Mountainfilm on Tour showcase focuses on equity emphasis in Eagle County Schools | VailDaily.com

Mountainfilm on Tour showcase focuses on equity emphasis in Eagle County Schools

Documentary shorts that will be screened for students and parents are classic American underdog stories

If You Go …
  • What: Mountainfilm On Tour
  • When: 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 p.m. Thursday
  • Where: Wednesday Edwards Riverwalk Theater. Thursday Capitol Theater in Eagle
  • Tickets: Tickets are free, but are all gone
  • Information: The Education Foundation of Eagle County is presenting Mountainfilm On Tour, the show explores themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission and the school district’s equity work.
Films:
  • Safe Haven
  • Brotherhood of Skiing
  • Cracking Ice Ceilings
  • Broken
  • Jágrlama
  • Mi Mamá
  • Sweetheart Dancers
  • Women in Fire
  • Los Lecheros
  • Yojani: A Cuba Skate Story

Perspective is everything.

Eagle County Schools wants to help us see things from someone else’s point of view, someone culturally different. Among the keys to achieving this, district officials say, is to have this conversation without anyone being called a racist.

“That’s a conversation killer. The school district does not believe we live in a racist community,” Dan Dougherty, the school district’s communications chief said.

Toward that end, Mountainfilm on Tour is stopping in Edwards and Eagle with a special lineup of short films — about 10 minutes each — focusing on equity.

The school district defines equity as “freedom from bias or favoritism.” The two traits are often not intentional, the district said in announcing Mountainfilm on Tour, but stem from a lack of experience with other cultures and “dimensions of difference.”

“It’ll help provide a framework to help parents understand it,” Dougherty said.

Equity training

The Mountainfilm evenings are sandwiched around this week’s launch of the school district’s Youth Equity Stewardship Training. Student volunteers are learning to be more culturally inquisitive and how they can change their school’s culture from the inside out, Dougherty said.

For example, it might be common for those raised in Hispanic culture to think that all white people want to live in Mayberry. They don’t. English speakers might think that all Spanish speakers come from Mexico. They don’t.

“It would help to be able to communicate without all the emotion and vitriol,” Dougherty said.

Mountainfilm’s worldwide viewpoint

The films are designed to demonstrate how people in other parts of the world are dealing with the issue.

“Hopefully some of the content will help advance their goals and inspire the students,” said Will Falltrick, the producer of Mountainfilm on Tour.

Mountainfilm hosts its annual film festival over the Memorial Day weekend in Telluride. The nonfiction films chronicle adventure and empowering stories. This year’s Mountainfilm theme was equity.

When the festival is over, Mountainfilm takes its shows on the road. This week in the Vail Valley is the first time the organization has partnered with Eagle County schools, Falltrick said, and it’s one of Mountainfilm’s rare custom programs. Most of the student shows they take to public K-12 schools screen shows from a consistent list.

American underdogs

These documentary shorts are classic American underdog stories, focusing on what some kids have faced in terms of their cultural differences and how the community made them feel, Dougherty said.

“Many of the films have an equity theme, and we felt it would help people understand the cultural competency,” Dougherty said. “We are a diverse community. Recognizing all cultures and recognizing that the way out of this is through experience.”

High school students will see some of the films during the school day Wednesday at Battle Mountain and Thursday at Eagle Valley.

To bring the parents into the loop they’ll have evening showings: Wednesday at the  Riverwalk Theater in Edwards and Thursday at the Capitol Theater Eagle. They’re free, but all the tickets are gone.

If you have tickets they want you to arrive early so you can “connect” with others attending. They’d also like you to hang around afterward for a panel discussion.

Among the films:

“Safe Haven” — Since it opened in March 2018, Memphis Rox has been the nation’s only nonprofit climbing gym — open to all, regardless of ability to pay. It has proven that the challenges of technical climbing have strong appeal and can provide benefits well beyond the traditional outdoor-recreation community.

Brotherhood of Skiers” — The group has been bringing camaraderie and dance parties to ski slopes since 1973. The annual summits, which unite African-American ski clubs across the country, are fundraisers for youth programs to pass the love of skiing down to the next generation.

Mi Mama” — Nadia Iris Mercado is connected to nature, her ancestry and her mother, who sacrificed her own hopes and dreams to give Nadia the best possible chance to realize hers.

R.A.W. Tuba” — If you’re Dr. Richard Antoine White, the tuba is like the life of the underdog. White grew up intermittently homeless and became a world-class symphony musician, professor and the first African American in the world to receive a doctorate in music for tuba performance. As he says, “the only thing that will stop me from being successful is death.”