The Wheeler Opera House, in association with Telluride Mountainfilm, has announced the line-up of special guests at Mountainfilm in Aspen, the ninth annual festival taking place Wednesday, August 23 through Sunday, August 27, 2017 in downtown Aspen, CO. Full festival passes ($140), Pick 3 Passes ($60) and single tickets ($25) are on sale now at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970-920-5770/ The full schedule for Mountainfilm in Aspen can be found at The Wheeler Opera House is located at 320 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, CO.


12:30 PM – Cooking School of Aspen
Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen: THE NEW NORMAL
The End of Snow (21 min)
A scientist dredges up 10,000-year-old silt from the bottom of an alpine lake. A lovable hermit known as the Snow Guardian, meticulously records weather data at his remote Colorado cabin. A Wyoming rancher raises cattle sustainably with water conservation in mind. By analyzing the data from these different sources, climate scientist and skier Jane Zelikova hopes to better understand the dwindling Western snowpack and how people can adapt to a future without snow.
The Seed Vault (17 min)
Amid a snow-covered Nordic landscape, a portal on the side of a frosty mountain leads to a long, dark tunnel and then a frozen door. Behind that door: the history of agriculture, — of cultivation, selection and environmental symbioses — as told by more than 880,000 seeds. This is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the largest collection of seeds in the world and a safeguard against loss of diversity, insurance that human agriculture can adapt and continue to feed the world.
Adaptation Bangladesh (12 min)
The “new normal” of global climate change is, generally, a harrowing reality to contemplate. Cultural anthropologist) Alizé Carrére helps us see, however, that it does not need to be a reality devoid of hope. In Bangladesh, Carrére shows us the kind of resilience, flexibility and innovation that will be requisite for the survival of our species.

7:00 PM – Wheeler Opera House
Sponsored by Ute Mountaineer
Denali’s Raven (9 min)
Like a raven on an updraft, Leighan Falley soars above the glaciers and peaks of the Alaska Range with her daughter Skye strapped into the backseat of her de Havilland Beaver. Born of a desire to see more of the dramatic landscape and a need to supplement her career as a mountain guide, Falley now works as a commercial pilot in Talkeetna, Alaska.
Ascend (6 min)
After being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Jon Wilson had his left leg fully amputated. The loss of a limb stopped the cancer, but it didn’t stop Wilson from enjoying his favorite pastime of mountain biking. This short film celebrates the indomitable spirit that keeps him zooming through singletrack.
A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends (14 min)
Nate Henn was full of humor, generosity and spirit. He was so alive. But then, in 2010, a series of terror-related bombings devastated Kampala, Uganda, leaving 74 people dead, including Henn. The news was a devastating blow for his best friend Tyler Dunning, who plunged into darkness, grief, anger and self-medication. His only solace? Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, where the cliff faces, pine forests and wildlife softened his raw emotions. It was a failed attempt to climb Longs Peak that really changed him: The humbling experience sent him on a quest to visit all 59 U.S. national parks.
In Person: Tyler Dunning
Doing It Scared (12 min)
Eighteen years ago, Paul Pritchard was abseiling from the top of the Totem Pole, a gravity-defying tower that juts out from the sea off the coast of Tasmania, when he dislodged a boulder that hit him on the head. In an instant, his life changed. In “Doing it Scared,” Pritchard, with the help of his friends and fellow climbers, returns to the Totem Pole to challenge himself in an entirely new way.
John Shocklee: A Fairy Tale (7 min)
He lived with his parents until he was 26, took a minimum-wage guide position at the age of 39, and at 52 still hasn’t landed what society would deem a real job. But refusing to grow up has worked out well for John Shocklee, who splits life between ski guiding at America’s rowdiest ski mountain, in Silverton, Colorado, and rowing dories down the ultimate river, The Grand Canyon.
Safety Third (30 min)
“There’s a fine line between being bold and being a dumbass. And I think Brad did some time on both sides of the line.” Such are the words filmmaker and climber Cedar Wright uses to describe the subject of his new film.
Tatum Monod (4 min)
Tatum Monod is the embodiment of grace and steed as she threads down pillowed slopes, steep spines and bold backcountry lines in this 2016 season edit.

NOON – The Little Nell
Lunch Discussions at The Little Nell: THE NEW NORMAL
Thursday will feature “The New Normal,” moderated by Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron with panelists Cultural Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer Alizé Carrére and Auden Schendler, (Board Chairman, Protect Our Winters and VP of Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company, plus a local farmer (TBA).

12:30 PM – Cooking School of Aspen
Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen: FISHPEOPLE (60 min)
Keith Malloy’s lyrical ode to the ocean is comprised of portraits of six people who virtually live in, on or beneath the water. Some are endurance and extreme athletes, like deep sea free diver and spear fisher Kimi Werner and big wave surfer Matahi Drollet. Others, like marine photographer Ray Collins and social worker Eddie Donnellan, are devoted to introducing people to the transformative power of the sea. All have found their purpose in the water. One of the stories told in the film is that of Lynne Cox and her many remarkable accomplishments, including swims across the Bering Strait and to Antarctica – sharing the triumph of her remarkable achievements that pushed the limits of human endurance while bridging international borders and bringing people together.
In Person: Lynne Cox

4:00 PM – Explore Booksellers
BOOK SIGNING: LYNNE COX (“Fishpeople” and Author of “Swimming to Antarctica” and Grayson”) & TYLER DUNNING (“A Field Guide to Losing Your Friend”)

