The Crested Butte Film Festival brings in documentaries and narrative films from around the world—right next to your favorite mountain biking trails.
The Crested Butte Film Festival brings in documentaries and narrative films from around the world—right next to your favorite mountain biking trails. (Photo: Crested Butte Film Festival)

The Only Things You Should Read, Watch, and Do This Week: Sep 26

The books, movies, music, podcasts, and other happenings on our radar


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It's only the second official day of fall, but we are 100 percent ready for leaf peeping—while squeezing in as much time for summer sports as possible before ski season hits. That's why we're excited about next week's culture gathering, the Crested Butte Film Festival: art house films and shorts from our favorite adventure filmmakers, the charm and singletrack of Crested Butte, plus neighbor and 2016 Best Town Gunnison…  it's like we formulated the perfect early-autumn weekend. Thank us later.


Crested Butte Film Festival (September 29-October 2)

You love Crested Butte for the mountain biking and skiing, and now you have one more excuse to plan a quick escape to the mountain town. Next weekend marks the sixth annual Crested Butte Film Festival, which features about 100 documentaries and narrative films, both feature-length and short, right as the aspens begin to change color.

When we called up Michael Brody, who co-founded the event with his wife Jennifer Brody in 2011, he was grilling on the porch in the midst of a freak snow flurry. Don't worry, next weekend Crested Butte will be back to fine fall weather—and Brody gave us several other reasons to put the fest on your calendar.

The adventure films. “It's a really outdoors-based crowd in Crested Butte—everyone's hiking, biking, camping, traveling—so the town would be happy if we were showing all outdoor adventure films, and we do have those.” Including Ben Knight's 120 Days, Joey Schusler's The Trail to Kazbegi, and Ben Moon's Offseason. 

The other films. There's a lot more on the schedule that goes way beyond outdoor adventure, and Brody guarantees they're all great. “We’re very lucky in that we’re not beholden to anyone to show anything,” he says. “Whenever people ask me, What’s you’re favorite film from the last few years? I say, Look at our website. That’s it. We get to show exactly what we want and love.” Two of Brody's favorites: LoveTruea documentary in three parts (“I've never seen anything like it”), and Equalsa dystopian sci-fi movie starring Kristen Stewart.

The filmmakers. One highlight: A homecoming for Crested Butte native Sara Murphy, who built up a career in film starting as an assistant to Philip Seymour Hoffman, and who last year won a Sundance Institute Producer's Award for her film, Morris from America.

The experience outside the theater. New for this year, organizers created seven tailored guides for different kinds of festival-goers, from “The Adventurer” to “The Cinephile.” Brody's tips for everyone visiting the fest for the first time: “Get lodging in town. We have something like 138 beds in town and then 3,000 up on the ski mountain. Secure that and then come to town, park your car, unload it, and you don’t need your car for the next four days. Bring a bike, certainly—a mountain bike or a townie. See a lot of films but also see the town. Really allow yourself to feel at home in this very small town and connect with the people that live here, make your coffee, pour your beer.”

And, of course, Crested Butte. “The town is only about eight-by-eight blocks long. Everything is so small and centralized that you always see filmmakers and friends coming and going. It’s very intimate. The speed limit in town is 15 miles per hour—and it’s really hard to drive a car 15 miles per hour. I think it just resonates with people's hearts and well-being. It feels good to live at this speed and this pace.”


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Longread from Elsewhere

Surely someone who's read this piece from The Walrus has already made a joke about seeing the forest for the trees. Or rather, seeing the forest thanks to the story of one tree, as presented in the saga of logger Dennis Cronin and one giant Douglas fir. We came for the charming humanization of Big Lonely Doug, as promised in the headline, and stayed for the worthwhile lessons on old-growth conservation.

As he waded through the thigh-high undergrowth, something caught his attention: a Douglas fir, poking up through the forest’s canopy and with a trunk wider than his truck. It was one of the tallest trees he had ever come across in his four decades in the logging industry—nearly the height of a twenty-storey building.

While it could take 500 years for a fir to reach fifty metres tall and two metres wide, it can take a skilled faller with a chainsaw five minutes to bring it down.

He didn’t know it then, but Cronin was standing under the second-largest Douglas fir in the country—later confirmed to be sixty-six metres tall, nearly four metres wide, and almost twelve metres in circumference. The tree’s deeply crevassed trunk was limbless until well above the forest canopy, and its grain looked straight, too: a wonderful specimen of timber. Encased within the foot-thick corky bark was enough wood to fill four logging trucks or to frame five 2,000-square-foot houses. As it could also be turned into higher-priced beams and posts for houses in Victoria and Vancouver, or shipped across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, this single tree would fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

Cronin reached into his vest pocket for a ribbon he rarely used, tore off a strip, and tied it to a thin root protruding from the base of the trunk. The tape wasn’t pink or orange but green, and along its length were the words “Leave Tree.”

Read the rest

Longread from Outside

An Ig Nobel Winner Gets Hunted by a Bloodhound

Charles Foster has really made a name for himself by doing as the animals do, very literally. His very good book, Being a Beast, elevates what could just be stunt journalism (I lived like a badger and ate worms!). Foster is both funny and thoughtful, and seems to earnestly want to understand the thought processes of wildlife—but, yeah, his commitment to full immersion definitely sells the book. And this week, it earned him an Ig Nobel prize in biology. The program rewards those who conduct bizarre research (that hopefully makes you think as well). In this excerpt from Foster's book, he lets a friend's bloodhound chase him down as if he's a deer. 

Matt, a plasterer from Dunster, met me outside the White Horse in Stogumber. His family had chased foxes and hares across Exmoor and the Quantocks for generations, and in the back of his van were some of the country’s best-nosed bloodhounds. One of them, Monty, was going to hunt me.

“Let him have a sniff of your boot,” said Matt. “I bet we’ll have you before you break a sweat.”

I set off running along the side of a field of young maize. It had been raining, and there was now a hot fog rising from my footprints. It was bad weather for being a hunted deer.

I wasn’t going to be killed, but still the chase seemed to matter very much. That’s the neurotic temperament for you.

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Lead Photo: Crested Butte Film Festival