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Colorado's Mountainfilm Festival Brings Outdoor Adventure to Scottsdale

"Brothers of Climbing" is one of the short films being screened at the Mountainfilm showing on Friday.
"Brothers of Climbing" is one of the short films being screened at the Mountainfilm showing on Friday. Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
Imagine the thrill of skiing down a steep slope or racing a mountain bike through the Canadian wilderness – all without leaving the dry Phoenix desert. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the AC.

Mountainfilm, an annual documentary film festival held in Telluride, Colorado, is finally making its way to the Valley. A selection of the festival’s many films were chosen for a special showing at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts this Friday night.

The Arizona branch of The Nature Conservancy, a global organization committed to preserving nature and protecting the environment, is hosting this inaugural event. Ann Barker, event manager for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, hopes that the documentaries will inspire people to connect with the outdoors.

“The Nature Conservancy is all about the outdoors,” Barker said. “We think that bringing Mountainfilm will give us an opportunity to introduce our work to people who have an interest in films that have to do with the outdoors.”

While the actual film festival in Telluride is multiple days long, The Nature Conservancy has only a couple of hours to wow the audience. A special selection committee was formed to carefully review the films and choose which ones made the cut. Every story centers around nature and what extraordinary people are doing to make a positive impact on the world.

Barker said they also took into consideration what outdoor activities are popular in Phoenix. The film, “How to Run 100 Miles” highlights running while the documentary “Brothers of Climbing” showcases rock climbing.

Throughout the showing, The Nature Conservancy will be sharing what they do in the community and will finish the evening with a panel discussion to dive deeper into the meaning of the films. Barker believes this will be a great opportunity for people to learn about the Nature Conservancy and what they are doing to protect the Arizona wilderness.

“I also want them to learn about our work,” Barker said. “It’s a connection for us.”

Barker said she is especially excited to bring these films to Phoenix because she’s attended the festival in Telluride herself. An added bonus to the multiday event was meeting like-minded individuals who share a love for nature.

“People were from all over the world and they all had this passion for life outdoors and wanted to see that expressed in short film,” Barker said.

She is hoping that this film showing will bring nature lovers from around the Valley together for a night of learning and entertainment. This showing is perfect for those adventure seekers who can’t sit still because the longest film is a mere 28 minutes with most of them falling below 5 minutes.

“There’s a lot of shorts,” Barker said. “That’s what makes it really great, to see what people can communicate in a short amount of time about nature.”

Mountainfilm on Tour. 6 p.m. Friday, January 18, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street; 480-499-8587; Tickets are $15 via Scottsdale Arts.
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Megan Marples