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Special Mountain Town Matinee to Focus on Resort Communities at Play and in Transition

Jackson, Wyoming – January 8, 2008 – The Alpinist Film Festival announced today that on Sunday, January 20, at 2 p.m., a special “Mountain Town Matinee” will feature three fun and provocative films that address critical issues pertinent to Jackson Hole. The special screening, which will take place at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, WY, will precede the 2008 AFF’s People’s Choice Ceremonies, which begin at 5 in the same theater.

Jonathan Schechter, founder of 1 Percent for the Tetons, will MC the special afternoon of mountain town films that explore the phenomenon of resort communities in transition. At the conclusion of the films, Schechter will moderate a panel discussion that includes Teton County Commission Chair Andy Schwartz, Jackson Mayor Mark Barron and Frank Pickell, the director of Mountain Town, one of the films featured during the session. The half-hour panel will allow audience members and Teton County elected officials to discuss what they can do to help preserve Jackson Hole’s unique mountain town characteristics.

The selected films include The Lost People of Mountain Village, Resorting to Madness, and Mountain Town (an excerpt of Mountain Town called “The Grasshopper,” about telemark ski phenomenon Nick Devore, will premiere on Thursday’s Snow Night at Walk Festival Hall). The Lost People is a hilarious mockumentary that explores the soul of the modern mountain resort and the elusive species who build them. When a lost backcountry skier stumbles upon a monumental complex of structures that are completely uninhabited, a reporter is sent to investigate the mysterious species’ ethics, habits, and needs that may have led to their disappearance.

Resorting to Madness takes a direct and dynamic approach to the issues surrounding North American resort communities. This provocative film addresses the impact of the modern ski industry on environments and communities, and how citizens across North America are responding to save their beloved mountain towns.

The third film of the afternoon, Mountain Town, presents a series of interwoven vignettes from the town of Aspen, CO. From an aspiring Olympian to an 82-year old artist, to a newly arrived Mexican immigrant, each character pursues their dreams as this small, vibrant community weaves seemingly disparate lives together in surprising and often poignant ways. The film will be presented in person by director Frank Pickell.

“The timing of this Mountain Town Matinee is auspicious,” said Schechter. “2008 holds the potential to be a watershed year for Jackson Hole: the town and county are revising comprehensive land-use plans that will influence our future for the next ten to twenty years if not longer. Critical to the success of our decisions will be the involvement of an educated community. This matinee offers folks who care about Jackson Hole to learn from the experiences of other communities and apply their lessons to our specific set of challenges.”

“Jackson Hole is unlike any other mountain resort community,” said Jackson Mayor Mark Barron. “We have incredibly abundant wildlife population, world-class national parks, three fantastic ski resorts, and the Snake River weaving its way through our valley. We also have mindblowing, and ever-escalating, real estate prices. These films will help us understand what has worked and what has not worked in other resort mountain communities, and the panel discussion will give the audience the opportunity to engage in discussions about the direction we want to see our community go.”

Christian Beckwith, the director of the AFF, moved to Jackson in 1993 to climb. During his time in the valley, he has watched development push friends out of the valley. He also faces problems familiar to many small business owners in Jackson Hole: How does one retain employees and run a business in a town where the median home price exceeds a million dollars? Beckwith posed a simple question. “Does Jackson want to be Aspen, where only second-home owners can afford to live? Or do we want to be our own community, with our own solutions to the unique set of challenges we face? Some of the answers to these questions will come in 2008, and this special presentation will help us begin formulating them.”

“Once every couple of decades an opportunity comes along for citizens to involve themselves in the evolution of their communities,” said Schechter. “2008 is that opportunity for Jackson Hole. I expect that the Mountain Town Matinee will help initiate a county-wide conversation that determines our future.”

The matinee is $5 suggested donation at the door. All proceeds from the matinee will go to SurfAid International, the 2008 AFF’s designated non-profit.

The 2008 Alpinist Film Festival will feature its signature Snow, Surf and Stone nights January 17-19 at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village, Wyoming. A fourth evening, The People’s Choice Ceremonies, will present the People’s Choice award-winning films from the previous three evenings at the Center for the Arts in downtown Jackson. Winners of the individual evenings receive a gift certificate from Patagonia worth $750. The Grand Prize winner receives an additional gift certificate worth $1,500.

Tickets for The 2008 Alpinist Film Festival are $18 for the Snow, Surf and Stone nights and $20 for the People’s Choice Ceremonies. Tickets and additional information can be found online at To date, every event in The Alpinist Film Festival’s three-year history has sold out.

About The Alpinist Film Festival

The Alpinist Film Festival celebrates the adventure lifestyle across disciplines and generations with three nights of film in skiing, surfing and climbing. The Festival’s mission is to advance the art of cinematographic storytelling as it underscores the unity among the adventure lifestyle communities. A portion of every year’s proceeds are donated to charities that help preserve the places of our inspiration. Because one of these places is our planet, beginning in 2008, the Festival will purchase carbon offsets to counteract its carbon footprint.

About Alpinist Magazine

Hailed by Italian climbing legend Reinhold Messner as “The best climbing magazine in the world today,” Alpinist Magazine is an archival-quality, quarterly publication dedicated to world alpinism and adventure climbing. The pages of Alpinist capture the art of ascent in its most powerful manifestations, presenting an articulation of climbing and its lifestyle that matches the intensity of the pursuit itself. Alpinist has been awarded three Maggie Awards, for Best Quarterly/Consumer Division, Best Overall Design, and Best Electronic Newsletter, and was featured in a seven-page article in Outside Magazine (“The Purists”) in March 2005. The magazine’s editorial and publishing offices are based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and online at