Monday, March 19, 2007

Getting High on Travel Adventure at the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

For six years, I've attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival (which does an annual tour through Santa Barbara) with a borderline, religious-like zeal. I've made friends with other obsessive Banff movie-goers who also congregate hours early just to get seats in the first row at Campbell Hall (UCSB). The greatest drawback is that this festival comes through Santa Barbara but for only two nights a year.

Fortunately my mother has discovered an event even more precious, four days of all the most extreme cultural, environmental, and adventure travel related documentaries from around the world. You pay $45 for a festival pass and you can watch your fill of movies for four days in a row!

Welcome to the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival! This thing rocks. Featuring
43 feature and short films, a slideshow presentation by David Edwards, a National Geographic photographer, and several appearances by filmmakers. All of the films are screened at the Orpheum Theatre, a charismatic little historic theatre in downtown Flagstaff. You can munch on fresh popcorn, drink hot chocolate or sip from beer in this cool little theatre filled with outdoorsy bohemians. (The only thing missing for me was tequila...but I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the movies quite as much with a blue agave buzz.)

From a humorous short on how to roast a Mongolian marmot to a two-hour documentary feature titled "War Dance," which highlights child refugees in Northern Uganda as they compete to perform in a national music and dance festival to a feature on the Kazakh eagle hunters of northwestern Mongolia, the film festival astounded me with its strong selection of films. Out of over ten films I saw, only one was weak. These odds, as many film festival goers recognize, aren't so bad. (I've been to other film festivals where I saw one good film out of ten and I paid four times more for each movie!)

My only regret is that I didn't discover this festival earlier. Mark your calendars! Check out their website for details:

  • Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

  • I'll see you at The Orpheum next year...front and center!

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    This is one of the funniest clips I've seen on Youtube recently. I thought it was especially fitting for all those frustrated writers, photographers and filmmakers who've often felt stumped by their own necessary "technologies:"