A packed house awaits the opening of the 2007 Alpinist Film Festival in Jackson’s new Center for the Arts on March 15. The Line, a film that follows Snow Night’s keynote speaker, Mark Newcomb, to the top of Shishapangma–and back down on skis–won the opening night’s People’s Choice Award. [Photo] Dan Long
Jackson, Wyoming — March 16, 2007 — Organizers of The 2007 Alpinist Film Festival announced today that The Line won the People’s Choice award for Snow Night, the first evening of the 2007 Festival.
“I think it’s a testament to the audience’s good taste!” laughed Mark Newcomb, the star of the film and Snow Night’s featured speaker, when told of the award.
Other films admired by the capacity audience were Town Down, the story of the twenty-five year old Jackson Town Downhill ski race by the Jackson film company KGB Productions, and the Teton skiing documentary Legends of the Fall Line, by Piton Productions. “A lot of audience members had different favorite films, which as an organizer is exactly what you want,” said Festival Founder and Director Christian Beckwith. “But in the end The Line was the clear favorite among the voters.”
Presenters were on hand for every film in the evening’s lineup. The night’s opening film, In Doug’s Words–an interview with last year’s Snow Night presenter Doug Coombs two weeks before he died in La Grave, France–was presented by Coombs’ longtime friend and ski partner Rick Hunt. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” said Producer Wayne Roberts of the audience’s reaction to the presentation and the film that followed. The Festival organizers dedicated the 2007 Festival to Coombs, who last last year rappelled from the rafters of the Walk Festival Hall to kick off the evening. A tribute to Coombs, by Teton Gravity Research, racheted the energy back up with a showcasing of the skills that made a Coombs a skiing legend.
Other films on offer over the course of the evening were Poor Man’s Helicopter, which featured the paragliding ski cinematography of Darrell Miller, and Igneous, a film about the tiny Jackson ski company of the same name, by David Gonzales. Both received votes from the audience as well.
“When Legends of the Fall Line illustrated how instrumental women skiers were to the development of skiing in Jackson Hole, people were blown away,” said Roberts. “And Town Down got a huge nod from the crowd, too.” But in the end, The Line, by Rattlecan Productions, persevered, with nearly fifty percent of the votes.
“It was an unbelievable gathering of the community,” said Newcomb of the evening. “Everybody there was committed to the mountains at some level, even if it was just to go hiking, so everyone had some connection to the films on the screen.”
The remaining evenings of the Festival (which sold out days in advance) feature more films from the worlds of surfing and climbing. On Friday’s Surf Night, films include Chasing Dora, which features last year’s presenter Mickey Munoz, and Sipping Jetstreams, a film Festival organizers are calling “one of the most sensually beautiful surf films ever made.” Surf legend Gerry Lopez will conclude the evening with a presentation of Pipeline Masters, a history of Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline. Saturday’s Stone Night features Dean Potter, who will finish the Festival with a world premier of Aerialis, a film about his efforts to fly. Afterhours parties both nights will continue the festivities late into the night.
“One down, two to go,” said a tired but happy Beckwith. “I guess we’re about to find out how much fun can a townful of adrenaline junkies have.”