After a sold-out inaugural run at Rice University in 2012, the Mountainfilm on Tour festival is rolling back to Houston for a second year with two evenings of documentary films dedicated to ecological and cultural awareness.
Started in Telluride during the late 1970s as the Colorado town's second international film fest, Mountainfilm has long focused its attention on new thought-provoking documentaries rather than the art house movies promoted by it unaffiliated cousin, the Telluride Film Festival. Think Grizzly Man as opposed to Mulholland Drive.
"We've spent the last 13 years going to Mountainfilm and have totally fallen in love with the festival."
More than a decade ago, Mountainfilm introduced a series of smaller traveling festivals in towns throughout the United States and a select cities across the globe.
Last year, longtime attendees Shushana and Jack Castle — who split their time between Houston and Telluride — launched a nonprofit called Issues, Cultures, Environments Worth Sustaining (ICE) to bring the Mountainfilm on Tour festival to the Bayou City.
"We've spent the last 13 years going to Mountainfilm and have totally fallen in love with the festival," Shushana Castle tells CultureMap.
"We felt it was time for Houston to experience these eye-opening films, which have had such a huge impact on how Jack and I see environmentalism. We all need to participate in helping to sustain and protect our natural surroundings."
With screenings on Friday and Saturday evening at the Asia Society Texas Center, this year's film lineup includes acclaimed films like Chasing Ice — a captivating look at the world's disappearing glaciers — as well as Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, an exploration of artist Ai Weiwei's ongoing struggles with the Chinese government.
Tickets to Mountainfilm on Tour in Houston are a relative steal as far as typical film fest prices go, just $35 for one night or $60 for both. Admission also includes complimentary beer and wine.