by David Holbrooke, festival director

I am back in Brooklyn for the weekend before a final push to Mountainfilm. Given that the festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend which I consider to be the start of summer—and it is only two weeks away, it was a little odd to drive through snow to get to the Durango airport.

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Between various airport trips and the jaunt to Fruita recently (see previous post) I have been driving around the Southwest quite a bit. I have to say I look at it differently since seeing Laurel Garrett’s film, A Land Out of Time, at MF last year. That film focused specifically on all of the natural gas that is being taken out of this area.

This year we have the very fine film, Brave New West which looks at this issue and so many others facing the region. BNW is about Jim Stiles, the editor and publisher…and writer…and cartoonist…of the The Canyon County Zephyr. The film shows how the West is changing dramatically—and quickly—from a rancher based economy to more of a tourist or leatherneck culture. This film shows how there are no shortage of mining and natural gas claims popping up everywhere in the region. You don’t often see them from the road but you can see their devastating effects from a plane—and you can see the abundant and enormous trucks winding their way through the mountains.

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This issue also dovetails right into our festival theme – water. In Fruita, there were several gated communities with McMansions—even though there is very little water to sustain these things. It will be interesting to see how these houses are doing ten, fifteen years from now with Lake Mead (the largest reservoir in the country) being given a 50/50 chance of drying up by 2012.

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