We appreciate the feedback we receive at Mountainfilm. Last year, based upon your comments, we took steps to improve audience experience: changing the programming at our smallest venue, The Library; adding the Fitzroy pass for a highly affordable option to see the best festival programming at the largest venues; and offering even more opportunities for intimate talks with festival guests at our new Booze & Banter events. We also sold out of Sunshine and Wilson passes for the first time. So what changes are in store for 2014?
Outdoor ProgramsLast year, we expanded the concept of our popular Coffee Talks into Town Talks, adding afternoon panels with Mountainfilm guests at a pub and wine bar. Booze & Banter was a success, so this year, we’re expanding further. Considering the 2014 theme of wilderness, and in line with the overall mission and ethos of Mountainfilm in Telluride, we’re building a section of programming that will get people out of theaters and into the great outdoors. You may have the opportunity to learn how to build a friction fire with a bow drill, test what it’s like climbing at altitude under the weight of a typical sherpa pack, join a walking group to study edible plants in the wild, or hear a talk from a favorite Mountainfilm presenter at Cornet Falls. These programs will be announced when we publish the rest of the Town Talks in early May, and they will be free and open to the public.
Artist-in-Residence ProgramBeginning with B.K. “I Am Art” Adams in 2012, we’ve quietly been building an artist-in-residence program at Mountainfilm. Some of you may have seen B.K.’s work at the Stronghouse that year or the mural that Zio Zeigler created for as our resident artist in 2013. We’re excited to announce our artist for 2014 more formally: In the weeks leading up to the festival, Eugenie Frerichs will build an interactive piece that will delve into ideas of wilderness. We’ll share more as it develops.
Queue BuskersFilm festivals require some time standing in lines, so we thought of one way to make that experience more enjoyable. We’re collecting a cadre of musicians, entertainers and jokesters who will rove town and and entertain people waiting to enter the theaters. They won’t be able to predict your chances are of getting into a show, but hopefully they will put a smile on your face while you wait.
Getting people into the theaters of their choice continues to be our number-one priority. In 2013, we decreased the number of turn-aways from all theaters by approximately 15%, but we think we can increase your odds in 2014 by limiting certain passes and improving our communication of real-time audience numbers.
We filled out meticulous spreadsheets in order to understand the intricacies of how audience movement relates to theater capacity. We’ll spare the boring details, but we think you’ll be pleased with the outcome: By putting limits on certain passes (and selling more of others, such as the new Fitzroy), you should have a better chance of getting into the programs you most want to see.
Smartphone App: Seat Availability in Real TimeOur queue system will remain intact, but you’ll have a new, quick-and-easy way to check whether queues are still available before trucking across town to try to see a show: We’re building a smartphone app that will report real-time seat availability. The new system will show a simple green, yellow or red light for each upcoming program. Green means plenty of seats are still available; yellow means that queues cards are diminishing quickly; and red means we’ve stopped handing out queue numbers. (Learn more about how queues work.)
We thought a few numbers were interesting enough to share, and may help you plan for 2014:
723: total people turned away at all theaters in 2013 (compared to 844 in 2012)
340: turn-aways at the Masons (47% of festival total)
240: turn-aways at the Nugget (33%)
123: turn-aways at the Sheridan (17%)*
15: turn-aways at the Palm (2%)
0: turn-aways at High Camp
*One program — the opening night film High & Hallowed with special guests Jim Whittaker and Tom Hornbein — was responsible for all but three of the turn-aways at the Sheridan and single-handedly accounts for 17% of the festival total.
The Early Bird Gets the Cheaper Pass
All passes now have three-tiered pricing: early bird, regular and during the festival. The earlier you purchase your pass, the cheaper it will be. So purchase passes now.
Fitzroy MondayFitzroy passholders have access to all screenings at the Palm or High Camp during the entire festival, and we’re also adding Fitzroy access to every theater on Monday morning. The best pass deal is now even better.
New Hospitality & Communications
We’re redesigning Hospitality and adding a cadre of communications volunteers, who will answer questions about programs, queues, venues, parties, or even the best place to grab a quick bite in between movies. Pick up your pass and build a strategy for how to navigate the festival at the new Hospitality center at the Sheridan Opera House.
One thing people seem to like about the festival is the programming, so we’re gonna stick with what works. We’ll continue to play every film at least twice and leave a big block of TBA (to-be-announced) programs on Sunday evening and Monday morning. We try to re-screen every single film that turns away a potential audience, so keep your festival stamina fueled and watch for the third or fourth screenings of films you missed the first times. We may also stagger the start time of programs more between theaters, and we’ll publish theater capacity numbers in the centerfold program schedule. These steps will help both savvy veterans and new festival-goers decide the best way to experience Mountainfilm.
We realize that last-minute schedule changes can throw a wrench in your plans, so we’ve built an online clearinghouse for all TBA announcements, program changes and cancellations.
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