5:00 PM – Wheeler Opera House Lobby
PANEL DISCUSSION: Game Change: Documentary Film & the New Frontier of Streaming Media
Bringing more content—and choice—to screens as never before, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a host of providers are transforming the documentary landscape. Streaming services are opening up new opportunities for both filmmakers and viewers, changing the way that we make, access and experience documentary films. What does this shift to the 24/7 digital screen signify for the industry, filmmakers, and audiences? Our panel will explore this game-changing element in terms of creative decisions and artistic control, activism opportunities, and market pressures (like return on investment). We will also discuss what it means to watch documentary as a shared public experience. Big screen vs. device? In the theater or at home? What’s the value of each viewing experience and why are both important to the future of documentary film?
In Person: Laura Thielen (Moderator; Film Writer & Festival Consultant) and Dennis Aig (Producer “Charged” & “Unbranded”), Jeff Orlowski (Producer & Director “Chasing Coral”), Netflix Ex TBD, Medical Professional TBD

7:00 PM – Wheeler Opera House
It was just a dead bear in a metal can. But unbeknownst to Eduardo Garcia, the animal was concealing a live electrical wire. As he stooped to poke at it with his knife, he was hit with 2,400 volts of electricity, which left him with gruesome, life-threatening injuries and forever altered the course of his life. “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story” recounts the heart-wrenching recovery of the “bionic chef,” adventure-seeker and Montana outdoorsman.
In Person: Dennis Aig (Producer), Eduardo Garcia, Jennifer Jane

NOON – The Little Nell
Lunch Discussions at The Little Nell: NATURE, ADVENTURE & THE POWER TO HEAL
Join Mountainfilm in Aspen special guests Jenny Jane (“Charged”), Tyler Dunning (“Field Guide”) and Lynne Cox (“Fishpeople”) for a special lunch discussion surrounding the “art of adventure.”

12:30 – Cooking School of Aspen
Lunch Film Series at the Cooking School of Aspen: THE LAST HONEY HUNTER (60 min)
In the mist-shrouded mountains of Nepal’s Hongu River valley, the Kulung people carve their lives out of the land and practice an ancient form of animism structured around the god Rongkemi. There you will find a wiry and unassuming man named Mauli Dhan Rai, who is believed to be chosen by the gods for the perilous rite of honey harvesting. The task, which involves climbing rope ladders up sheer cliffs to cut down combs made by the world’s largest honeybee (before collecting the poisonous honey within), is extraordinarily dangerous. But it’s a spiritual pursuit soaked in myth that the Kulung believe taps directly into the gods. And with roads, technology and market forces, it may not be around for long. This film, a 2016 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant winner directed by Ben Knight, puts a spotlight on a remarkable practice under threat of modernity.
In Person: Jim Nowak (founder & director, dZi Foundation), Ben Knight (director)

5:30 PM – Wheeler Opera House
Fred Beckey is a towering figure whose innumerable first ascents cemented his legacy as one of the greatest climbers of all time. “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey” looks back at this singular life, following the nonagenarian climber over the last decade as he’s slowed but never stopped doing what he loves most. Beckey, like so many people of great accomplishment, is a controversial figure, having alienated fellow climbers by stealing their routes (and even their girlfriends).
In Person: Dave O’Leske (director)

8:30 PM – Wheeler Opera House
In “Chasing Coral,” director Jeff Orlowski and a team of scientists, photographers and divers set out to document this underwater crisis and share it with a global audience. It’s no easy task, and the team faces technical challenges, the whims of nature and the ticking clock as it races to record bleaching events as they happen. Chasing Coral is a film that pairs beauty and urgency with a glimpse of the tragedies that will continue if humans don’t address climate change.
In Person: Zach Rago and Jeff Orlowski (director)

NOON – The Little Nell
Lunch Discussions at The Little Nell: WORLD UNDER THE WAVES
Film lovers can catch “waves” as festival special guests from “Fishpeople” (Lynne Cox), “Chasing Coral” (Zach Rago and Jeff Orlowski), and “Take Every Wave” (Buzzy Kerbox) discuss their experiences in the “World Under the Waves.”

5:30 PM – Wheeler Opera House
BLOOD ROAD (115 min)
Rebecca Rusch has won numerous championships in ultra-endurance mountain bike races. In “Blood Road,” she undertakes another kind of endurance challenge on two wheels, covering 1,200 miles of the fabled Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and stopping at the obscure site in the jungle where her father’s plane crashed in 1972 during the Vietnam War.
In Person: Rebecca Rusch (via Skype)

8:30 PM – Wheeler Opera House
Laird Hamilton is best known as a pioneering big wave surfer, but that label doesn’t do him justice. He is a consummate waterman, innovator of wave riding, free diver, windsurfer, long-distance paddler and man more able and at home in the ocean than most of us every will be on dry land. In this feature documentary, Rory Kennedy traces Hamilton’s life and legacy, from a childhood as a towheaded outcast in Hawaii to the defiant streak that compelled him to sit out competitive surfing and the obsessive nature that’s led to many breakthroughs in surf technology, including tow-in and foil methods.
In Person: Buzzy Kerbox

NOON – Wheeler Opera House
Kidz Kino aims to expand the reach of the festival to youth audiences – bringing the passion, creativity and vision of filmmaking to the next generation. The program will include hands on educational activities, as well as an hour afternoon program of family-friendly short films.

5:30 PM – Cooking School of Aspen
In Person: Chef Eduardo Garcia
More details to be announced soon about this special community dinner, prepared by Chef Eduardo Garcia (Charged) and the team at the Cooking School of Aspen.

For more information about these events for the 2017Mountainfilm in Aspen, visit