October 23, 2007

Dispatch from Scotland

October 23, 2007It's a beautiful, sunny Tuesday and I'm about to head to the Scottish countryside. I'm on vacation across the pond, but I wanted to blog briefly because I've spent the weekend attending the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, a very well-planned and executed event that reminds me of what Mountainfilm in Telluride must have been like in its first ten years.


Stevie Christie, who runs the festival as a hobby and out of sheer love of the genre, was a friendly host and offered tickets for the weekend. The festival schedule is simple and tightly programmed: six sessions of about two hours of films and lectures, spaced over a three-day weekend, in one dedicated theater.They played a few films that Mountainfilm has screened in the past (Xtreme Tramping, Big-Summit Speed Riding, Flying High from the New World Disorder series, the Didier section of First Ascent) and had a strong showing of Scottish subjects and filmmakers.The choices for finalist for best film were a bit odd, in my opinion. Asiemut, one of the best films running the mountain film festival circuit this year, was screened but not nominated, and a strange and unsuccessful Swiss mish-mash (parody?) film of bad guys shooting at paragliding skiers (for twenty minutes), called Woopy, was. The film that won was mostly deserving, I guess, but maybe I've seen just a few too many solo-adventure-journey-into-the-wilderness films to get really excited about this one, called Scottish Extremities, the story of one man's kayak journey through the Hebrides.I still haven't had a chance to see the full version of the new film from Hot Aches (the guys who won the Charlie Fowler award at MF last year), but EMFF did play a custom-edit of Committed featuring mostly the Scottish climbs. Trad climbing? In my opinion, these guys are completely crazy. The tension is pretty extreme when you've got a climber on screen saying "well, I could die if I fall off this..."Posted by Emily Long