Go Tell It On The Mountain: Film tour hits Jackson with stories of dangerous descents and badass women

By on December 20, 2017

A 70-foot waterfall descent in a pool toy. An ode to badass women athletes, BASE jumping cliffs, climbing granite and shredding singletrack. A climber who dislodged a boulder that hit him on the head while rappelling from a tower and left him with hemiplegia, which limited movement and feeling on the right side of his body.

This is the Mountainfilm tour, a collection of some of the best films from the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. About a dozen short films screen at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 20) at the Center for the Arts.

“What makes this event special is the broad range of films they bring on tour,” said Jim Nowak, president and founder of dZi Foundation, a sponsor of the tour. “There’s everything from stories about refugees to gnarly skiing to humor. It’s all over the map.”

The entire screening lasts just over two hours. It also includes one feature length film, a 36-minute movie called The Last Honey Hunter. It tells the story of Mauli Dhan Rai, who lives in the mountains of Nepal’s Hongu River valley. His people believe he was chosen by the gods to take on the perilous job of harvesting honey. The task involves climbing rope ladders up sheer cliffs to combs filled with poisonous honey. He continues the tradition, even as the modern world creeps closer to destroying it.

The films cover a breadth of topics and will appeal to anyone who loves the outdoors, Nowak said.

Here’s the lineup for tonight’s screening:

Denali’s Raven

Leighan Falley comes from a long line of aviators. The commercial pilot in Talkeetna, Alaska, soars above the glaciers and peaks in her de Havilland Beaver. Denali’s Raven offers a window into the life of an Alaskan pilot, skier, alpinist and mother.


Jon Wilson lost his left leg after a rare form of cancer required a full amputation. The amputation didn’t stop Wilson from pursuing his favorite sport of mountain biking. The short film celebrates Wilson and his passion that keeps him riding singletrack.

120 Days: Tarpon Season

Ben Knight and Travis Rummel use super high-resolution, black and white and slow-motion to capture saltwater fly-fishing for tarpon. This is a film, because of the way it was shot and edited, that will appeal even to those without an interest in fishing.

Das Fischer

Das Fischer takes a wry look at the idealization of American masculinity and outdoor pursuits. The film promises to make you think twice the next time you grab that flannel shirt.


The Story Behind: Paul Auerbach and York Miller had recently graduated medical school when they took a backpacking trip high into the San Juan Mountains. Camped above 11,000-feet, their stomachs hurt, they felt bloated and started belching. No term existed for the symptoms so they named it high-altitude flatus expulsion (HAFE) and published their findings which evoked a surprising response.

Doing it Scared

The boulder Paul Pritchard dislodged on a tower off the coast of Tasmania hit him on the head and instantly changed his life. It caused hemiplegia, which limits movement and feeling on the right side of his body. In this film, Pritchard and his friends return to the scene of the accident to challenge him in a new way.

La Longosta

The 70-foot waterfall wasn’t epic enough for Rafa Ortiz. He decided to tackle it in a pool toy instead of a kayak in this short film.

John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale

John Shocklee took a minimum-wage guide position at 39 and at 52 still hasn’t landed a “real job.” But Shocklee is living his dream, splitting his time ski guiding in Silverton, Colorado, and rowing dories down the Grand Canyon. He’s found the fountain of youth and it involves mountains, snow and ‘90s hip-hop.

Where the Wild Things Play

This ode to female athletes by Krystle Wright features women BASE jumping from towering desert cliffs, shredding single track and attacking backcountry ski lines.

The Last Honey Hunter

The longest film of the evening, The Last Honey Hunter tells the story of Mauli Dhan Rai who lives in the Hongu River Valley of Nepal. He is the honey hunter, chosen by the gods to climb rope ladders up sheer cliffs to collect honeycombs from the world’s largest honeybees.

Owl Dance-Off Part II

Two years ago a video of owls “dancing” in a yard became an Internet sensation. Owl Dance-Off Part II is the follow-up by wildlife photographer Megan Lorenz. PJH

Mountainfilm Festival, 7 p.m. tonight at Center for the Arts. Tickets are $15.


About Kelsey Dayton

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