Take Action: School Plastic Waste Reduced

Mountainfilm 2010 Festival favorite Bag It showed us the perils of single-use disposable plastic. According to the NY Times, students and their parents are reducing the amount of plastic waste involved with school lunches.

Many retailers and schools are advocating waste-free options for back-to-school shoppers this year, especially when it comes to lunch. School lists call for Tupperware instead of Ziplocs, neoprene lunch bags instead of brown paper ones, and aluminum water bottles, not the throwaway plastic versions.

The Secrets of Film Festival Selection

This is the second blog in a three-part series about film festival submission by Emily Long, Mountainfilm in Telluride’s Program Director. Part 1 was titled “Making a Film is Only Half the Battle.” Hopefully, this series will help filmmakers understand this sometimes-confusing world because Mountainfilm is now accepting entries for our 35th festival, held May 24-27 in Telluride, Colorado. (Submit your film or learn more.)

So you’ve filled out the application for Mountainfilm in Telluride, provided an online screener link and thrown down a credit card to pay the entry fee. Now what happens with your film behind the scenes?

Making a Film is Only Half the Battle

This is the first blog in a three-part series about film festival submission by Emily Long, Mountainfilm in Telluride’s Program Director. Hopefully, it will help filmmakers understand this sometimes-confusing world because Mountainfilm is now accepting entries for our 35th festival, held May 24-27 in Telluride, Colorado. (Submit your film or learn more.)

You’ve just spent a good chunk of time, and a larger chunk of cash, to finish your film. Congratulations. But now that it’s complete, a new kind of work begins. Even some of the best documentaries struggle to find an audience, and a film that screens to a sold-out crowd in one town might only attract 10 people at a film festival elsewhere. Or a film that won a respectable audience award somewhere might not even get into another festival at all.

Give a Little: Help Kids a Lot

People most often describe their experiences at Mountainfilm in Telluride, or from the tour shows that travel the world, as “inspiring” and, even, “life-changing.” We love that kind of feedback. But think about this: If Mountainfilm dramatically changed your life in some way, how could it affect kids?

We know the answer. Mountainfilm’s Making Movies That Matter has already reached over 700 students in classrooms. Our initiative offers teachers and students the chance to view a content-rich documentary and then learn how to use footage from that film to craft their own short video reactions to the themes and issues raised in it — a process that builds skills in critical thinking, visual literacy, creativity and technology. The response from both teachers and youth has been uniformly positive. We often hear many of the same words you use to describe our festival.

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.

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.

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.

The Food Movement: California’s Prop 37

Come November 6, in addition to the national election and other state ballot issues, a few million Californians will vote on food. California, long the rebel state that paves the way for the rest of the nation, has Proposition 37 on the menu ballot, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label.

It seems a simple concept to let people know what they’re eating, but as food author, journalist and activist and Michael Pollan writes in an article titled “Vote for the Dinner Party,” Big Food doesn’t see it that way:

Mountainfilm in New York City: An Unlikely Locale?

Since David Holbrooke started working as the festival director at Mountainfilm in 2007, he’s split his time between New York City and Telluride, Colorado. This weekend, his two different worlds will collide when Mountainfilm on Tour visits New York’s Lincoln Center for three days of films and guest speakers on October 19-21. Below, he describes what New Yorkers will appreciate in Mountainfilm’s upcoming programming.

Mountainfilm travels all over the world — Brazil, Chile, China and Norway in just the last month — but New York City is, at first glance, an unlikely locale for the festival. Aside from the obvious physical landscape, there are also profound cultural differences. As someone who has lived in both places, however, I know that there are more common interests than one might think.

Good Work in Progress: A Dispatch from Chile

Peter Kenworthy, the executive director for Mountainfilm in Telluride, is in Chile right now for the International Rural Film Festival, which is part of a larger nonprofit, Fundacion Altiplano, that aims to support and sustain the culture and economies of small Andean communities in the northernmost parts of Chile. He shares the following from his adventures: