Posted on 08 March 2012.
Posted on 05 March 2012.
From the film “Deep North.” (Photo courtesy Corey Rich)
Alert, members of the “tribe” … promoter Todd Offenbacher is summoning you to Mammoth Lakes for his Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, which returns to the Edison Theatre for its second year next Friday and Saturday, March 9-10. Offenbacher’s touring festival collects some of the most extreme outdoor adventure footage ever shot, which he dubs, “the next best thing to doing it yourself!”
Like many East Coast transplants, Offenbacher, a Lake Tahoe resident, hails from the Washington D.C./Maryland area, but has called the Eastern Sierra home for 15 years. “I’m a mountain guy. I love skiing and climbing, and I’ve been to Mammoth a lot,” Offenbacher told The Sheet. He launched the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival in large part because of something that prolific skier and writer, the late Robert Frohlich, told him: “Tahoe needs a good outlet for the tribe.”
The “tribe,” as Offenbacher puts it, is a term Frohlich used to encapsulate the cultural brotherhood and sisterhood of outdoor sports. “I’ve been to the Arctic, the Antarctic, Turkey … it’s a lifestyle I live and love,” Offenbacher enthused. “You meet the most unique people. They come together over the love of sport.”
Offenbacher, who is also a host on the Outside TV network — seen locally on Sierra Wave Channel 33, explained that he runs into “superstars” from various disciplines wherever he goes. “I cross paths with members of the tribe from all over the world … we drink beer, ski, climb, camp together. And wherever you go, there’s shared friendship.”
How does he select the films for the festival’s lineup? “I have a real feel for what people like,” he responded. Among this year’s roster of films:
“Industrial Revolution” is Danny Macaskill’s impressive follow up film after last year’s popular You Tube video, “Way Back Home,” which logged more than 26 million hits. “Cold,” which won Best Adventure Film at the Banff Festival, follows Corey Richards, who became the first American to climb an 8,000-meter peak in Pakistan during winter. Legendary film company Warren Miller Entertainment made the program with “Tribute to Kip Garre” featuring steep heli-skiing in Cordova, Alaska. In “Long-Lining,” Matt Gerdes demonstrates a new type of flight suit during a BASE jump in which he actually GAINED elevation during flight.
Kenny Luby’s “Lundberg Loses It” is an insane slice of ski film in which Eric Lundberg tries not to lose it at more than 70 mph … on asphalt.
But, perhaps the festival highlight is one not mentioned in the press releases, and a film that’s rather personal to Offenbacher: “Deep North.” It’s PARTLY a film about a trip Offenbacher made into the Arctic Circle to climb in Brooks Range, but also a sort of “film within a film … within a film,” as he puts it.
“We had photographer Corey Rich shooting [the team] making a first ascent, but we also had a cameraman shooting Corey shooting us,” he explained. “That gave us a behind the scenes perspective you don’t normally see in these types of films.” But that’s not all … devotees of the Discovery Channel’s “Flying Wild Alaska” got their own sneak peek at the event, with a camera crew shooting Offenbacher’s camera crew shooting the team! “The whole thing has some really weird layers to it!”
With all this technology, how does he view the evolution of the adventure film as a genre? “The masses have really bought into it,” Offenbacher notes. “You see base jumping and skateboarding and skiing in major motion pictures.” He also lauds the proliferation of smaller, more compact cameras, which have all made movies accessible to the everyday filmmaker. “Warren Miller’s early movies were revolutionary, but they had huge budgets and crews. Today, we have smaller remote control helicopters, which you can mount smaller cameras on, that allow you to get that same sweeping footage for a lot less money.”
All of which lets more exploration of “undiscovered country” for films, such as Antarctica, which has historically been very challenging for filmmakers.
As for this year’s Offenbacher said this year’s Tahoe Festival is guaranteed to impress, inspire and fascinate. “But the main thing is to bring the tribe together and celebrate mountain lifestyle through sport,” he said. “It’s like a tribal council … only with movies. We’ll have everything except the sweatshack. The movies take care of that!”
“The Foundation takes its mission of supporting education and the arts seriously, and hosting a tour stop of Todd’s film series is an opportunity to provide a unique insight into extreme sports that appeals to all ages,” commented Shira Dubrovner, Artistic Director of the Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre, who’s presenting the festival in association with the Mammoth Lakes Foundation. A portion of every entry ticket sold over the two days of the festival’s stop in Mammoth at the Edison will be donated to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.
