Mountainfilm Commitment Grant

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.

Mountainfilm Commitment Grant: 2012 Winners

2012 marks the third year since we launched our Mountainfilm Commitment Grant program. Our goal is to help creative individuals tell stories that represent the spirit of Mountainfilm in Telluride. We’ve watched the number of applicants grow each year and been impressed by both the quality and diversity of the proposals. This year, the five grantees are working on films that range in subject from climbing to gold mining:

2012 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant Winners

Filmmaker Update: Upcoming Works

By the time a film screens at Mountainfilm in Telluride, many of the filmmakers are already thinking about—if not actually making—his or her next project. With that in mind, here are some films that are fairly far along in production, many of which may screen at the festival in the near future.

The Scale of Japan’s Tsunami: Mountainfilm Commitment Grant Update

The Mountainfilm Commitment Grant was created to help ensure that important stories are not only told, but also heard. Artist Drew Ludwig was a 2011 recipient, which enabled him to travel to Japan to photograph survivors of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami. The tsunami reached heights of 130 feet, traveled several miles inland, and Ludwig was determined to capture the scale of the devastation juxtaposed with the people to whom it had happened.

Accompanied by a translator and guide, Ludwig walked roughly 200 miles across a tsunami-scoured region, camping in abandoned buildings, witnessing remnant after remnant of the catastrophe and seeking out people’s stories. The result is images in which people physically demonstrate the size of the wave they saw. One man, for example, holds a long bamboo pole aloft with an umbrella tied to its tip. A young girl stands on top of an enormous boulder, and another photo is of a man who has just thrown a stone into the air. The stone flies way above him.

Does Your Project Need Funds? Write Mountainfilm a Letter

A lot of important stories out there never get told, which is why we created the Mountainfilm Commitment Grant in 2010. In the two years since, we’ve awarded 10 $5,000 grants — along with 10 MacBook Pros — to filmmakers, photographers, artists and adventurers whose projects are intended to move audiences to action on issues that matter.

We tie small strings to the projects in return for our support: short, regular updates on progress with photos, clips, etc. (in addition to a final presentation); demonstration of a clear willingness to work with us to get the story out to a larger audience; and a small thank you credit (on films, etc). That’s it.

So what do you have to do? If you’re already connected with Mountainfilm in Telluride (or can scrounge up a good recommendation from someone else who is) and are creating a work that can be presented in a theater, gallery or more broadly on television and online, write us a letter of interest.

Examining Energy: How Does a Community Decide?

Mountainfilm in Telluride is committed to help creative individuals tell stories that represent the spirit of the festival. Mountainfilm Commitment Grants go to filmmakers, photographers, artists and adventurers whose projects are intended to move audiences to action on issues that matter. What follows is a report from the crew of Uranium Drive-In, winner of a 2011 grant.

DamNation Update: The Momentum of River Restoration

The Mountainfilm Commitment Grant was created to help ensure that important stories are not only told, but also heard. What follows is an update from Ben Knight, one of the recipients of a 2011 grant.

Ninety-nine years after Olympic National Park’s Elwha River was illegally dammed, wild Chinook salmon still instinctively gather at the foot of the lower dam as if they sense a change in the current. Upstream, the usual low rumble of antique turbines generating electricity has faded, and the piercing sound of an excavator-mounted jackhammer reverberates off the 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam. De-construction crews have begun the painstaking process of chipping away at its mossy, con-caved facade. This moment marks the beginning of the largest dam removal in U.S. history, unveiling the best opportunity for wild salmon recovery in the country.

Mountainfilm Commitment Grant: Helping Fund Documentary about Grande Dame of the Himalaya

The Mountainfilm Commitment Grant was created to help ensure that important stories are not only told, but also heard. Allision Otto and Carole Snow were recipients of one of the 2011 grants for their documentary project, titled Keeper of the Mountains, which is about the Grande Dame of the Himalaya, Elizabeth Hawley, who is now in her late 80s. This legendary Everest historian was a journalist and chronicler of Himalayan expeditions. Because she traveled to Nepal in September 1960 and never left, her unique vantage on mountaineering history has put her in a position to decide who has earned a summit in the Himalaya, and she’s helped resolve many mountaineering controversies.

Check Out Wade Davis' New Book "The Sacred Headwaters"

Wade Davis spoke at Mountainfilm 2011 about his work with Mountainfilm Commitment Grantee Paul Colangelo on the Sacred Headwaters of British Columbia. Now his book on the subject is available.

In a rugged knot of mountains in northern British Columbia lies a spectacular valley known to the First Nations as the Sacred Headwaters. There, three of Canada's most important salmon rivers -- the Stikine, the Skeena, and the Nass -- are born in close proximity. Now, against the wishes of all First Nations, the British Columbia government has opened the Sacred Headwaters to industrial development. Imperial Metals proposes an open-pit copper and gold mine, called the Red Chris mine, and Royal Dutch Shell wants to extract coal bed methane gas across a tenure of close to a million acres.

Announcing the 2011 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant Recipients

Representing a highly diverse scope of projects – from a biographical film about a living legend of Himalayan mountaineering to a photographic exploration of art and activism in the aftermath of Japan’s recent tsunami – five Mountainfilm Commitment grantees will receive $5,000, each, as well as a new Mac Book Pro. The winning applicants were chosen from a field of over one hundred contenders. Mountainfilm introduced its granting initiative last year as a means to help ensure that important stories are told – and heard.

“This was an enormously tough decision for the judges,” said Festival Director David Holbrooke. “It was even tougher than last year as there were so many compelling projects that we had to look closely at multiple factors, including artistic ability, budget, vision and not unimportantly, feasibility. It was a challenging process but we are thrilled with the projects that we are granting.”

“We were deeply impressed by the quality of this year’s submissions,” said Mountainfilm Program Director Emily Long who manages the granting initiative.

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