10th Annual MountainTop Film Festival:
"I still have a dream: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed" - MLK speech at civil rights march on Washington, August 28, 1963
The 10th Annual MountainTop Film Festival will once again offer a diverse program of documentary and dramatic films, addressing social and environmental issues from around the world.
These “films for thought” bear witness to human rights violations and create a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings to life social issues, civil rights abuses, and environmental concerns through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.
The festival strives to use film to tell human stories that have the power to move and educate. MountainTop offers an educational outreach program to area high schools and makes free daytime screenings available for interested students and teachers. Students with a valid ID get to attend festival films for free.
Opening Night will feature a Vermont resident and film maker Ed Pincus’ early work - BLACK NATCHEZ - a cinema verité account of the attempt to organize a black community in the Deep South in 1965 during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement.
Also highlighting Opening Night are films about an aging gay couple who escape from a nursing home in Maine and drive to Nova Scotia on a quest to be legally married - CLOUDBURST -, South Africa’s struggle with Aids - INSIDE STORY - , and a film about a small school in Kenya where hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of
an education so long denied — even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds - THE FIRST GRADER -.
From 6-8pm there will be an Opening Night Reception with live music and light refreshments in the lounge.
Besides showing films from all over the world, the festival is known to provide a forum for discussion, direct action and an opportunity to meet filmmaker, community organizers and activists.
• CHASING ICE (2012, US doc, 116min)
Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Balog was a skeptic about climate change, but that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history. Within months of that first trip, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. Panel discussion • Saturday January 19 after 5pm screening
• THE HOUSE IS LIVE IN (2012, US doc, 1hr 46min)
For over forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. THE HOUSE I LIVE IN captures heart-wrenching stories from individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs, revealing its profound human rights implications. Q&A with Vermont filmmaker Eugene Jarecki to follow • Monday, Jan. 21 after 7pm screening
• AI WEI WEI (2012, China doc, 1hr 31min)
Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. Chinese authorities, in response, shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldoze his newly built studio, and hold him in secret detention. AI WEIWEI is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics.
• BETTING THE FARM (2012, US doc, 1hr 25min)
A documentary that follows three farmers and their families through the tumultuous first two years of MOO Milk. With intimate access to their triumphs and disappointments, the film gives audiences a rare glimpse at the real lives of American farmers at a crossroads. Q&A with filmmaker Cecily Pingree • Sunday, Jan. 20 after the 5pm screening
• KRISIS (2012, Egypt/US doc, 62min)
A feature documentary film that fuses material collected during the filming of THE PRISM GR2011. It is the synthesis of different stories that explore how Greece and the Greeks are experiencing the economic crisis, by looking into the hearts of people from all walks of
life. It is also an experiment in collective documentary filmmaking, as seen through the lenses of 14 photojournalists. THE PRISM and KRISIS are testaments to how creativity is the best antidote to the crisis, and that innovation can occur in the darkest of hours.
Films and events will run in both theaters — please note length of films to ensure your desired schedule! Tickets and festival passes are available at the box office at the Big Picture Theate or online through Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets are $8/6 per screening unless otherwise noted.
For more information call 802.496.8994.
For further press related info call Festival Director Claudia Becker.