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.

Mountainfilm Represented at the People’s Climate March in NYC

On Sunday, September 21, I was one of more than 400,000 people who participated in the People's Climate March in New York City.  The event was buoyant and impressive. As the New York Times wrote, "the People’s Climate March was a spectacle even for a city known for doing things big."

How to Watch Mountainfilm’s 2014 Shorts

In July, we posted an article about how to catch feature-length films that you missed during Telluride Mountainfilm 2014. Short and mid-length films are a different beast entirely.

Until recently, the market for short films was practically nonexistent. Filmmakers could find audiences with a festival run (which usually costs money instead of earning it), and if they were lucky, one of the few companies that buys and sells short films, such as Wholphin, would be interested. A television deal was an option for only an even luckier few. When the Internet came along, the market for original content for television crashed without creating an instant online market.

How We Increased Gross Festival Happiness

Behind the scenes, we’re always looking for ways to make the festival better. Like sausage and laws, however, we hope you never have to experience how a successful festival is truly made. But the process is less messy than a sausage factory or the floor of Congress — at least most of the time.

In 2013, we identified a happiness obstacle: getting turned away from theaters. Hundreds of passholders got shut out of the opening night screening of High & Hallowed at the Sheridan Opera House, and the buzz on the street at the start of Mountainfilm 2013 centered around how hard it was to get a seat in a theater. We keep theater turn-away numbers that go back nearly a decade, and while we hit a record high of 1,278 turn-aways in 2010, they were still unacceptable in 2013 at 723.

Finalists for the 2014 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant

In June, we wrote about the fifth anniversary of the Mountainfilm Commitment Grant, and now we’re proud to announce the finalists for 2014. These individuals have the opportunity to apply for one of the five $5,000 grants that also include a MacBook Pro computer.

The number of applicants increase annually, so the competition gets fiercer. We thank all of those who submitted letters. Many worthy projects did not make it to the final round, but here are the 16 that did qualify:

Alfredo Alcántara and Caitlin Machak
Shaki (film)
The filmmakers will take a journey into the Amazon to learn the real story behind the life of Napoleon Chagnon, one of the first anthropologists to research an uncontacted Yanamamo tribe in Venezuela, who was later discredited and disgraced. Alfredo Alcántara co-directed the film Duke and the Buffalo, which screened at Mountainfilm 2014.

2014 Festival Films—Now What?

Every year after the festival, we get a rash of phone calls and emails with the same general request: “How can I see that film?”

With new online distribution platforms popping up and the opportunity for self-distribution becoming more viable, it’s now easier to watch festival films, sans fest, than it was five years ago. Back in the day, the festival circuit was usually the first stop for many documentaries and filmmakers spent months, in some cases years, trying to find outlets to get their film seen. For feature-length films, the common strategy was to run on the festival circuit, find distribution, get a theatrical run or a television deal and then start selling DVDs — in that order. It took time for a film to trickle down to everyone.


“It’s going to work. It has to.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve repeated that to myself over the last year.

DamNation: July 5, 2014

Mountainfilm in Telluride Presents:

Winner of the 2014 Audience Choice Award

"A movie that matters…with a blend of history, face-melting nature cinematography, and a dash of Edward Abbey–style criminal mischief."
– The Santa Barbara Independent

"A quick, smart doc on the natural havoc dams cause."
– The Village Voice

Saturday, July 5
Michael D. Palm Theatre

Doors at 7:30 p.m.; Show at 8 p.m.

Our online store is now closed. Tickets will be on sale at the door for $15.
Tickets purchased online are available for pick up at the Palm Theatre WILL CALL at 7:30 p.m.