Yet another reason to head for the hills this week: The new Summit Action Sports Film Festival in Breckenridge opens tonight at 5 p.m. at Brooklyn's Tavern, 500 South Main Street, with screenings of the People Crew's Cheers and five other ski and snowboard films. The festival continues tomorrow and Friday with a total of more than 25 films (see trailers for our top five picks after the jump), and concludes on Saturday with an awards ceremony at Riverwalk Amphitheater, 150 West Adams Street, at 7 p.m. "We wanted to celebrate the efforts of these filmmakers and the featured athletes, and we also wanted to build on the recent momentum that's been making Breckenridge and Colorado in general into the epicenter of the ski and snowboarding world," says festival coordinator Cort Muller. "The Winter Dew Tour opens here at Breck next week, we'll have SIA and the Denver Big Air and X Games all happening in Colorado next month, and we thought it was a good opportunity to bring some of the film culture in our industry to town and give credit where credit is due to the people and production companies behind these awesome films."
Look for a lot of the big stars on stage presenting the awards on Saturday: With the U.S. Visa Halfpipe Grand Prix at Copper Mountain this weekend and the Winter Dew Tour's Nike 6.0 Open at Breckenridge next week, just about all of the top snowboarding and freeskiing pros are in town, including several Olympians.
Local athletes on the confirmed list of presenters include JJ Thomas, Clair Bidez, Dylan Bidez, Zach Black, Jake Black, and Matt Ladley, and Muller says he's hoping to have some of the 2010 Olympic medalists on stage, too.
Here are our Top 5 picks, listed in the order they'll be screened during the festival:
1. Saturday Night Ride, Wildcard Productions (tonight, 9:35 p.m.). "These guys have a genuinely original approach to filmmaking and match it with great riding talent," Muller says. "This one has a fun plot and doesn't take itself too seriously."
2. At Equilibrium, Blickinsfreie (Thursday, 5 p.m.). "I'd like to see you give some extra attention to some of the smaller films nobody's seen or heard of," Muller says. "This one documents the evolution and progression of snowboarding in Bulgaria, and it's incredible."
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3. Jeremy Jones' Deeper: A Snowboard Adventure Into the Unknown, Teton Gravity Research (Thursday, 7:20 p.m.). Hands down the best ski or snowboard film of the year, in this writer's humble opinion: Jeremy Jones foregoes chairlifts, snowmobiles, and helicopters and sets out to find the gnarliest terrain he can get to by foot. The snowboarders he convinces to come along with him might have known better than to follow in his footprints.
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4. Light the Wick, Teton Gravity Research (Thursday, 8:50 p.m.) . We kind of hate to shout out two TGR flicks in a row, since they have something of an unfair advantage as the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, but there it is: Light the Wick is explosive.
5. Eye Trip, Level 1 Productions (Friday, 10:15 p.m.). This Denver-based film crew put together one of the most epic ski films of the year (don't they always?), and they throw the biggest parties, too. Who better to close out the first annual Summit Action Sports Film Festival?