Posted on 27 January 2012.
While much of this January turned out to be disappointing in its lack of snowfall, it excelled in other areas … one of those being tourism. Mono County’s Tourism Commission discussed the topic on Tuesday as part of its regular meeting. Many visitors decided that winter in the mountains is preferable to being in the city and took the dearth of snow in stride. During the Christmas holidays, June Lake’s Double Eagle resort had some early cancellations, but a waiting list filled in the blanks, and the resort was 100% booked through New Year’s.
The north county, meanwhile, found itself with an unexpected blitz of visitors, many of those likely sent by Mammoth business leaders and locals, who directed guests to rare winter opportunities to see Mono Lake, Bodie State Park and even Yosemite Valley. All of those areas are typically inaccessible during January, but were wide open this year.
In Lee Vining, Tim Hansen told Commissioners the town easily logged its best January in recent history. Lake View Trailer Court owner Bill Banta said he was averaging 70% occupancy during the period, a figure typically unheard of at that time of year. And Commission Chair Jimmy Little, whose business is just a little north of the Bodie turnoff, noted that his research revealed that every open north county trailhead was consistently being used.
One casualty of the lack of snowfall: Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming feature film, “Django Unchained,” which was to have shot several exterior snow scenes at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, not far from Chair 14. Local Location Manager Steve Morrison told the Mono Tourism Commission that the filmmakers had to make a decision, given their fairly tight shooting schedule, and moved the snow scenes to Wyoming.
At press time, the cabin and tent city sets were being struck. Earlier in the week, the production finished shooting scheduled scenes in Lone Pine and Independence.
Morrison did, however, report that talks are progressing regarding a big-budget Tom Cruise film, which is eyeing Little Walker Lake as a location for two weeks of filming this summer in June or July. Described as a futuristic drama, the title is still being settled on, and a deal to shoot in Mono County has not yet been reached. Morrison said he’ll continue to brief the Commission on any further progress and details as they become available.
Posted on 20 January 2012.
Backcountry film festival
Celebrate the human-powered experience during the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival, brought to you by Mammoth Nordic. The event starts at 6 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 20, at the Forest Service Auditorium in Mammoth Lakes. Enter the raffle to have a chance to win the grand prize of a 6-day Nordic ski trip to Winthrop, Wash. Entry tickets are $10 presale, available at Access Art & Business Center, and $15 at the door. Details at mammothnordic.com.
“Weather is for the Birds”
Could you survive in the bird world? Explore the world of birds during “This Weather Is For The Birds,” a 30-minute interactive program. This family program will engage all your senses as you compare yourself to a bird.
Program starts at 2 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center on Hwy 203, at the entrance to Mammoth Lakes. The free presentation is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, the National Parks Service, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism.
OHV vehicle grant open house
The Inyo National Forest and Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be requesting grant funds from the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation division for the purpose of enhancing and managing motorized recreation in this area.
The agencies will hold an informal Open House from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, at the Forest Service/BLM office located at 351 Pacu Lane in Bishop. Representatives from the two agencies will be available to answer questions about potential grants and to receive your ideas about the types of projects and other opportunities which could be funded through these grants.
For more information, or if you have special needs for accommodation in order to participate, call Marty Hornick, Forest Trails Coordinator, at 760.873.2461 or Rich Williams, BLM Recreation Planner, at 760.872.5033.
Edison lends you a tenor
There’s no better way to start off 2012 at the Edison Theatre than with a riotous, door-slamming, dress-dropping, mixed-up-identity farce: Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor!”
It’s Sept. 8, 1934, and Cleveland’s premiere opera producer is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The tickets are sold, the stage is set, and the 30-piece orchestra is warming up. But, it’s about to become “un disastro gigantesco.” With three minutes to curtain, “Il Stupendo,” the world’s greatest tenor, is missing! And that’s only in the first five minutes! Love, lust, laughter, romance, chases, champagne and opera — all in one show!
The local cast features Chuck Scatolini as Tito Merelli, the great Italian Tenor also known as “Il Stupendo;” Greg Young is the scheming opera manager Mr. Saunders; Tim Casey is Max, Saunders’ mousy assistant, who dreams of an operatic career and who’s in love with Saunders’ daughter, Maggie played by Erica Sutch, who in turn is infatuated with “Il Stupendo.”
