Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 4:54 PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Telluride Mountain film a good winter break

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Alex Honnold reenactting his rope-less free climb of the 2,500 ft. NW face of Halfdome. Alex's ascent is aguably the hardest free solo done to date in Yosemite.

Community Recreation once again sponsors its own cabin fever reliever, two days and four hours of the best adventure and environmental awareness films from the annual Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. The two batches of films show at 7 p.m. today and Saturday at the

Mariner Theatre, with admission $10 a person each night. From 5 to 7 p.m. today, the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club also offers a ski swap in the high school commons, so adventurers can trade and

get good used gear.

"This time of year, in January in Alaska, it's a perfect time to showcase what we do," said Henry Lystad, tour director for the traveling film festival. "People really seem to be reaching for that kind of content in the middle of winter here."

In a phone interview from Juneau right after a showing last week at the Bear Tooth Theatre in Anchorage, Lystad was at the start of the 2012 tour that will take him to about 120 shows in 90

Telluride Mountainfilm

7 p.m. Jan. 19, 21

Mariner Theatre

$10 a person each night

In advance at the Homer Bookstore or Homer Community Recreation

Jan. 19 films

One Plastic Beach





Mr. Happy Man

On Assignment

Way Back Home

Jan. 21 films

Chasing Water

Towers of the Ennedi

Dark Side of the Lens

Prayers for Peace

Animal Beatbox

Waiting for a Train

With My Own Two Wheels

cities — including, if negotiations work out, a first-ever tour in China.

A fundraiser for Community Recreation, the 12th annual showing of Telluride Mountainfilm fits in with the city of Homer's recreational program, said Community Recreation Director Mike Illg.

"It supports our goal and mission from beyond getting people to participate in Community Recreation but inspired to do it," Illg said.

For the 2012 tour, about 40 films of the 100 films selected for the Telluride, Colo., film festival go on tour. Telluride Mountainfilm mixes a good variety of jaw dropping action, mellow contemplation and stir-it-up inspiration. Lystad has put together a list he thinks will appeal to Homer film fans.

"This is what we call a sample of the festival," he said.

For a town where the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies does marine debris cleanups and then invites artists to create work from buoys, there's "One Plastic Beach," about two artists in California who clean up daily a 1,000-foot stretch of beach and then make art from what they find. Kachemak Bay's surfers will relate to "Dark Side of the Lens," surf photographer Mickey Smith's look at Ireland's heaviest and coldest waves. The town's committed and growing bicycle community will be inspired by "With My Own Two Wheels," about how four people's lives were changed by bikes.

Lystad has selected a mix of 15 films spread over two nights. Each group of films runs about two hours, with Lystad introducing and discussing the films.

Some are light features, like "Animal Beat Box," an animated short Lystad calls "just wacky fun. It's going to have the crowd cracking up."

More serious and traumatic is "Kadoma," shown the first night, and the nickname of Hendri Coetzee, a legendary South African kayaker killed by a river crocodile on a seven-week expedition. The attack isn't shown, and is only a short but traumatic part of the 43-minute film. Though the film has a tragic ending, it's more an adventure and cultural film.

"I always tell people, we take a group deep breath," Lystad said about showing "Kadoma." "I let them know it's going to be OK. I have a plan to bring them back to a happy place."

That would be "Way Back Home," a film by Dave Sowerby about Scottish biker Danny MacAskill. Fans of MacAskill's YouTube videos have seen him perform amazing tricks, riding a bike in places that seem impossible.

"It's unreal what he does on a bicycle," Lystad said of MacAskill. "It's un-real. You can't do that with two wheels. ... We throw it at the very bottom because it sends people back home with a smile on their face and a giddy in their step."

Serious as some films might be, Telluride Mountainfilm isn't avant garde stuff that requires deep thought, Lystad said.

"It's a fun time. It's a party. ... It's easy viewing," he said. "It's going to be kick back, enjoyable, easy watching footage."

For those who can't decide which night to attend and which films to pick, Illg has some advice.

"Folks who want to decide which one, I want to say, when in doubt, buy both," he said.

For previews and descriptions of films, see list, page 10, and visit www.mountainfilm.org/tour.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.