Longtime Mountainfilm filmmaker Ethan Boehme (Ancient Marks, 2005, and Sacred Angkor Wat, 2006) and former NPR host Alex Chadwick have teamed up for this original series called Interviews, 50 Cents. The conceit is that Chadwick sets up two folding chairs, a card table and a cigar box with a sign on that reads “Interviews, 50 Cents.” He stages these moments in the middle of a street fair, a boardwalk, maybe even a film festival. Who comes along and joins him is only part of the charm, the rest comes from the conversation—which takes any number of turns from eating whale meat to walking across the country. —DH
In the early 2000s, the Earth Liberation Front was making news by setting fire to various targets, including a Hummer dealership; a logging company; and an expansive, new dining hall at the Vail ski area. The first-rate If a Tree Falls, focusing on the sad story of Daniel McGowan who committed acts of arson for the Front, takes an incisive look at this shadowy group in the aftermath of a series of arrests and plea bargains. Director Marshall Curry came across the story serendipitously when a member of the Front, as well as a work colleague of Curry’s wife’s—was arrested without warning at the office. The film follows through the legal process. Comprised of activists who have good intentions but who also seem confused, cops who mean well (and some who don’t), and a snitch who seems nothing but low-down, this intense, and at times graphic, film will stay with you. It is at once a compelling and cautionary tale that smartly delves into the complexity of extreme action.