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—Image courtesy of Above the Alley, Beneath the Sky

Best Bets: Boulder’s Adventure Film Festival

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Colorado breeds outdoorsy-ness. But while many of us are content with sticking to winter ski trips and weekend hikes, the state is also a haven to more aggressive athletes who embark on ventures hardly imaginable for the average Joe. Fortunately, many of these super-athletes bring their cameras along. Get in on the action at this weekend’s 10th annual Adventure Film Festival in Boulder.

The film fest will play 26 films that range from intimate portraits of aging heroes, to travelogues documenting the globe’s most untouched corners. The three-day event’s full schedule and extracurricular activities—including a street fair, climbing wall, and interactive green screen—may seem overwhelming. To help, we’ve provided briefs about a handful of films with Colorado ties we don’t think you should miss.

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Details: The Adventure Film Festival will take place October 2 to 4 at the Boulder Theater. Individual tickets start at $13.50, full festival pass start at $46.50.


Above the Alley, Beneath the Sky: While Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the toughest slums in the world, it also boasts a robust urban climbing scene. This 24-minute film details a youth rock climbing group founded by Andrew Lenz and Boulder’s own Asa Firestone in 2010 that’s focused on instilling discipline, teamwork, and courage into Rio’s at-risk kids. 6 p.m., Fri, Oct. 3

Love in the Tetons: When Juan Martinez of south-central Los Angeles first stepped off the bus in Grand Teton National Park, he not only fell in love with one of the country’s most striking mountain ranges, but also with park ranger Vanessa Torres. Now, fifteen years later, the two help introduce teens to the therapeutic properties of nature and renew the vision of the American Dream in the process. Love in the Tetons is part of the National Park Experience’s 10-part film series. 6 p.m., Fri, Oct. 3

Huayhuash: While Boulder offers plenty of top-notch mountain biking opportunities, the icy, adrenaline-inducing chill of Peru’s Huayhuash Mountains inspired local directors/athletes Joey Schusler and Thomas Woodson to pack their bikes and head south for single-track bliss through 6,000-meter giants. Be sure to check out their interactive travelogue for more on this harrowing journey. 8:15 p.m., Fri, Oct. 3

I Heard: Since we have all seen sweeping helicopter shots of America’s greatest natural features, Boulder-based director Michael Ramsey took a different approach when the Sierra Club tapped him to create a short film celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act: He recruited two local children to narrate Dr. Seuss-style over intimate shots of out country’s most magical spaces. 8:15 p.m., Fri, Oct. 3

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Maiden Light: Aerial dancing is one of the most breathtaking forms of modern performance art, and Boulder filmmaker Craig Murderlak literally pushes the art to new heights as he captures an aerial dancer twirling on fabric strung from the Maiden, a prominent, overhanging monolith in the Flatirons near Boulder. 8:15 p.m., Fri, Oct. 3

Deep Throat: Louisville’s Jeff Lowe is one of the most legendary rock climbers of the modern era. In 1997, Lowe and renowned ice climber Will Gadd established what many consider the toughest mixed-climbing route in the United States. The film follows two local climbers—Josh Warton and Stanislav “Stanley” Verba—as they attempt to make only the fourth successful accent of this Glenwood Falls line. 6 p.m., Sat, Oct. 4

Tigress Shark: Prepare for some goosebumps. In protest against the current Australian shark cull and the global slaughter of sharks, Colorado photographer and filmmaker Shawn Heinrichs shot Hannah Fraser dancing on the sea floor with swarms of 15-foot-long tiger sharks without any dive or protective gear. 6 p.m., Sat, Oct. 4

Prevail: In his youth, Sean O’Neill suffered an injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. This past winter, with brother and local director/climber Timmy in tow, O’Neill attempted an ice ascent of Bridal Veil Falls, in Telluride, a climb considered by many to be the most difficult waterfall ice climb in North America. 8:30 p.m., Sat, Oct. 4

Sufferfest 2: Last year, professional climbers Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright aptly named their successful biking/climbing traverse of all of California’s fourteeners Sufferfest. Despite their better judgment, the duo was back at it this summer, riding and free-soloing (climbing sans rope) some of the largest features in the American Southwest. Sufferfest 2, directed by Boulder climber Cedar Wright, follows their hilarious, heinous tour. 8:30 p.m., Sat, Oct. 4

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