The scene is set with two young women — Sophie Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith — on a casual canoe trip on the River Shannon in Ireland. Under heavy skies, they make their way to a bird-infested island where they witness a gathering of starlings — a “murmuration” — that is so phenomenal and surreal that it's almost poetry in motion. If this story sounds familiar, it might be because their simple, two-minute film — called Murmuration — went viral last year. Island is a longer, yet equally compelling, version of an unforgettable paddling adventure.
Filmmakers Beth and George Gage have brought unforgettable characters to Mountainfilm audiences — the men of the Tenth Mountain Division with Fire on the Mountain and Carrie Dann with American Outrage — and they do it again with Bidder 70, which tells the story of Tim DeChristopher, who put his liberty on the line in 2008 by bidding nearly $2 million (money he did not have) for drilling rights to pristine public lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. His act of civil disobedience resulted in the BLM auction being declared null and void and the Obama administration later removing the land from any future sale. Activist Tim DeChristopher, who’s been to Mountainfilm several times, spent two years in prison for an attempt to change a system that needs radical redirecting.