Abigail Dunagan, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
On Feb. 22, the Society of Outdoor Life and Exploration (S.O.L.E) of Berry College hosted their annual showing of Mountainfilm on Tour. Mountainfilm is a film festival that began in 1979 in Telluride, Colorado. The festival shows a collection of films from independent film makers. Mountainfilm goes on tour annually, traveling to schools, organizations and colleges to show these films.
Mountainfilm has been coming to Berry College for 14 years. The event was initially started by Dr. Catherine Borer, a professor of biology at Berry. She first came to Berry in 2006, and she was inspired to bring Mountainfilm to Berry after she had attended the festival at the University of Vermont as a graduate student.
“I had seen Mountainfilm for many years as a grad student. I felt that we needed the event to come to Berry,” Borer said. “It is such a great event, and it always gets you to think about different things.”
According to Borer, initially getting funding for the event was difficult. S.O.L.E hosts the event with funding they’ve received from the Student Government Association (SGA).
The types of films that are shown at Mountainfilm vary each year. The films are produced by independent filmmakers and are submitted to the festival. They are shown on Memorial Day weekend each year in Telluride, Colorado and certain films are selected to go on tour. This year, some of the films centered around topics of challenging gender roles and overcoming eating disorders.
“It varies each year, sometimes there is a little bit of a theme,” Borer said. “Independent filmmakers produce these awesome documentary films that describe interesting cultural things, personalities or great adventures.”
Borer said that that the process of organizing the event starts the year before. The process begins by picking a date, signing up for the auditorium, and applying for a Cultural Events credit. A new poster is made each year, and the poster is then approved by Berry and Mountainfilm. Once everything is approved, the event is advertised across campus and social media.
Ella Plummer is a sophomore at Berry. She attended Mountainfilm for the first time last year, and this was her second year attending. Plummer said that Mountainfilm is her favorite CE credit because of the diversity of the topics.
“I like Mountainfilm because it shows a broad range of things,” Plummer said. “Even though all of the films are different, they are all very interesting to watch.”
Sophomore Hannah Suggs has attended Mountainfilm for the past two years. She said that this year’s films were very different from last years. This year, the topics were very heavy and dealt with a lot of difficult subjects. Last year, there were a few lighthearted films.
“It was really interesting,” Suggs said. “This was the first CE credit that I have gone to this semester, and I really enjoyed it.”
Borer said that she has noticed an increase in interest in Mountainfilm at Berry. The first few years, the audience was smaller, but interest has grown over the past few years. She always encourages her classes to attend, as she finds that a lot of what is shown in the films can be related to topics in class.
One of Borer’s personal favorite films from this year was “Annapurna 78”. This film showed the journey of Arlene Blum as she and her female colleagues as that prepared to hike Annapurna Mountain range. This film stood out to Borer because she had previously read a book that Arlene Blum had written about her experiences as a climber.
“It really helped inspire me to recognize that all of us have the potential to do amazing things,” Borer said. “We shouldn’t feel like we are limited to traditional gender roles. I really enjoyed seeing folks that had inspired me when I was young.”
The films that are chosen each year make powerful statements about the human condition, as well as inspiring people to take action in their own communities. The goal of Mountainfilm is to show these films inspire viewers to change the world for the better. It has been a popular CE credit over the past fourteen years at Berry College, and students can expect the event to return to Berry in the coming years.