Mountaineer Media attends Moab International Film Festival

Students represent Western media organization at film event in Utah

Sam Thornley / Staff Writer


Students from Western’s Mountaineer Media program traveled to Moab to attend the Moab International Film Festival that ran from Mar 4 to 6. Currently in its fourth year, the film festival accepts experimental and documentary independent films that serve an educational value to their viewers. The film festival was rescheduled from a previous fall time slot.

The students, Mountaineer Media Student Directors Elesa Petit, Skyler Stanley, and Samuel Thornley along with student Lane Castro, left for the event on Mar 3 before returning to Gunnison the following Sunday. The students alternated their time between watching films at the festival and exploring the town of Moab.

The students ended up watching three films at the festival on the first day of the event. The films that were showcased were Gun Runners, Antarctic Edge 70° South and Martin’s Boat. All of the films were documentaries, with Antarctic Edge 70° South being the recipient of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Lighthouse International Film Festival.

Directed by Anjali Nayar, Gun Runners follows the story of two Kenyan warriors who trade in their guns for amnesty and to become professional runners. The film focuses on the friendship and rivalry between the two warriors as their lives branch into different directions where they are caught in the pull between their differences, the struggles of poverty, tradition and glory.

Antarctic Edge 70° South, directed by Dena Seidel, originally premiered in Spring 2015 in New York’s Quad Cinema. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, Antarctic Edge 70° South follows the staff of Palmer Station in Antarctica as they study the ecosystem of the ocean surrounding the continent. An insight into the daily lives of these scientists is showcased as they study the warming Antarctic waters in an effort to understand the effects climate change has on the ecosystem.

The last of the films, Martin’s Boat, was directed by Pete McBride, and serves as a means of honoring the late Martin Litton. A protector of the environment, Martin Litton was known for advocating against the construction of dams in the Grand Canyon during the 1950’s and giving boat tours on the Colorado River. The documentary follows a group of people close to Martin that construct a boat in his honor to sail the Colorado River with on its maiden voyage.

The students were pretty enthusiastic about the films they saw. “They evoked emotions I wasn’t expecting from people I didn’t even know. That’s how good they were,” said Petit on the films.

“They were all well-done. I really liked Antarctic Edge. That was my favorite. That had some cool time lapses,” Castro said. For more information on Mountaineer Media activities, meetings are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 in Taylor 124 and contact can be made through email at Student directors also have office hours on Tuesday-Friday from 1:30-2:30.