JUMP to it

Local filmmakers present their latest visions at the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society's summer festival

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2005

Near the top of a bleak, 90-foot vertical wall of ice, well over 20,000 feet above sea level on the way to the summit of the 22,493-foot Ama Dablam peak in the Himalayas, Alaska State Museum conservator Scott Carrlee was fighting body fatigue, mental exhaustion, and ultimately, the straps of his own backpack.

It was sometime in April 2004, and it was just a few more steps to a ridge on the top of the wall. Snow had obscured the footholds. A storm was closing fast. Carrlee's guide crouched a few feet away, shouting encouragement and filming the struggle on a small Sony digital video camera.

Film Festival

When: 7 p.m. thursday, july 14; 7 and 9 p.m. saturday, july 16; and 7 and 9 p.m. friday, july 22.

Where: back room at the silverbow inn.

On the Web

For more information about the juneau underground motion picture society, visit http://jumpsociety.com.

"It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Carrlee said later.

It nearly took a turn for the worse, as seen in Carrlee's and Juneau filmmaker Joel Bennett's new short film, "Thin Air," one of many shorts in the Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society's latest summer film screening.

Bennett directed the film, with editing assistance from JUMP co-founder Pat Race, using 14 hours of footage that Carrlee shot during his climb.

A short burst from the top of the icy ridge, Carrlee almost lost his backpack. A strap broke, and the pack wasn't properly secured. His guide points it out, and Carrlee makes the necessary adjustments. Otherwise, the pack, with his sleeping bag and the supplies he needed to spend the night, could've tumbled far down the mountain.

The JUMP films screen Thursday through Saturday and next Friday at the Back Room at the Silverbow Inn.

Seating is limited and the shows will likely sell out, so it's advisable to show up at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Better yet, drop by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, 206 N. Franklin St., or Lucid Reverie, behind Heritage Coffee in the downtown Emporium Mall, and pick up a ticket to reserve a seat.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

"Thin Air" is accompanied by "The Way To Ama," a short film made by Carrlee with footage of the trek to the Ama Dablam base camp. It's an interesting look at the lifestyles of the Nepalese people who literally live on the sides of the mountains, and also offers a hint of the trials of altitude sickness.

Juneau artist Elise Tomlinson, with a team of co-creators, wrote and directed "Kite Club," a satire on the Brad Pitt film "Fight Club." The short is faithful to the actual film. A group of men, dressed in black, hang out in a subterranean basement, pairing off to strike each other with kites.

"The first rule about Kite Club," one says, "you do not talk about Kite Club."

JUMP regulars Greg and Connor Chaney are back with a series of films. "It's A Wonderful Day If You Like Rain" celebrates rain, as much as it can be celebrated. Many shots of downpours, puddles and hydroplaning cars - all of which make you want to move, far, far away. Jeff Brown wrote the song, and Teri Tibbett sings.

Greg Chaney is also screening the black-and-white silent film he made for the Juneau-Douglas High School theater department's May production of "Reel to Real." A group of students, all portraying high school stereotypes, escapes a ruthless celluloid administrator by crawling through a hidden portal into a reality. The film played on a giant white screen during the play, after which the actors "came to life." Hijinx ensued, in the form of physical theater.

Gabriel Smetzer will show "The Education of Traveling," a short chronicle of his mind-expanding wanderings through Asia and the Indian subcontinent after an uninspiring stay in public education.

The collection will also include the animated shorts made in Meredith Holch's adult video animation course last month during Juneau Dance Unlimited's Fine Arts Camp; two films by Mona Yarnall, "Protection" and "Safe Surfing;" a short called "Karma Rider;" and "Beanie Babies Anonymous," by Jennifer Mannix; shorts by JUMP organizers Race, Aaron Suring and Lou Logan; and more.

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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