CHAMPAIGN – A film festival that benefits the local Boy Scouts of America heads at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.
The Mountainfilm on Tour features nine short films about culture, the environment and more. The 10th annual showing is sponsored by Champaign Surplus and benefits the outdoor programs of the Prairielands Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Tickets are $10 and available at Champaign Surplus, the Virginia Theatre box office and at the Prairielands Council office. In addition, benefactor tickets can be purchased for $50 and include a 5:30 p.m. admission and a VIP reception.
Films to be shown are:
– "A Peak Experience," featuring the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in New York City and a group of 11- to 14-year-olds who climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
– "Black Canyon," which takes a look at Colorado's intimidating and beautiful Black Canyon, with its 2,000-foot drop-offs. Join up with the two climbers as they conquer the choice lines, debate the drunken Aussies and support a harrowing near-death rescue on rock. Winner of the climbing film at the Mountainfilm 2007 festival.
– "Good Riddance Air Pollution," which poses the question (and provides the answer to), "What do you get when you join the front half of a VW Beetle with the rear of a Morris Minor van?" A quiet pollution-free vehicle – albeit one without an engine.
– "Yes to the No" – with snowboarding at its peak, there's only one way to up the ante: Remove the bindings from the board and truly surf the mountain.
– "Ride of the Mergansers," which examines the hooded merganser, a rare and reclusive duck found only in a few parts of North America. Every spring, the wary hen lays and incubates her eggs in a nest high in a lakeside tree. Just 24 hours after hatching, the tiny ducklings must make the perilous leap to the water below to begin life in the wild, a scene rarely observed by humans.
– "Rita," a true story based on the filmmaker's childhood. Brought up in a worldwide whirlwind of adventure by her outdoor photographer/travel-guide parents, Alison Blehert-Koehn's early life was filled with the stuff of dreams. It was not until the family set out on an expedition to Mount Everest, however, that 7-year-old Alison was able to experience her own dream.
– "The Job," a satirical look at a political, hot-button issue.
– "Granny D Goes to Washington," which won the "Indomitable Spirit" award at the 2007 Mountainfilm Fest. It follows Doris Haddock, an 89-year-old widow who decides to walk across the country from California to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for campaign finance reform.
– "Running Down the Man," which stars champion fly fisher Frank Smethurst and shows his decadelong quest to pioneer a way to catch the magnificent Rooster fish.
Also, an exhibit of photographs by amateur shutterbugs from the Champaign-Urbana area will be shown in conjunction with the film festival.
Go to www.mountainfilm.org for information.