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
These days a river that flows freely from its headwaters to the sea is a rare creature. Of the few that do remain unchained, many are threatened by development or damming. Power in the Pristine, a short film created by Rios Libres, a group of adventurers who include professional climber and longtime Mountainfilm guest Timmy O’Neill and writer Craig Childs, is a portrait of one such river: the Baker in Chilean Patagonia. A wild river that begins as a turquoise trickle in sculpted glacial fields high in the mountains, the Baker empties into the Pacific Ocean as a formidable waterway. The river is also the site of a proposed major hydro-electric dam, one that would forever alter its geography, form and ecosystem. In this film O’Neill, Childs and others from the Colorado Plateau—who are all too familiar with the Glen Canyon Dam and the chained Colorado River—set out to explore and understand a river that still flows wild and free. As they travel from the Baker’s high and cold origins, through its rushing gorges to its end in the Pacific, the group begins to comprehend the value of a river as nature intended.
Waiting for a Train is the lovely story of Japanese-born Toshio Hirano, who took the road less traveled by following a unique and encompassing passion for the music of Jimmie Rodgers. The moment he discovered Rodgers was a transcendent epiphany that inspired him to immigrate to the United States through Appalachia and Texas, after which he finally landed in San Francisco. As a man who is truly following his bliss, Hirano chases a passionate dream for over 40 years and is rewarded with a life well lived, one that is filled with music, song and dance. After the screenings, Hirano will grace the stage to share a little of his inspired bluegrass magic with Telluride.