Mountainfilm Blog

Mountainfilm's blog has evolved quickly and steadily to become the engine that drives This steady current of images, words and action carry global news about Mountainfilm themes, issues and personalities. Please join in the conversation, and let us know what you think about the cultural, environmental and socio-political issues and  heroes of adventure and activism that we highlight.

WILDshorts @ WILD10

Mountainfilm in Telluride program director Emily Long is currently in Spain at the World Wilderness Congress, where she caught up with Jenny Nichols, director of Return to the Tepuis (Mountainfilm 2013), who is running a mini film festival at the event this week called WILDshorts.

MF: What is the World Wilderness Congress (WILD10), and how did your idea for WILDshorts evolve?

Boulder Floods: Worse Than You Can Imagine

We’ve been thinking about our many friends who live and work in Boulder, Colorado, where the recent floods have taken lives and caused enormous damage to property. James Balog, a longtime guest of Mountainfilm and the photographer whose work is featured in Chasing Ice, shares his story from last weekend when he returned to Boulder (from Maine) to spend two days cleaning up his house, dealing with road closures and logistics and shooting pictures:

It's way, way worse than you can imagine.

In the foothills outside Boulder, rain gauges caught 16 to 20 inches of rain in four days—but it fell on ground that was already super saturated by weeks of afternoon downpours. The moisture broke all relevant records. The rain would have equaled snow 13 to16 feet deep.

Remembrances of Kongar-ol Ondar

Kongar-ol Ondar, the Tuvan throat singer who starred in Genghis Blues and performed multiple times for Mountainfilm audiences, passed away in his homeland of Tuva recently. He was cherished by Mountainfilm audiences, and festival director David Holbrooke and former festival director Rick Silverman share a few memories about the Tuvan legend below.

We were all deeply saddened at Mountainfilm in Telluride to hear about the death of Kongar-ol Ondar, the brilliant Tuvan throat singer and dynamic character in the great documentary Genghis Blues (Mountainfilm 1999). I don't remember the exact words, but I believe the directors (the wonderful Belic Brothers, Adrian and Roko) described him in the film as "a celebrity in Tuva in the order of Elvis, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson."

Rick Hodes: Doing the Impossible

The following is an update from Dr. Rick Hodes who works in Africa with children who have severe scoliosis or kyphosis from tuberculosis or birth defects. As the medical director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), he has given countless children a new sense of self. Last year, four of his patients were paralyzed. They are now walking.

Bidder 70 at Bonnaroo

Ryan Suffern, the director of Running Blind (Mountainfilm 2013) and editor of Bidder 70 (Mountainfilm 2012), shares the tangled web that brought him to this year's Bonnaroo with Alex Ebert, lead singer of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

Bidder 70: David Letterman and L.A. Premiere

It’s a big week for Bidder 70, both the film and its subject, with appearances on “The Late Show” with David Letterman and in Los Angeles for a premiere.

Tim DeChristopher, whose story is featured in the documentary Bidder 70, was recently released from prison after serving two years for making a false bid of nearly $2 million to prevent drilling on pristine public lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. His spontaneous act of civil disobedience resulted in the BLM auction being declared null and void and the Obama administration later removing the land from any future sale. You can hear his about his journey from citizen to activist during his interview with David Letterman on television Tuesday, June 25.

The Heart of Mountainfilm

In 2010, my partner Christopher and I were just beginning to work on our first documentary, TINY: A Story About Living Small, about people who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than 120-square feet. We both had backgrounds in film and writing, but had never directed a project of our own, so we cast our net to our Boulder, Colorado, community and asked two friends to meet us for lunch. We sat down with Samara, a former co-worker, and Joe, who had just finished a whirlwind tour as one of the characters/crew in The Cove, to ask for filmmaking advice.

“Go to Mountainfilm!” they said.

And so three weeks later we did, following the first and most valuable words of wisdom we’ve been given. We arrived in Telluride knowing few people, but felt like we had found our tribe: people devoted to watching and listening, documenting their world and unafraid to jump into it and get their hands dirty, to find solutions to some of the most complex and pressing questions that we face.