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Mountain Summit: Aspen's Peak Performance

Mountain Summit 2011. Click for pix. The 3rd Annual Mountain Summit Film Festival in Aspen once again provided mind blowing entertainment while raising the social consciousness in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Mountain Summit is a symbiotic  partnership between MOUNTAIN FILM of Telluride and Aspen's own historic WHEELER OPERA HOUSE.  Mountain Summit screened 15 documentary films in 4 days, lively Q & A sessions, plus a gaggle of free events such as a  complimentary all-u-can eat granola bar, freebie "coffee talks" with filmmakers and several no cost short-flicks at the Ute Mountaineer.

Mountain Summit provides a platform for Artists, Activists and Adventurers to present their work and to directly engage new audiences with their very personal stories.  Many of the films at Mountain Summit will never be shown at your neighborhood multi-plex, but the wide variety of movies selected for the festival never fails to impress.  Hollywood director/producer Tom Shadyac an active participant in the festival said "we traffic in inspiration". 

Unlike many film festivals that are more commercialized,  Mountain Summit creates a "family like" atmosphere.  Attendees are encouraged to be participants rather than just viewers.  Film goers are welcome to join the conversation, offer opinions and get in the mix.  The intimacy of Mountain Summit allows attendees to have tremendous access to the filmmakers.  Many of the films carry an inspirational message, helping other people, helping the planet and striving for peak performance are ongoing themes at Mountain Summit.  Housed in the spectacular and historic Wheeler (1889) the festival almost seems to take on a life of it's own. At Mountain Summit conversations, networking, brain storming and positive vibes abound.

Click for Pix  MOUNTAIN SUMMIT 2011

AspenSpin saw almost all the movies, and we have devised special Aspen Spinnie awards for the best of the best.... and the SPINNIE goes to:

MOST HAUNTINGKADOMA (2010).  The story of an incredible kayak expedition on the Lukuga River in the Congo in Africa. the film includes mind boggling first decents of crazy rapids, political turmoil, native cultures along with a philisophical look at the paddlers, Chris Korbulic, Ben Stookesberry and Hendri "Kadoma" Coetzee.  The guys planned meticulously, assessed the risks and went for it, challenging themselves and the Congo.  Coetzee did not return from the river as he was snatched from his boat by a huge crocodile.  No footage of the fast, silent and deadly attack exists, the mystery is haunting.  Kadoma is at one with the river.

MOST MIND BLOWINGMAGIC TRIP (2010).  The story of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters and their acid-fueled, cross country journey on a psychedelic magic bus named Further.  Using actual film footage, photos and journal entries from the trip, filmakers Alison Ellwood and Alex Gibney provide a front row seats to one of the most famous road trips of all time.  It was as if the audience had a seat on the magic bus. 

MOST RADICAL: IF a TREE FALLS (2011)  The story of the Earth Liberation Front, the radical eco-protest organization that torched several environmentally significant targets in the late 90's and early 2000's.  While no human life was ever harmed in any of the strategic fires set by ELF their actions prompted a full-scale federal investigation and led to the prosecution of several members.  ELF's "economic sabotage" led to the total destruction of Vail's Two Elk's lodge causing more than $12 million in damage. ELF arsonous attacts accounted for more than $50 million in property damage.  The film focuses on Dan McGowan, an ELF soldier who faced 335 years plus life for what were deemed terrorist acts.  McGowan pled to lesser charges and is now serving a 7 year sentence in a Federal penitentiary.

MOST LOCALLY RELEVANT: CHASING WATER (2011)  Local photo journalist Peter McBride followed the flow of The Colorado River from right here in the Roaring Fork Valley to the Ocean.  McBride's 1500 mile journey is beautifully documented with his striking still images as well as video.   McBride found that all is not well in the Colorado Delta.  30 million people are supported by water from the "mighty Colorado" and as McBride said "there are to many straws in the drink".  The film was made in conjunction with his book The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict.   While the visuals are awesome, the story reveals the negative impact that our modern society has on The Colorado River.

MOST INSPIRATIONAL: HAPPY. (2011)  Director Roko Belic and Exec. Producer Tom Shadyac take us on a journey around the world looking for universal truths about happiness.  Life lessons large and small are revealed in this feel-good epic.  Using scientific data as well as real-life vignettes from 14 countries and cultures, Happy shows us ways to get to our happy place.  The SRO crowd loved it...and a last second re-screening on Sunday kept the smiles coming.


MOST PRACTICAL: REVENGE of the ELECTRIC CAR (2011) Director Chris Paine follows up on his 2006 film, Who Killed the Electric Car with an insiteful look at the immergence of today's electric automobile options.  The Tesla, The Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf are the stars of the show.  We loved the interaction with Bob Lutz a.k.a. Mr. Detroit, the Vice Chairman and public face of GM who admitted the the "electrification of the automobile is inevitable.

Thanks to presenting sponsor First Ascent, the incredible staff at Mountain Film and our friends at The Wheeler Opera House for creating such a wonderful, educational, thought provoking and entertaining event.  We can't wait until next year. 

See the ASPEN SPIN photos, Click:  MOUNTAIN SUMMIT 2011

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