Monday documentaries at the Wheeler

By City of Aspen
January 2, 2013
The Wheeler Opera House recently announced its MONDAY DOCS series for the upcoming winter season, produced in partnership with Mountainfilm In Telluride and Aspen Film. The nine-part documentary film series will take place between Jan. 28 and March 25.

“MONDAY DOCS allows us to keep a winter presence going for our MOUNTAINSUMMIT: MOUNTAINFILM IN ASPEN FESTIVAL, which takes place in August each year,” said Wheeler Executive Director Gram Slaton. “It’s a way of keeping our brand and our visibility active, and now it also allows us to repeat some great films from Aspen Film’s signature FILMFEST event. Documentaries are really becoming mainstream and deserving of a year-round audience. And for the Wheeler, we get to work with two great film partners.”

Starting the series on Monday, January 28, is ETHEL. This intimate portrait of a public figure we all think we know but really don’t was a huge hit at the 2012 MountainSummit. Part of the reason it scores big with audiences is because it’s made by the subject’s daughter. Director Rory Kennedy never met her father Robert, and perhaps because of that she was able to convince her mother to sit for this loveliest of family studies. Touched by tragedy, filled with hope, the Kennedy story endures - and Ethel is at the center of it.

Second up, on Monday, February 4, is Sarah and Ken Burns’ THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE. The Central Park jogger crime story is legend. This brutal 1989 case seemed to epitomize everything that was wrong with America: incendiary racial tension, skyrocketing crime, tabloid media. Sarah Burns, with husband David McMahon and father Ken Burns, compellingly recounts a true crime tale of an egregious miscarriage of justice. Truth prevails but not before innocent lives are forever altered.

On Monday, February 11, TERRA BLIGHT offers a human story, from gamers needing the latest thing to children in Ghana who actually break equipment up for recycling. At 40 million metric tons of e-waste being dumped each year, our discarded phones, computers and tech machines of all kinds are now the fastest growing stream of waste in the world – with huge environmental impacts. Partnered with TERRA BLIGHT is STUFF EVERYWHERE, a film that asks how much stuff is too much stuff? And how did we come to let stuff rule our lives? A unique double-bill that will leave you re-examining all your stuff.
Monday, February 18, MONDAY DOCS presents FAMBUL TOK. “The bad he done was just too much,” says one of the many unforgettable characters in this inspiring documentary about Sierra Leone that manages to depict both the absolute best and worst of human nature. The idea is to put around a single campfire both the perpetrators of atrocities and their victims from that nation’s prolonged civil war. The reunion is painful, as they all talk, much of the pain seems to melt away before the flames.

Monday, February 25 brings RISING FROM ASHES. This encore film sold out at Filmfest last fall – and for good reason. Amidst the heartache of post-genocide Rwanda, a group of cyclists led by cycling pro Jock Boyer began importing bikes with the hopes of resurrecting the sport and daring to dream of the Olympics. Forest Whitaker narrates an inspiring story of redemption and second chances.

On Monday, March 4, filmmaker and journalist Gotham Chopra embarks on a year-long road trip to better understand his legendary father Deepak in DECODING DEEPAK. Together, they travel the planet, chronicling everything from Deepak’s spiritual activities to his addictions to Starbucks and his ever-present Blackberry. In this revealing portrait, a son tries to reconcile the man with the myth, arriving at a new understanding of his father.

It’s not easy to address the issue of human overpopulation, on Monday, March 11, CRITICAL MASS dives in to tackle the subject. Director Mike Freedman did something clever: He uses the cautionary tale from a science experiment by John B. Calhoun to show what happens when rodents are crowded together. The conclusions of the experiment - and film - amplify the warning of many demographic experts in the film.

On Monday, March 18, MONDAY DOCS presents an encore screening of Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING ICE, a beautiful and chilling journey with photographer James Balog as they study the disappearance of glaciers around the world. If you have any doubt that global warming is real, this film is one you need to see, as Balog’s time-lapse photographs make clear ... and which he made at considerable personal risk and damage.

Concluding the series on Monday, March 25, is G-DOG. In an age where real heroes are scarce, meet Greg Boyle, a priest fondly known to his inner-city homies as G-Dog. The embodiment of compassion, he is the charismatic visionary behind the nation’s largest, most successful gang invention program. Don’t miss the film that captured the hearts of Filmfest audiences. Co-winner of Filmfest’s Audience Favorite. Directed by Frieda Mock.

Tickets are $10.00 for all screenings and are on sale now through the Wheeler’s Aspen Show Tickets box office (920-5770 locally, 866-449-0464 out of area, or online at All screenings take place at 7:30pm and are general admission. Details on all films can be found at

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