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FilmFest fans flames of adventure in Edwards

Special to the Daily
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EDWARDS – You see it all the time, people perched at the precipice of Pallbearer Peak who cannot wait to jump off.

You have two questions:

1. Why on God’s green earth do you do that? Or,



2. How on God’s green earth can I do that?

Saturday’s Expeditionary Learning Mountain FilmFest is your chance to have those questions answered, plus a few about God, tattoos and the nature of life.



Saturday’s event is a fundraiser for local expeditionary learning schools. There’s a VIP reception Friday night at Eat! Drink!, with local adventure athletes Mike Kloser and Mia Stockdale.

The three expeditionary learning schools pay a company, Expeditionary Learning, to train teachers about how to teach that way. It cuts across the entire core curriculum.

“We think it’s important that the community understand what these expeditionary learning schools are,” said Holly Woods with the Eagle County School District. “It’s a great way to learn. It’s hands on and takes academic subjects and provides real world applications.”



The films line up like this:

General audience

“Nico’s Challenge”: Nico Calabria was born with only one leg, but his disability does not define him.

“Even though I have one leg, I can still do what anyone else can,” Calabria says.

In this 15-minute documentary, he takes on the highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro with his father Carl, and shares his success with those less fortunate than him. The film tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who knows who he is and what he’s capable of doing, both for himself and others.

“Somewhere near Tapachula”: Jonno Durant and Stefan Hunt are the duo behind “Surfing 50 States,” which won the Student Award last year at Mountainfilm. They’re back with another surfing film about Mission Mexico, an orphanage set up by an Australian couple, Pam and Alan Scuse, who have helped nearly 200 kids in Mexico find their way out of gangs, drug addiction and other nightmares. After a volunteer left a surfboard behind in 2004, the sport has taken hold. Various surf companies and pro surfers offer gear and guidance.

Documentary/discussion:

“Tattoo Odyssey”: Photographer Chris Rainier is part anthropologist whose work targets disappearing worlds. He has documented the last speakers of dying languages, the last guardians of threatened cultures and the last wild people living beyond the edges of maps. In “Tattoo Odyssey,” he delves into the symbolism and meaning of tattoos and their bond between indigenous and modern societies.

“Time for a New God”: Irwin Kula is an eighth-generation rabbi who teaches that if a religion thinks it has everything right, it is all wrong. The film is a monologue along the beaches, wharves, hot dog stands and roller coasters of Coney Island, Irwin spins a web of wisdom in a time when nothing is as it appears to be. He offers religion as a “giant tool box.” And in an era when we have tamed the animals, can grow all the food we need and are the masters of the universe, the rabbi poses the question: “What kind of gods do we need?”

Extreme sports

“Facing the Waves”: Bobby Vaughn is one of those characters who could originate from central casting in Los Angeles. Tough and charismatic, he’s a former gang member who has gotten into some trouble. Simultaneously, he’s an entrepreneur and helped build the cap company Von Dutch into a national brand. And, of course, he’s a surfer. But what makes this documentary by director Lee Quinby particularly compelling is that, after legal issues forced him out of L.A., Vaughn has now taken root in Rockaway Park, New York City. He’s started a new surf clothing line in New York called FTW, which has a variety of meanings. Some are unprintable, but one is Facing the Waves.

“Alone on the Wall”: Alex Honnold is 23, and a tall, unassuming, calm, super-athlete who is pioneering new territory by free soloing big walls. “Alone on the Wall” follows Honnold as he completes two ground-breaking projects: free soloing Zion’s Moonlight Buttress and Yosemite’s Half Dome. In the world of climbing, free soloing is rare, and in the world of free soloing, nobody else attempts such big walls.

“Hawaii Wave Ski”: Pro freeskier Cody Townsend grew up surfing in Santa Cruz and skiing in Lake Tahoe. Ever since he was a kid, he has wanted to combine the two sports. In Hawaii Wave Ski, he does just that. Along with friend and fellow freeskier Mike Douglas, Townsend takes a new hybrid of boots-and-board technology to Maui to test it out in the big, glassy, green waves of the Pacific.

Technical video class

Sport films created by local filmmaker and producer Holly Kaye. She and local television and film producer J.K. Perry will discuss the technical aspects of adventure film making.


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