Alice Suszynski plays Julia the overexcited chairman of the opera board; Lynne Blanche is the sexy soprano, Diana; Jim Marcotte plays the star-struck bellhop; and Juliana Olinka is “Il Stupendo’s” jealous wife, Maria.
“Lend Me a Tenor,” plays Feb. 9-26, for three weekends, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., and on Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. Tickets: $20 General Admission, $18 for Seniors and Students.
Reservations, group sales, gift-giving and fundraiser opportunities: contact Shira Dubrovner at 760.934.6592 or email@example.com.
Posted on 12 November 2011.
Tarantino on the set of Death Proof, circa 2007. (Photo courtesy Dimension Films)
Big Hollywood feature to film in and around Mammoth
Mammoth has been in movies and on TV many times, but outside of some fairly high-profile national commercial productions and a few small screen appearances, it’s been nearly a decade (longer by some estimates) since a big feature was shot in the area. But all that is expected to change with the impending arrival of a new Quentin Tarantino picture that’s expected to spend a week, possibly two, shooting in Mammoth’s snowy climes.
Django Unchained is described as a “western drama” from director Tarantino. According to a synopsis: with the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Django) sets out to rescue his wife from Calvin Candie, a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures are co-producing the planned 2012 release.
The rumor mill has, not surprisingly, been cranking out a lot of speculation, but according to local film sources, the only stars in town at the moment are those to be found in the night sky. According to Film Mammoth’s Cleland Hoff, gossip about seeing movie crews working in town is only partly true. None of the principals are here yet, but Hoff said that even though the production company has been very hush-hush about the film so far, “We’re going to have some very notable people here in town before long.”
Indeed, stargazing could soon mean catching a glimpse or two of some of cinema’s biggest names. As listed on IMDBPro.com, the cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jamie Foxx (in the title role of Django), Anthony LaPaglia and Don Johnson, among many others.
Hoff said she’s been in on conversations with Town of Mammoth Lakes staff, Mono County Film Commissioner Alicia Vennos and Location Manager for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Steve Morrison. As she understands it, Tarantino won’t be shooting the whole film here, just selected scenes.
The production will be shooting in the area behind Chairs 13 & 14, which will likely be closed off at that time. The production, she noted, is “working hard to reduce the impact of the crew” and plans to keep the location fairly contained. Morrison will handle location chores for Mammoth Mountain. The only other shooting location known so far will be somewhere along the Mammoth Scenic Loop, but the actual location hasn’t yet been determined.
Meanwhile, some of the production team is in town doing advance work. The art and construction departments are building exteriors and other set pieces.
Hoff is hoping to contract some of her Film Mammoth liaison services to the production, but in any event, she’s overjoyed at the prospect of Mammoth landing such a big film fish, especially given the historically more costly choice of shooting in California. Lately, however, some recent tax breaks, as well as a loose alliance of sorts between many producers and directors vowing to keep production more local, could mean more of this level of film could be dropping anchor in the Eastern Sierra.
“Even it’s only a week to 10 days, the shoot will have a tremendous effect on the local economy,” Hoff opined. Having such high-caliber stars and Hollywood power players in town will go a long way to helping us build a great film-friendly community, she added.
DiCaprio, one of film’s most sought-after actors, can be seen this fall on the big screen in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” about the turbulent and controversial life of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Tarantino, meanwhile, has established his own signature in-your-face filmmaking style, and racked up numerous smash hits including “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” the “Kill Bill” series (Vol. 3 is in development) and more recently 2009’s Oscar-nominated “Inglourious Basterds.”
“I’m hoping they’re given the real Mammoth treatment,” Hoff suggested. “If we’re cool, and treat them with respect, we’ll get more and more production. I’ve seen the boom happening up here in the last couple of years or so, and it shows no sign of letting up, so we should definitely make the most of it. If we work at it, we could have a decent decade of making and presenting a smart, trendy place to shoot.”
“Django Unchained” is expected to start production in early December, and projections indicate that Mammoth’s part of it will go before the cameras on or about the third week of December.
Posted on 26 September 2011.
Posted on 19 September 2011.
