With his thick glasses, duct-taped gloves, worn-out boot toes and ursine bearing, Jon Piasecki may not immediately impress you as someone who can change the world. But watch as he waltzes hefty slabs of flagstone through the woods and connects them meticulously into a pathway that melds seamlessly with its surroundings, and you will likely credit him with having earth-shaking power and down-to-earth wisdom. Hal Clifford (executive editor of Orion magazine and former Telluride resident) and Jason Houston (2009 Mountainfilm gallery artist) created this thoughtful film. —PK
For Mike Kasic, the Yellowstone River represents the West as it’s meant to be—wild, fast and free flowing. Mike should know: He spends a lot of time swimming the Yellowstone, looking for fish and almost becoming one himself. In particular, he looks for the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout that represents, for him, the soul of the river. Unfortunately, all is not well for the cutthroat, and Mike finds fewer and fewer in his subaquatic searches. He sees the loss as emblematic of disappearing wilderness. “Take it away,” he says, “and we lose the ability to understand our world.” Playful yet elegiac, Fishman neatly captures the vital and tenuous connection between man and nature.
Living fully off the grid (and partially outside the law) is a rewarding way of life for two characters in this homegrown film. Telluride director Alicia Nogueira profiles Angela Mallard and David Brankley, locals who are fully engaged in this community, yet they choose to live in the woods, where they feel more aligned with the natural world.
We Love You is about an annual coming together of like-minded people who believe they can change the world. No, it isn’t the story of Mountainfilm, but rather a different tribe: the Rainbow Gathering. Each summer since 1972, tens of thousands of people have met in a national park in search of a utopia without social hierarchy, commerce or war. This short documentary chronicles the 2008 gathering at the Wind River Range in Wyoming, where people built kitchen systems from nothing to provide food for thousands. It’s not just a communal love-in, though. The police arrive, casting a dark cloud over the Rainbow that the Gathering must face in their own way. —DH