Rafael Millan-Garcia

Rafael Millan-Garcia is the protagonist in “The Legend of Rafael,” one of the films to be shown in Greater Arkansas River Nature Association’s Mountainfilm on Tour screening this month.

Mountainfilm on Tour will bring a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed and inspiring documentary films curated by Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival to the Arkansas Valley this April.

In lieu of a traditional gathering, Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) will host a virtual screening of films that explore themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. The event will be held online from 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 8 to 11:55 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, so viewers can watch from the safety and comfort of home.

GARNA chose a varied array films for this year’s screening event that challenge perspectives and enhance connection to the land and each other. This year’s line-up includes two films — “The Legend of Rafael” and “El Monociclo en Cuba” — featuring stories from adventurers who call the Upper Arkansas Valley home.

In “The Legend of Rafael,” the film follows Rafael Millan-Garcia, the owner of Leadvelo Bicicasa, as he cycles from his home in Mexico City to northern Colorado for a change of scenery. What unfolds is “a story of triumph built on the back of love … and two wheels.”

“El Monociclo en Cuba,” directed by Salida-based father-son duo Nathan and Kian Ward, brings us along for the ride as Kian, just shy of 10 years old at the time of filming, sees the world with two eyes and one wheel while exploring Cuba on unicycle. “We love to travel, my dad is a filmmaker, and I love to unicycle, so we decided to make a film together to combine our passions,” said Kian Ward of his adventures while “worldschooling” for part of the year.

“We’ve gone to Mountainfilm almost every year since I was born and it’s really crazy to have my own film in the festival this year,” Ward, who is now 11 years old, continued. “Mountainfilm on Tour is cool because they don’t just show the films in Telluride, but they bring it to many other towns across the country. I hope our film inspires more people to travel and ride.”

“Kian and the rest of our family have participated in GARNA programs for many years, and we love the work they do for public lands and environmental education for the kids,” said Nathan Ward, who is not only Kian’s dad, but an award-winning director and cinematographer for his company Grit and Thistle Films. “I was really happy when GARNA decided to take over the local Mountainfilm on Tour program to show local people the incredible films and to raise money for great local work.”

The virtual edition of Mountainfilm on Tour is hosted by GARNA in partnership with Peakview Mortgage, Celia Adamec, Realtor with First Colorado Land Office, Subculture Cyclery, Salida Mountain Sports, Badfish SUP, Bluebird Day, Sorelle Delicatessen, and Ramps and Alleys Skate Shop. To see the schedule and purchase tickets, visit https://garna.org/calendar/mountainfilm-on-tour-upper-arkansas-valley/.

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