mountaintop film fest

The annual Mountaintop Film Festival is underway at the Big Picture Theatre in Waitsfield, VT.

Over the last few years with new ownership, the Big Picture has worked hard to fulfill its goal of becoming a community gathering place. The bar/lounge adjacent to the theatre has been transformed into a café offering a delicious array of appetizers, bakery, dinners and sandwiches frequently made from locally-produced ingredients. The casual policy allowing all meals and drinks from the café to be brought into the theatre adds to the friendly experience, and innovative programming like the recent architectural film festival and the annual Mountaintop human rights film fest further cement the Big Picture’s place as an anchor in the area’s cultural scene.

One ambitious local theatre; six days of films from all over the world on themes of humanity, oppression, human rights, individual struggle and societal triumph. Sounds good to me!

No coincidence the festival’s opening night was yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ s birthday. The festival’s timing relative to the events unfolding in Haiti is coincidental, and therefore particularly timely for all of the inequalities and disparities that disasters of this magnitude tend to reveal to the world in livid, ugly detail. It was two years ago at the Mountaintop film festival that the first films about Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath were beginning to surface.

The films offered at this year’s Mountaintop Festival range from hilariously counter-cultural (The Yes Men Fix the World) to political (Crude, By the People) and musical (Playing for Change, Afghan Star, Slingshot Hip-Hop) with a lot of thought-provoking ground covered between the main themes.

Events in Haiti have also inspired a change in the festival schedule: the planned showings of Eden is West have been replaced with the Ghosts of Cité Soleil, a film about the members of Haitian street gangs trying to find another life in a place with few alternatives. (All proceeds from Ghosts ticket sales go to benefit relief agencies in Haiti.)

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the week, hope to see you there:

Monday, January 18

2:00 PM – Age of Stupid

3:00 PM – The Learning Tree

4:00 PM – Slingshot Hip Hop

5:00 PM – Crude

6:00 PM – The Yes Men Fix the World

7:00 PM – Palestine Blues

8:00 PM – Ghosts of Cité Soleil (All proceeds aid Haiti)

Tuesday, January 19

5:00 PM – Playing for Change

6:00 PM – Up the Yangtze

7:00 PM – By the People

8:00 PM – Amreeka

Wednesday, January 20

5:00 PM – Good Bye Lenin!

6:00 PM – Afghan Star

7:00 PM – Slingshot Hip Hop

8:00 PM – Age of Stupid

Thursday, January 21

5:00 PM – The Yes Men Fix the World

6:00 PM – The Lives of Others

7:00 PM – Ghosts of Cité Soleil (All proceeds aid Haiti)

8:15 PM – Crude

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