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Free screening of "High Country" and post-film discussion on community activism set for Monday, Oct. 3

Crested Butte is the featured location of the film "High Country" that will be screened on Monday at the Santy Auditorium followed by a post-film discussion on community activism.
Leslie Thatcher
Crested Butte is the featured location of the film "High Country" that will be screened on Monday at the Santy Auditorium.

In the last year, a book and a film have come out about the Colorado resort town Crested Butte and how its community stood up to a corporate mining company. The author and the filmmaker will be in Park City Monday for a free screening as part of a discussion on community activism.

The film “High Country” and book titled “The Town That Said Hell, No!” both feature long-time Park City resident and founder of Leadership Park City Myles Rademan, who is also the former town planner of Crested Butte.

Rademan says that while the stories are focused on Crested Butte, Wasatch Back residents will recognize the players because every town has those kinds of characters.

Author Paul Andersen now calls Aspen home, but he lived in Crested Butte and worked as a reporter for the Gunnison Country Times and Crested Butte Chronicle. He was there in 1977, when the AMAX mine company announced it would be building a mine in the mountains of Crested Butte. The community Andersen says responded, “hell no, we don’t want it.”

“The town put up a huge front, which was amazing for a small, eclectic, and really often dysfunctional community to rally its citizenry together and really formed an effective cohort out of a rabble. When I saw that happen, and the transformation that that town went through the political affirmation of democratic principles really of self-determination, and autonomy for small community against a huge external force. I saw that as a real lesson, I think for America and the world to recognize the importance of self-determination for our community.”

Filmmaker Conor Hagen was born in Crested Butte but moved to New Mexico at a young age. Crested Butte became a second home for his family and a place that he’s always returned to.

“To me, it's just one of the most magnificent, unique and beautiful places on earth. And I just think that there's just a really strong community there. There was something that's happening back then in the 70s and I think it was very unique, the sense of camaraderie in the community and this sort of shared sense of environmental stewardship. I found the stories I heard coming out of that era, Crested Butte fascinating, and I wasn't hearing stories that anywhere else.”

The hour-long film focuses on Crested Butte’s history as it grew into a premier resort destination. He teamed up with the Crested Butte museum, which provided him with 90% of the archival imagery he needed for the film.

Both of them interviewed Myles Rademan for their projects. Andersen says Rademan was pivotal in the town’s success fighting the mine company.

“Myles was an incredible coalescing force in Crested Butte, Andersen said. “I consider him kind of a Svengali, he wove a myth, he created a persona for the town in a very creative, innovative, imaginative way and, and really understood the community and its values.”

Hagen added that Rademan’s participation in his film was critical.

“Myles really was the single person who was looking ahead down the road into the future and trying to make decisions, responsible decisions for the town's future and implementing those policies to basically coalesce the community and try and do the best that the town could, to protect and preserve the natural environment. He was he was really leading the pack. It seemed like he was a visionary, I’d say back then.”

Hagen, Andersen and Rademan will be part of a post-film panel Monday night. The screening of “High Country” starts at 7 p.m. at the Jim Santy auditorium.

You can find more information about Monday’s free screening here.