Honoring Veterans Through Film

To commemorate Veteran’s Day on Sunday, November 11, we're reviewing our archives and the range of films we’ve screened over the years that focus on veterans and their work.

Several of these films look at the challenges veterans face coming back from war. Many of these men and women are gravely injured and must deal with a host of physical and mental disabilities that make reintegration into civilian life difficult. Not surprising to Mountainfilm audiences, a connection with the outdoors can help with the transition.

Two recent films looked at how fly-fishing can be therapeutic. Most recently, we played Not Yet Begun to Fight (2012), which focuses on the work of Colonel Eric Hastings, who created an organization called Warriors and Quiet Waters that brings injured vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to Bozeman, Montana, for a week of fly-fishing. There was a similar story that won the festival’s Moving Mountains Prize in 2010 called Fish Out of Water.

Crawl Walk Run (2007) told the story of wounded vets who returned from Iraq and rafted the Grand Canyon. Beyond Iraq (2006) looked at vets doing adaptive skiing in Snowmass. The Fall Line (2011) was about a skier named Heath Calhoun who was paralyzed in war and became a competitive ski racer, and Load Bearing (2012) focused on some veterans (and other disabled athletes) going to Alaska.

Other films have looked at the intense world of combat. In 2010, we screened the Oscar-nominated Restrepo by Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington, which told the story of the soldiers at Forward Operating Base Restrepo in Afghanistan. Human Terrain (2011) looked at the risky, but often necessary, use of academics in active war zones.

And then there are the films about veterans being inspired to effect change: In 1994, Mountainfilm screened The Friendship Village about veterans who return to Vietnam to build homes for children handicapped by Agent Orange. Beyond the Call, which screened in 1996, told the story of three former soldiers who travel the world, visiting some of the most challenging hot spots to deliver humanitarian aid.

Mountainfilm in Telluride celebrates indomitable spirit, and the men and women who serve our country certainly embody that principle. We honor them on Veteran’s Day.

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