This is Part 2 of a recap of the shorts shown at MountainFilm in Mill Valley in mid September. Shorts varied in length from under 2 minutes to 29 minutes and featured people and their endeavors on mountains, in the surf and much in between. Some films featured nature, others contoured a human’s spirit. The group was a subset of the shorts screened in Telluride at the MountainFilm Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and you can find a comprehensive list of those films here.
Mill Valley is a mountain biking nexus and bicycle themed shorts were abundant:
Ashes to Agassiz, 2 minute trailer for a film about an aggressive bike rider.
Beat Down – A couple of millennials tearing up Utah while on bikes. Viewer discretion advised. 3.5 min.
Dark Woods BMX – In a forest, 3 min. of acrobatic bicycling.
Eddie Masters Gets Fat 5 min. slapstick featuring a fat bike and a “fat” rider.
Taxco Urban Downhill – In Mexico, a bicyclist with a helmet mounted GoPro descends on a varied and interesting urban route. 4 min.
The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon to Patagonia*- This 4 min. short may be a healthy nudge to take on something new.
Similar but different from the preceding are shorts involving “wheels other than bicycle:”
James Kelly – Burn it Down A Petaluma native skateboards in the Sierra Nevada. Scenic and all downhill. 4 min.
No Ordinary Passenger*. A senior citizen and sidecar champion conveys his skill & love
of sidecar motorcycle riding. An unusual endeavor, historic footage, and a compelling protagonist make this quite outstanding and one you’ll remember. 7 min. and none too long.
Water flowing downhill is a fertile framework for human activity and MountainFilm doesn’t disappoint:
Drainage Ditch Kayak – made possible by GoPro, has had 1.8 million views on YouTube. The title is a giveaway, 3 min.
A Line in the Sand – Animated, colorful, straightforward and a short 2.5 min. Animated
films have a lot of unrealized potential to influence and be for good, and this film is an example. By the Grand Canyon Trust.
When the mountains reach the sea we have the coast:
The Coast, both scenic and thoughtful, is 6 minutes of therapy, courtesy of the ocean.
The Fisherman’s Son, 29 min. Born and raised at Punta de Lobos, Chile, Ramón Navarro found his passion riding the biggest waves on the planet. But his accomplishments in giant surf are just one part of a bigger vision to protect the culture and environment of the Chilean coast. By Patagonia and quite good.
Strange Rumblings (Iceland part) 4 minutes of Iceland and surfing.
The Right’s centerpiece is a big wave in Western Australia. 2 minutes of beautiful nature and man challenged.
Finally, we have the hard to categorize Moonwalk. With a rising moon in the
background, recently deceased adventurer Dean Potter tightropes between a couple of rocks. Feels a bit contrived but well done and interesting nonetheless. 4 min.
Over the past decade or so, the proliferation of devices and software to “catch the moment” has led to an explosion in the quantity and quality of geo-based shorts. Those noted above are worth a look as are others mentioned elsewhere on this website and accessible from https://kristjake.com/category/books-films/page/2/.
Over the past few years Mountainfilm has advanced rapidly and its touring program now includes 150 or sites around the world. Since Banff Mountain Film Fest’s traveling program now involves over 600 sites, the growth and reach of these festivals make it clear there is significant audience demand for what they’re offering, film programming that is geo-based which almost always features a human actor, protagonist, or story.
*asterisks denote those especially recommended