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Mountainfilm could mark start of something bigger for Big Sky

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By Sarah Gianelli EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – An offshoot of Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, Mountainfilm on Tour, brings a selection of the best-loved short films from the annual festival to theaters around the world.

For the first time the tour will make a stop in Big Sky at Lone Peak Cinema at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. The showing will consist of nearly two hours of film, comprised of 12 documentary shorts, ranging from two to 26 minutes in length.

Accompanying the tour is Mountainfilm for Students, a k-12 educational program embraced by several classes in Big Sky School District, which utilizes film as a basis for learning.

“When we were Knights” tells the story of climber and BASE jumper Matt Blank, who loses his best friend and longtime climbing partner.

“When we were Knights” tells the story of climber and BASE jumper Matt Blank, who loses his best friend and longtime climbing partner.

A collaborative effort of the Arts Council of Big Sky and Gallatin River Task Force, the nascent hope is that one day, Big Sky will have a film festival of its own, fashioned after those hosted in other mountain towns such as Telluride, Colorado; Banff, British Columbia; and Park City, Utah.

“Telluride Mountainfilm is kind of our model,” said Rich Addicks, an arts council and task force board member, and lead organizer of the event. “It’s going to be a litmus test to see if the Big Sky community is interested and willing to come out for a night of film in this forum. It’s also a way to begin building a core group of people so that, were we to one day have a Big Sky film festival, we would all have some experience.”

Addicks stresses that a major film festival in Big Sky would be years off, but is enthusiastic that steps are finally being taken in that direction.

The collection of films curated especially for the Big Sky audience is predominantly in the adrenaline adventure genre, but run the gamut in subject matter and tone. The program’s cohesiveness lies in strong, human-driven narratives with underlying inspirational messages.

These films provide entryway into the lives of a 90-year-old figure skater; a Vietnam veteran who runs the Los Angeles marathon every year as a form of healing; and an inner city youth who overcomes social struggles through the art of yo-yoing.

“When we were Knights” tells the story of climber and BASE jumper Matt Blank who, aware of the precariousness of his life, begins writing letters of appreciation to his family and friends. What he didn’t expect was that his best friend and longtime climbing partner would go first.

“The Accord,” directed and co-written by Bozeman filmmaker R.C. Cone, explores the combination of hardiness, patience, passion and insanity required to be a surfer in Iceland’s unforgiving North Atlantic.

Also in the mix is an exhilarating ski short in which Angel Collinson (winner of Best Female Freeride Performance at the 2015 International Freeskiing Film Festival) “annihilates Alaska”; and “Fledglings,” an adventure comedy about veteran climbers who decide to take up paragliding.

“There’s really something for everyone,” Addicks said. “One makes you laugh, one makes you cry. The program takes you on a roller coaster of adventure and emotion.”

Addicks believes that people will leave the theater energized, inspired and full of life. And while he loves the idea that this event might eventually lead to Big Sky having its very own film festival, he said this one night should be a great addition to the community’s fall calendar.

“Most of all, this is an effort to make a great place, with great people, even greater.”

Showtime is at 7 p.m. preceded by a happy hour event starting at 6 p.m., and followed by an after-party with live music at 10 p.m. Tickets are available at Lone Peak Cinema in Big Sky or by calling (406) 995-4478.

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