by providing a rare glimpse of this melting wonder.

“The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks”

This one’s an engaging piece based on a little known and surprising fact: every year, only 1 percent of Yosemite National Park visitors are African American. “The Way Home” thus focuses on a group of African American seniors who travel to Yosemite and meet with the wonder of the incredible place.

”Racing the End”

Take a few hundred bicyclists, a wild desire and a clear path through Los Angeles, and you have the dog-eat-dog struggle to the finish that is Warren Kommers’ “Racing the End.” Organized by the underground biking group Wolfpack Hustle, the race featured in the film takes place illegally on the course of the LA Marathon in the early hours of the morning. An adrenaline rush just to watch, “Racing the End” is highly recommended for its rebellious energy and quality filmmaking.

”Moon Walk”

The first thing that comes to mind when describing “Moon Walk” is its breathtaking surrealism. With a setting that looks like a Pink Floyd album cover, Dean Potter crosses the craggy Cathedral Peak at Yosemite National Park while backed by a colossal moon. Clocking in at under 4 minutes, this short is a must-see for its cinematic beauty, if nothing else.

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