By Samantha Thompson
If strolling through the Himalayas, gazing up at the giant California sequoias, or cruising the beaches of Maui sounds appealing, you need only catch a bus to downtown Santa Cruz’s Rio Theater on Saturday.
There you will find the MountainFilm in Telluride World Tour film festival, where you have the chance to view magnificent sites and get a taste of events that are sweeping the globe. The festival has left significant impressions on the hearts and minds of every city it has journeyed through.
"We’re really fortunate that we get to experience these film festivals," said UC Santa Cruz Recreation Supervisor Kathy Ferraro. "It brings the mountains and the issues surrounding it to the people."
According to a statement issued to City on a Hill Press by Justin Clifton, the director of MountainFilm on Tour, "MountainFilm is dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, and conversations worth sustaining."
For three years now, the UCSC Recreation Department has worked to put this film festival on with the help of several sponsors. Recreation supervisors go through a list of about 40 films that are on the tour and select around two-and-a-half hours worth of film that they feel best fits the community of Santa Cruz to show at the festival.
"We try to give you the flavor of the festival," Ferraro said. "We do shy away from political films, but we show environmental and adventure films, as well as cultural films."
The first half of the festival will be made up of a series of short films. Topics include: the paving of a military highway through Shangri-La, unconventional sports, ordinary individuals fighting for the Earth’s well-being against corporate interests, and young kids ripping waves like professionals.
"It’s inspirational, there’s natural beauty, and sports you don’t always get to see," UCSC Recreation supervisor Cori Houston said. "The films are unique in that you don’t get much of a chance to see them anywhere else."
The festival showcases one main feature. This year it is a film called Of Wind and Waves: The Life of Woody Brown, which was selected because of the popularity of surfing in this area. The movie is an inspirational life story of a 94-year-old surfing pioneer and inventor of the modern day catamaran, a type of sailboat with two hulls.
David Brown, the director, producer and photographer of the film, said, "It’s about an extraordinarily spirited guy who practices what he preaches about unconditional love. He walks the talk."
Brown added, "He’s an inspiring role model for the difficult times we live in."
The MountainFilm in Telluride World Tour reaches nearly 30,000 people every year and makes around 100 stops worldwide, reaching places like Chile, New Zealand, Norway, Tasmania, as well as cities all over the United States.
The first year the festival came to Santa Cruz, around 350 people came to see it. Last year, the number rose to 600. This year, the Recreation Department is hoping to sell all 685 tickets.
The profits made from this event go to benefit the UCSC Recreation Scholarship Fund, which helps students who need financial assistance participate in the recreational activities offered by the school.
"We haven’t had to turn away anyone for scholarships," Ferraro enthusiastically said. And with events like this going to support the Recreation Department, they hope to never have to.
The Recreation Department encourages students to get out of their dorm rooms and experience some of what they have to offer.
The MountainFilm in Telluride World Tour film festival will take place on Saturday, Nov.. 11 at the Rio Theater on Soquel Avenue at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased through the UCSC Box Office, UCSC Recreation and Pacific Edge Climbing Gym or at the door for $10 for students/$12 general admission.