Mono Lake may find a helping hand in AB 42
On Sept. 6, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 42, which would allow non-profit organizations to help operate state parks that might otherwise close, according to the California State Parks Foundation’s website. “AB 42 simply provides the opportunity for the Department of Parks and Recreation and nonprofit organizations to pursue operating agreements or agreements for state parks,” the website read. Locally, this could mean a way to keep the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve up and running.
The bill, according to Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin, is modeled after the agreement between California State Parks and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. The SBTHP is a 501(c) 3, nonprofit organization that, among its other projects and tasks, operates the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.
“All options are possible. I’m not sure if it is the answer, but it is a good bill,” explained McQuilkin.
The Mono Lake Committee, a 501(c) 3, could be a potential candidate for park operator. One of the issues, however, is funding.
“The operating agreement doesn’t provide funding, so we would have to figure out how to pay for it,” McQuilkin explained. “Plus, the state is not just giving parks away. We would have to ramp up and show that we could meet the park’s objectives.”
However, operations at Mono Tufa Reserve may be less cumbersome than at some other state parks.
“Mono Lake is a low-cost operation because there aren’t things like campgrounds, which other state parks have,” McQuilkin explained. “Responsibilities lie more in monitoring and visitation to the Reserve, but it is a large area.”
Everything down to logistical and mundane items such as insurance would need to be nailed down to the last detail before an agreement would be put in place.
“AB 42 is super-customized by park,” McQuilkin explained. “But we are talking with the California State Parks Foundation and we are certainly looking into it.”
McQuilkin added that the process would also allow more ways to look at partnership opportunities with other nonprofits in the area such as the Bodie Foundation, to expand efforts to keep Mono Lake open. However, “the legislation does set a 20-agreement cap on the number of nonprofit operating agreements that are allowed for a park, so there may be some competition for them.” McQuilkin said.
Nonprofits that do enter into operating agreements with the state would be required to file an annual report that includes a full accounting and summary of the prior year’s operations, among other things. According to California State Parks Foundation’s website this is to ensure transparency and public accountability.
Even with these types of controls in place some are still concerned about giving more oversight of Mono Lake to the Mono Lake Committee or other nonprofits with specific mission statements.
At last week’s Mono County Tourism/Film Commission meeting, Commissioners discussed a CalTravel petition regarding AB 42. The group ultimately took no action on the petition since the bill had already passed through the Legislature, but during the discussion it wondered aloud what type of power the operating agreement would give agencies such as the Mono Lake Committee.
Is an outright closure better than having an organization run it with its own ideals? questioned the group. Members, however, recognized the opportunity of AB 42 and were supportive of the flexibility the bill would give the state to keep parks open.
In a follow-up phone call this week with Commissioner Danna Stroud, she clarified that the group would just want the operator to be open to diverse interests.
“We just need to evaluate who would be best [for an operation agreement] based on AB 42 criteria,” Stroud said. “Sometimes it can be perceived that mission-driven objectives may get in the way of operation.”
Governor Jerry Brown must still sign the bill for it to become effective. Brown has until Oct. 6 to pen his signature on the document.
The Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve has been listed on the state park closure list that was published earlier this year. The park closures were deemed necessary by the state due to its budget cuts. Full park closures related to the budget reductions are expected to occur by July 2012.
Posted on 16 September 2011.
7th annual Oktoberfest
The Village at Mammoth presents the 7th annual Mammoth Lakes Oktoberfest, Sept. 23-24.
Lakanuki will be on-site at the Biergarten pouring beer and cocktails with Jagermeister and Spaten specials. Commemorative beer steins and logo stadium cups for sale with discounted refills. And while you’re enjoying that bier, enjoy some great music, too!
FRIDAY: 6-9 p.m. The local favorite, world-touring, ska-rock band Warsaw Poland Brothers, sponsored by Jagermeister, play the Main Plaza under the big tent. Local restaurants will feature traditional Bavarian cuisine and full bar on site.
SATURDAY: noon-6 p.m. Back for another year of family fun and dancing is Southern California’s traditional Oom-Pah-Pah band Roger and The Villagers from 1-6 p.m.
Adult competitions and games throughout the event including the infamous men’s and women’s Stein Holding contest. Multiple local restaurants will also showcase German fare thoughout the day, and a Kids’ Craft Tent hosted by “All About Kids” will have crafts and pumpkin decorating from 1-4 p.m.
