Jackson, Wyoming — March 14, 2007 — Before the doors even opened for Snow Night, the first evening of films for The 2007 Alpinist Film Festival, organizers found they had a dilemma: the 525-seat, $35 million Center for the Arts Performing Arts Pavilion theater was not big enough to host the number of people that wanted to attend.
“We’ve sold out every night of the three years we’ve had the Festival, including last year, at the 800-seat Walk Festival Hall,” said Festival Founder and Director Christian Beckwith, “so we knew this might be a problem. Still, we weren’t expecting the queues of people holding signs that read ‘I need a miracle’ when we got to the Center. It felt like a Dead show.”
Those fortunate enough to get inside were treated to an astounding evening, one made more special by the venue, which opened to the public for the first time two weeks earlier. “One of the biggest stars of the evening was definitely the Center itself,” said Film Festival Producer Wayne Roberts. “For many, it was their first opportunity to see the theater, and its architectural wonder raised the atmosphere to a magical level.”
With New Belgium beer flowing and DJ Rocky Vertone spinning tunes in the Pavilion lobby, the crowd immediately entered into a festival mood. Greeting old friends, admiring the view of Snow King Mountain from the vast lobby windows and perusing the silent auction items for the 2007 Festival beneficiary, One Percent for the Tetons, quickly filled up the jubilant social hour before the films. At 7 p.m., festival goers took to their seats, and for the next four hours were treated to a lineup of films by and about the skiers and skiing of Jackson Hole that many said was the best film night they’d ever seen. Local ski mountaineering hero Mark Newcomb finished the evening with a presentation of The Line, the “adventure biography” of his first descent on the 8013-meter Shishapangma. Festival goers congregated after the show at Trio, a few hundred yards from the Center’s front doors, to continue the party late into the night.
Friday’s event, Surf Night, presented by surf legend Gerry Lopez, is sold out. It will be preceded by One Aware, a party in celebration of One Percent for the Tetons at Images of Nature on Cache Street. Doors will again open at the Center at 6 p.m. for the social hour, and the afterhours party will be held at Burke’s, a short walk from the Center on Glenwood Street. On Stone Night, the final evening of the Festival, climbing provocateur Dean Potter will present the world premier of his new film, Aerialist, which charts his dream to fly. The afterhours party will be held in the magnificent Pavilion lobby, with DJ Rocky Vertone spinning tunes for the late-night crowd.
“The closing event is open to the public, so even those who could not get tickets to the Festival can still partake in the party,” said Beckwith. “We’re excited that the Festival is off to such a great start. It really is about something folks from Jackson Hole understand well: to have fun.”