Common Ground

The fight to preserve wilderness is not waged by just wooly-headed radicals and bleeding-heart intellectuals. It’s an issue with advocates on all sides, including hard-working, down-to-earth farmers, ranchers and guides in Montana, where the controversial Heritage Act — designed to identify new wilderness and manage non-wilderness lands — has pitted neighbor against neighbor.

Coming Home

Aly Nicklas grew up in Alaska, two blocks from the lifts of Alyeska. She quit high school and moved to the mountains of Colorado to pursue her lifelong dream of competitive snowboarding. But by 2004, at the age of 21, she had suffered at least 10 concussions. The symptoms were stacking up: memory problems, seizures, depression and trouble speaking. So she put her board away. Eight years later, she strapped on a board and helmet and returned to the slopes.

Cold Rolled

In recent years, Telluride has seen a spate of fat bike riders. Strike that. In recent years, Telluride has seen a spate of bicyclists who ride bikes with super fat tires, some as wide as 4.5 inches. These bikes navigate winter trails that have long been the sole province of skiers and snowshoers. Cold Rolled is the first film to capture this sport, and its footage is from near Lake Superior, where the long winters make for great fat biking.

Catch It

Though she grew up chasing surf in the warm waters of southern France, Lea Brassy’s nomadic lifestyle has led her to Northern Norway, where frigid waves crash into a rugged coastline and mountains rise straight up from the sea. Finding simplicity and an appealing balance between nature and humanity, she parks her van for awhile to connect with the landscape. Fishing, climbing and surfing in a thick wetsuit, even while the snow falls around her, Brassy reminds us that living simply is living fully.

Castles In The Sky

As climber Sonnie Trotter establishes a stunning 5.14 route on Castle Mountain in the Canadian Rockies, this short film digs deeper into his motivations, which flow from a place of creativity and all-consuming passion.

Born to Fly

Elizabeth Streb believes humans can walk on walls, hover in space and fly. And she proves it. Streb is a choreographer who defines herself as a wildly extreme action architect. The heart and soul of Streb’s dance is closer to the philosophy of climbers and BASE jumpers than you might imagine. What these disciplines have in common is a theory of movement based on the inspiration to defy gravity. Born to Fly asks: Can adrenaline be a form of medicine? When does movement become art? What does it take for humans to fly?

A Beautiful Waste

We last saw Steve Duncan in Telluride in 2011 with his award-winning film Undercity, where he explored way below and way above New York City. In A Beautiful Waste, he journeys down to the core of the Big Apple to wander its sewers. Of course this exploit offers its share of nastiness, but there’s also something — as the title implies — beautiful in these adventures.

The Apothecary

Nucla, Colorado, just an hour’s drive from Telluride, has seen hard times ever since the U.S. uranium industry collapsed in the late 1970s. It’s a hardscrabble town, where the folks who haven’t fled barely eke out a living. One oasis of activity is The Apothecary Shoppe, the sole pharmacy within 4,000 square miles. The owner, Don Colcord, gamely occupies multiple roles as druggist, surrogate doctor, life counselor and community benefactor. Colcord’s sanguine public persona, however, belies a long-suffered private pain for which there is no drug, no cure and no relief.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

When filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett learned that a clip of his work-in-progress film Alive Inside had leaked and gone viral on the Internet, he was  — surprisingly — thrilled. He’d spent the previous three years following social worker Dan Cohen, a man who devotes his life to rehabilitating Alzheimer’s patients through music. The viral leak had an immediate and palpable effect on Cohen’s work, increasing awareness, raising funds and opening doors that had been closed previously.


Climbers all have a story about how they got started, and 14-year-old Kai Lighter’s introduction is particularly striking — and not only because he’s a brilliant climber. Much like Tiger Woods in golf or the Williams sisters in tennis, he could change the demographics of climbing. This film, directed by Telluride’s George Knowles, isn’t about race, however, it’s about family. His single mother has become his regular belay partner, one who also makes sure that he maintains straight A’s in school.