Admission to all events: free!
Doggie need a bath …
… Then drop by the Neighborhood Dog Wash on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. in front of the Mammoth Luxury Outlet Mall at the yellow tent. Tubs, shampoo, brushes and pet products provided. Baths are by donation and 100% of proceeds go to I.C.A.R.E. (Inyo and Mono County Animal Resources and Education). Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 760.709.6744.
Mono Basin trout quilt raffle
The Mono Basin Historical Society will raffle a beautiful trout quilted bed cover, tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5, available from trustees or officers, or at Nicely’s Restaurant in downtown Lee Vining – see it on display there! Raffle will take place on Sept. 24 during the 8th annual Ghosts of the Sagebrush Tour. Call 760.647.6461 or 760.647.6644 for more info, or to buy tickets by mail!
Mammoth Library Film Noir
Like your classic movies dark and mysterious? Then the Film Series: “LA NOIR, The Dark Side of the City of Angels” is just the ticket! Discuss the book at 6 p.m., and see the film at 7 p.m.
All events are free, and take place at the Mammoth Library. On the schedule:
“Double Indemnity” by James Cain, Sept. 20, “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler, Oct. 18, and “L.A. Confidential” by James Ellroy, Nov. 15!
Discuss the book at 6 p.m., see the film at 7 p.m. Free. Info: 760.934.4777.
Benefit/memorial at the Dub
On Saturday, September 10, a tragic traffic accident claimed the life of a Mammoth Lakes resident and severely injured 3 more locals.
While traveling west on Highway 80 outside Laramie, Wyo., a vehicle carrying Travis Mann, Ashley Hailey, Chris Ricci and William ‘Billy’ Krawisz was struck from behind by a tractor trailer, ultimately causing the vehicle to lose control and roll over twice. All passengers were ejected during the accident and Billy died on the scene. Travis, Chris and Ashley suffered extensive injuries and are curently receiving medical care.
The Auld Dubliner will be hosting a memorial/ fund-raiser featuring music by Lava Moon and raffle prizes on Wednesday Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. All donations will be distributed to the victims to help with recovery costs. Donations may also be mailed to Chris Camilli, Box #8381, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. 93546.
Posted on 23 February 2011.
Enjoy big air and big crashes when the Tahoe Adventure Film Fest comes to Mammoth. (Photo courtesy Corey Rich Aurora Photos)
Highlighting the year’s best action sports films, the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival makes its Mammoth debut at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5 at Edison Theatre. Each evening gives audiences the same action-packed film lineup. Attendees will get to meet Tahoe Adventure Film Festival creator, climber, TV personality and emcee of the evening, Todd Offenbacher.
Now in its ninth year, the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival welcomed a record-breaking audience of 1,400 viewers to its premiere in Lake Tahoe last December. To create the Festival lineup, producers selected the eight most thrilling action sports films out of a huge pool of submissions. Each selected filmmaker then produced a five to 20 minute segment, which was edited together for an unforgettable festival of adventure.
This year’s Festival footage includes wingsuit BASE jumping, big mountain snowboarding, El Cap climbing, speed alpine ascents, steep first descents and huge crashes. Film segments hail from Teton Gravity Research, Red Bull, Standard Films, Shreddy Times, Sender Films, Trans Global, Fly Zone and Hi Tec’s newest films.
Ten dollar general admission tickets are available by calling 760.934.6592.
For directions or more information on upcoming events at Edison Theatre visit MammothLakesFoundation.org. For more information on the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival visit LakeTahoeFilmFestival.com. -MLF/LAK
Posted on 10 December 2010.
Promoters Wettstein (left) and King flanking John Vereuck at last year’s event.
Guerrilla (lack of, er, none) marketing notwithstanding. By the time you read this, it’ll have started.
Give them a little more time, and movie lovers Meng King and Andreas Wettstein will catch up to big time sequel generators “Saw” … or “Harry Potter.” Usually a new “sequel” is cause for much scoffing and snickering, but not in the case of the Mammoth Film Festival, which promises to get better with each successive edition.
