Who knew? Formal dancing is good exercise, fun and a great way to meet new people. Just down valley from Telluride, Ron Black, in retirement, started teaching dance — country waltz, two-step swing, American tango, line dances and more. There might even be more to it than matchmaking, which is its own reward. “When I’m dancing I can actually get out of my skin,” Black says. “My soul comes out, and starts dancing.”
The San Carlos Reservation in southeast Arizona is known by the dubious nickname of “Hell’s Forty Acres.” Today, though, pride, creativity and expression are vibrant among its young people. And much of that is thanks to the unifying force of Apache Skateboards, founded by Douglas Miles Sr. — an artist and community leader whose stony countenance belies a font of wisdom. This gritty, mystical profile of Miles shines a light on a community where art, agency, faith, skateboarding and tradition have planted the seeds of resurrection.
Perched at 12,500 feet, Shandur Pass is one of the most remote places in Pakistan. There, in the shadow of enormous snow-capped mountains, you’ll find the country’s highest polo field, where each year, teams from rivaling valleys meet up for a centuries-old battle of freestyle polo. This beautifully shot film profiles player Sikander Ul Mulk, 61, who has been a team captain for over 20 years. “You’ve got to sacrifice your life for it, and it’s not easy,” he says of the game. But, he adds, “I couldn’t do anything else.”
Zuni farmer and museum director Jim Enote is rethinking map-making. After all, who’s to say that north has to be at the top, geographic features must be to scale or roads have to appear at all? Through his Zuni Map Art Project, he works with Zuni artists to create maps that convey stories of place, heritage and history — helping them reclaim the stories of their lands. The results are both beautiful and profound. “We limit ourselves if we think of maps as only two-dimensional,” he says. “There are maps in songs, and in prayers, there are maps that are etched into stone, woven into textiles and painted on ceramics.”
Following an attempt to break the Grand Canyon speed record — chronicled in The Time Travelers (Mountainfilm 2017) — the U.S. Men’s Raft Team continues to explore the limits of what can be done on water. This time, they turn their focus to outrigger canoeing — an ancient form of travel with its own sets of rites, history and cultures. Told through team member Rob Prechtl, (people) of water follows the rafters as they delve into this rhythmic, spiritual and age-old form of connection — discovering that it’s much more than a means of travel.
The survival of a child born with congenital heart disease, sadly, depends on where he or she is born. And in India, the odds aren’t good; 80,000 children die each year because they can’t afford treatment. But at the Sri Saytha Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, these vital surgeries are free. This uplifting film follows two rural Indian families as they set off on a journey to the promise of a cure for their children.