Johnny Barnes is one of the happiest people in the world, and his main goal in life is to share that happiness. This humble and lovable Bermudan wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning and heads to one particularly busy intersection to stand, wave, blow kisses and shout, “I love you!” to passers-by. Crazy or not, Johnny has a lot to say about what it takes to be optimistic and happy. And he has brought smiles to the faces of thousands who would have an otherwise dreary morning commute.
Since he first came to the festival in 2009 with the film that featured him, Dr. Rick Hodes has had a special relationship with Mountainfilm. That documentary, Making the Crooked Straight, followed his efforts to help children in Ethiopia whose spines had been twisted by spinal tuberculosis and other diseases.
The film won the Moving Mountains Prize that year and instead of putting the $5,000 in prize money (which had been supplemented by an anonymous audience member) into a general fund to support his work, Hodes decided that he would use it to heal a single child. The recipient was a thirteen-year old girl named Mieraf who he brought last year to Telluride where she spoke about how Mountainfilm had “saved her life.”
Also at last year’s festival, he encountered Prudence Mabhena, the star of Music by Prudence who was born severely handicapped in Zimbabwe but has been blessed with a remarkable singing voice. Once he met her, he went to work and helped arrange major surgery that he said, “saved her life.”
This year, we can’t guarantee he will find more lives to save, but we do know that he will speak about his work in Ethiopia and, in keeping with this year’s theme of Awareness into Action, will talk about how the Mountainfilm audience can help him broaden the important work he is doing. He will also be part of a Coffee Talk on Monday.In Person:
If you think that bikes can save the world — or at least have a hugely positive impact — then this film is for you. With My Own Two Wheels tells the story of four people whose lives have been deeply changed by bikes. In Africa, we meet a visiting nurse who sees infinitely more patients after he acquires a bike. We also meet a remarkable woman who overcomes serious physical handicaps to become the best bike mechanic in her town. In India, having a bike makes the difference between whether or not a young girl will be able to go to school. And in the United States, the film looks at a bike shop that is started to help troubled kids stay off the streets. Beautifully made by director Jacob Seigel-Boettner, this film is a hopeful portrait of a world where bikes rule.