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.

Wilderness Crunch: Northern States Feel it Most

We love the outdoors at Mountainfilm in Telluride, but a new study, “Outdoor Recreation in the Northern United States," shows that America's growing population and increasing interest in the outdoors is straining state and federal recreation areas, particularly in the northern states. The research, commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service, looks at 20 states in the north — extending from Maine to Minnesota and from Missouri to Maryland — and concludes that while the area’s population growth was less than the rest of the country, there will still be a conflict for land and water resources, especially when it comes to outdoor activities.

In this northern region, approximately 90 to 94 million people age 16 and older engage in outdoor recreation that ranges from hunting and fishing to orienteering, kayaking and mountain biking. The most popular activities are pretty tame: walking for pleasure, family gatherings outdoors, viewing/ photographing natural scenery, visiting outdoor nature centers,gardening or landscaping, and picnicking.

Kayaking and Creativity: Still Evolving

It's not easy to make a compelling film about climbing or skiing, but of all the adventure pursuits producing high-quality films about kayaking may be the hardest. The sport itself is inherently challenging to film, and the shooting locations are often remote waterways with few stable platforms upon which to place a camera. Go-Pro helmet cameras have certainly helped give audiences a closer look at what is happening on the water, but kayak films are still evolving.

Chris Korbulic: Kayak Adventures in Zambia

Expedition kayaker and professional photographer Chris Korbulic — who 2011 Mountainfilm in Telluride audiences know from the film “Kadoma” — posted some images from his kayak trip in Zambia this spring on First Ascent’s site.

His images (and corresponding captions) tell the story of big water, big adventure and the dangers of both in this beautiful country.

The Nat Geo People’s 2012 Adventurers: Jon Turk and Erik Boomer Don’t Scare the Wind

Nearly 72,000 people voted for National Geographic Adventure's People's Choice Adventurer of The Year for 2012. The winners are Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa, who with second-hand equipment, a tiny budget and no corporate sponsors, climbed Everest, descended with paragliders and paddled to the sea — an adventure they called “The Ultimate Descent.”

Some other finalists are familiar to Mountainfilm in Telluride audiences: Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass Films with Solitaire, bike rider Danny MacAskill from Way Back Home and Cory Richards from the Charlie Fowler Award-winning film Cold.

The Heart of Adventure: Q&A With Kayaker and Photographer Chris Korbulic

Born and raised along the Rogue River in southern Oregon, First Ascent kayaker and Mountainfilm 2011 special guest Chris Korbulic has been on the river since before he could walk — and it shows. He’s now one of the most accomplished expedition kayakers in the world, walking the thin line at the limits of the sport and looking to go even further. With a life on the river and camera in hand, he has a unique ability to capture stunning whitewater images.

In an interview with Korbulic on the First Ascent blog, we dove deeper into questions of adventure and action. Here's a teaser:

Last year, you and Ben Stookesberry tackled a tough expedition to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What inspired you to take on this kind of expedition?