Mountainfilm Blogs: November 2012

Mountainfilm in the Bay Area

From China to Sierra Leone, Mountainfilm on Tour covers the globe. This weekend, Friday through Sunday (November 30-December 2), we'll be in Mill Valley, California, and hope to see the Bay Area show up en masse to see some special guests and films. Check out the Mill Valley schedule and purchase tickets. This trailer is a sneak preview of what to expect at the Throckmorton Theatre this weekend.

Holiday Shopping Outside the Box (Stores)

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales in 2012 will amount to $586.1 billion with online shoppers responsible for spending about half of that sum. We don’t have a statistic to translate those credit card transactions into mouse clicks, but suffice it to say ethernet hubs across the nation will be buzzing for the next four weeks.

We’ve discussed the problems with buying stuff before, but this time of year tends to drive consumerism. So as long as it’s shopping season, here are a few recommendations to guide your holiday purchases:

1.     If the people on your list don’t really need a new scarf or book, check out Charity Navigator and donate in their name to a cause they might like. The website works to guide intelligent giving and offers a thorough education of and vetting for many of the big charities in the world.

Adventurer of the Year: Vote for the People’s Choice Award

For the last eight years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism or adventure sports.

This year, Nat Geo focused on people who are adventure innovators: a surfer riding giants, a skier landing the first sit-ski backflip, a mountain biker pedaling across cultural boundaries, a BASE jumper falling from space and others. Out of their 10 adventurers this year, three have been guests of Mountainfilm in Telluride (Josh Dueck, Shannon Galpin, and Renan Ozturk), where we hope you had the opportunity to meet them in person.

From now until January 16, 2013, Nat Geo invites you to vote (once a day if you like) for the person who you think best embodies the spirit of adventure. The one with the most votes will earn the new People's Choice Adventurer of the Year.

Charlie Fowler: Keeping a Memory Alive

Charlie Fowler perished in an avalanche in China in 2006, along with his climbing partner Christine Boskoff. He was a world-class mountaineer and climber, and some of his most noteworthy ascents were with no rope. Rock and Ice lists his accomplishments in detail. Here’s a short sampling:

He soloed David Breashears’ technical Eldo Scarefest Perilous Journey (5.11d X), the Loose Flakes Route (5.10) on the 1,500-foot walls of the Black Canyon, and the 1,800-meter Direct North Face of the Eiger. Fowler’s more conventional climbing resume is mind-blowing — 8,000-meter peaks like Everest without oxygen (and without actually using an ice axe), 5.13 rock, hard bouldering, A4 big walls and myriad first ascents: free, aid, ice and alpine.

Honoring Veterans Through Film

To commemorate Veteran’s Day on Sunday, November 11, we're reviewing our archives and the range of films we’ve screened over the years that focus on veterans and their work.

Several of these films look at the challenges veterans face coming back from war. Many of these men and women are gravely injured and must deal with a host of physical and mental disabilities that make reintegration into civilian life difficult. Not surprising to Mountainfilm audiences, a connection with the outdoors can help with the transition.

Two recent films looked at how fly-fishing can be therapeutic. Most recently, we played Not Yet Begun to Fight (2012), which focuses on the work of Colonel Eric Hastings, who created an organization called Warriors and Quiet Waters that brings injured vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to Bozeman, Montana, for a week of fly-fishing. There was a similar story that won the festival’s Moving Mountains Prize in 2010 called Fish Out of Water.

Superstorm Sandy: The Week After

Mountainfilm in Telluride festival director David Holbrooke splits his time between Telluride, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York. What follows is his post Sandy dispatch from Brooklyn.

It’s been a little more than a week since Superstorm Sandy walloped the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area, and it’s now snowing outside as I write. Suffering from cabin fever, I headed out earlier this evening into our neighborhood. It feels like February and walking past still-closed subway stations, a mid-winter sensation of cold air hit my face, reminding me of ski season.

Photography’s Voice: Mountain2Mountain in the Streets of Afghanistan

Photography has always been a form of expression, but more than that, photography can also be a form of activism. Photography is voice. Mountain2Mountain— a nonprofit that was founded upon the ethos of connecting communities and cultures and the belief that the power of voice can create change — is in Afghanistan this fall, exhibiting a traveling show titled “Streets of Afghanistan,” a cultural exhibit of life-size photographs that depict life in Afghanistan as Afghans see it.

Anna Brones is traveling with “Streets of Afghanistan,” along with founder Shannon Galpin, and posting updates on M2M’s website. Here are a few highlights cobbled together from their travel updates:

Fundraising for Filmmakers: Where’s the Money?

A week ago, Good Pitch held a gathering in San Francisco that was a platform for documentary filmmakers to network and fundraise. Having leveraged more than $3.4 million from various entities, Good Pitch (which was created by BritDoc and the Sundance Institute) selected seven films in various stages of production from applicants around the world. The filmmaking teams are then invited to present to an audience that is able to support these projects through funding and outreach.