King and Wettstein return to Mammoth Lakes this weekend to launch their 4th annual Mammoth Film Festival. If you haven’t attended the festival in the past, now’s your chance. Sure, there are tons of great films, but it’s not just about watching movies. Its about watching a movie, meeting the director and then seeing that guy puke his guts out in the Village later that night. True story.
For 25 bucks you get to see two full days of great films, go to a bunch of sweet after-parties and besides, if you saw the new Harry Potter movie, it’ll feel good to see something that doesn’t suck for 90 minutes. Being an MFF fan, I had to find out what’s in store for this year’s lineup. On Tuesday, I caught up with festival co-creator, Andreas Wettstein via phone from Los Angeles.
The Sheet: I kept hearing that the Mammoth Film Festival wasn’t going to happen?
Wettstein: I don’t know where that rumor came from. There was never a time where it wasn’t going to happen. It’s always been on the books. In fact, we knew the dates last year.
Sheet: It seems like there are a lot less films this year?
Wettstein: We definitely streamlined it. We’ve always tried to move towards the idea of more quality films. We tried to be more selective this year. One major difference is we’re only using one venue. As you probably know Mammoth isn’t overflowing with film venues. The Ranger Station has done a lot of upgrades to their equipment and it has a very Mammoth feel to it, with all the cool ski gear on the walls. It has a lot of charm and character. I guess you could say it’s a happy coincidence that it also has the best equipment.
Sheet: So what are the film categories for this year?
Wettstein: It’s the same as last year: features, shorts, extreme sports and green films. However what’s new for this year is the faith category. It’s been an important genre in the film industry as of late. You can see the theme of faith in films. Even [James Cameron’s] “Avatar” has a faith/spiritual element to it.
Sheet: I saw on the website there’s a film called “Walk in the Clouds” but it doesn’t have Keanu Reeves in it? What the hell?
Wettstein: I think the Keanu film is called “A Walk in the Clouds,” a subtle difference I suppose. It’s interesting, though; you can’t copywrite a movie title. So oftentimes on IMDB you’ll see a lot of films with the same name.
Sheet: Sweet! I’ll make a film called “Avatar 2.” So, what do you expect attendance to be like this year?
Wettstein: I imagine with the economy the way it is, it’ll be a little less than previous years. But I’m not sure what to expect. I just want people to have a great time. We’re mostly concerned about creating a great festival for the filmmakers and the audience.
Sheet: I think if people aren’t showing up, as a backup plan you could just throw in “Inception.” It just came out on DVD, and people love anything with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Wettstein: Hah! There you go. No, the films are great, and we hope people enjoy them.
Sheet: I noticed that there are two films about bicycle racing. Are you a cyclist?
Wettstein: You know we were partially looking for films that we think will be appealing to the Mammoth audience. But part of the reason we started the green category and the extreme sports category is that we thought people in Mammoth could relate to that. But films seem to always be submitted in groups. Every year it’s different. One year be it was gangster themed films, then marathon films … this year I guess it’s bikes. Funny how that works.
Sheet: I think every year I enjoy the shorts category the most. Could this be because I have a short attention span?
Wettstein: A lot of them are really good. Shorts are nice because it’s a large undertaking to make a feature-length film. Sometimes a 10-minute short might be the best way to tell that particular story. A movie that is great can always be longer and it would still be great. But usually a movie that is too long should have been shorter.
Sheet: Huh? Yeah, it seems as though, with the advent of cheaper, high-quality cameras, everyone’s making movies. You must get a ton of submissions.
Wettstein: It’s interesting because that’s absolutely true. However it takes more than a nice camera to make a great film. That goes without saying. It seems like the submissions haven’t changed over the years. I think what it affects, though, are the types of films that get made. Not only have cameras gotten better, but they’re a lot smaller, which makes for great extreme sports films. For example, take last year’s film, “Second Nature,” which is about downhill skateboarding. That couldn’t have been done with a giant HD camera.
Sheet: I gotta ask, is this festival really just an excuse for you to party and go skiing?
Wettstein: It would be if we had time to party and ski when we came up there. Every year I think to myself, “This is the year we’ll get a chance to go skiing.” There is never any time. But every year I do a gondola ride to the top, so at least I get a little vista and some snow under my feet.
Passes can be purchased at the lower lobby of the Grand Sierra Lodge in the Village all day Friday, Dec. 10.
For a full schedule and film info, log on to www.mammothfilmfestival.com.