Fresh from a weekend run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in Manhattan, the Mountainfilm festival from Telluride, Colorado, will be making a national tour stop in Fairfield tonight at 7 p.m.
Founded in 1979, Mountainfilm celebrates documentaries and filmmakers devoted to nature and contemporary social issues. The event is held over a few days every May in the perfect setting for it — the gorgeous small town in Colorado that is also celebrated for its annual international film festival.
The Memorial Day weekend gathering has expanded over the past four decades beyond documentary screenings to include a full-day symposium on a critical contemporary issue, art and photography exhibits, book signings, student programs and a closing picnic/awards ceremony.
The organizers invite a wide variety of special guests, from artists to adventurers and academics to activists. This strategy shows the connection between the concerns of socially conscious filmmakers and action that can be taken in the real world.
In keeping with its progressive mandate, Mountainfilm on tour often aligns itself with regional non-profit organizations and topical issues.
The evening in Fairfield will also feature extras in the vein of the Telluride event including some of the local people involved in one of the films.
Mountainfilm is part of a long tradition of travelogues and sports documentaries that have helped push technical innovation and alternative means of distribution (and inspired countless viewers).
For instance, who knows have many audience members at locally organized screenings of the surfing and skiing films of Warren Miller over the past 30 years have been inspired to try a new sport or travel to some exotic locale?
And who knows what fire might be lit under some of the people who check out Mountainfilm on tour in Fairfield tonight?
With the sad closing of the Community Theatre in Fairfield Center, the Moutainfilm festival has moved around the block to the Fairfield Theatre Company on Sanford Street.
For ticket information, visit www.fairfieldtheatre.org.
For the history of the Telluride festival, go to www.mountainfilm.org.