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'MUSH: The Movie' to premiere in Anchorage

  • Author: Helen Hegener
  • Updated: June 30, 2016
  • Published November 30, 2010
Freedom Frog in "MUSH: The Movie"
Anti-drug spokescharacter Freedom Frog rides in musher Ross Adam's sled during the ceremonial start of the 2010 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in a scene from "MUSH: The Movie."

The ever-popular

-- "Films Worth Freezing For" -- gets underway this weekend and the lineup includes the world premiere of a new documentary focusing on behind-the-scenes action at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Entered in both the documentary and local Snowdance categories is the feature-length "MUSH: The Movie," directed by Alex Stein, presenting interviews with mushers and volunteers, and footage from the 2009 and 2010 races.

Alex Stein explains why he chose this subject matter in his director's statement:

Why the Iditarod?

It's a question I've been trying to answer for years.

When I first learned about the Iditarod, it seemed like a combination of impossible sporting event and unimaginable adventure.

And the more I learned about the Iditarod, the more intrigued I became. Yes, the sporting event was amazing and the top contenders were fascinating. But the race itself was also fascinating -- thousands of volunteers coming in from all around the world, the fun and goofy traditions, and the heartbreaks and triumphs of the "back-of-the-packers."

These days, so many things in the world seem to be getting smaller. But not the Iditarod. The Iditarod is larger than life. It's long, it's difficult, it's expensive. (So much so that more people have summited Mt. Everest in the last two years than have ever finished the Iditarod.)

MUSH goes beyond cursory coverage of the race as a sporting event and takes you behind the scenes of the "Last Great Race on Earth" -- offering a rare glimpse of a uniquely Alaskan phenomenon and the subculture that has grown up around it. The movie examines the tremendous energy and effort (courtesy of thousands of volunteers from all over the world) it takes to make Iditarod possible) and offers a lighthearted look at the memorable traditions and inspiring personalities who return year after year to Iditarod.

"MUSH: The Movie" will premiere at the Anchorage International Film Festival on Dec. 5 and repeat on Dec. 11.

Helen Hegener is an author and a documentary filmmaker specializing in long distance sled dog races and the men, women and dogs who run them. Learn more at Northern Light Media.

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