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.

What Inspires the Inspired?

From climbers who wiggle up near-impossible first ascents to artists who illustrate cultural or political issues from a new perspective, our guest roster is always filled with individuals who tackle a variety of challenges.

We, and our audiences, find inspiration in their stories, but what inspires the inspired? We offer this quiz to test your mettle. (Answers with links to the sources follow.)

1. Who or what led Paul Watson to devote his entire adult life to the defense of whales and other creatures of the sea?

  • A: Jacque Cousteau
  • B: a boyhood sailing trip
  • C: a whale’s eye
  • D: Saturday morning cartoons

2. Author, environmentalist and climate change activist Bill McKibben found inspiration from…

Hey Mountainfilm, I’d Like You to Meet…

Our festival director, David Holbrooke, often says, “It takes a village to make Mountainfilm.” And if you’re reading this blog, you’re part of the village. We announced the topic for the 2013 Moving Mountains Symposium recently, but we’re still in the planning stage for the festival, so we’d love to hear about the people you admire. Who do you think we should bring to Telluride, Colorado, as a guest for Mountainfilm 2013?

One Hell of a Long Tube Ride

Not long ago, Adventure Journal posted this snippet of a boogie boarder’s amazingly long tube ride, and editor Steve Casimiro summed up the video perfectly with these words:

Boogie boarding doesn’t get much respect. It lacks the nobility of surfing or body surfing and always will. Perhaps it’s because the boards can be purchased in toy stores instead of surf shops, like, you know, Costco. Perhaps it’s because it requires little skill. Perhaps it’s because anyone can do it. But isn’t that what’s awesome about boogie boarding? — that anyone can and so many have? This short little video, a snippet from a full-length film, captures Ewan Donnachie riding inside a Skeleton Bay, South Africa, wave that goes on seemingly forever. Every time you think it’s going to close out, nope, the window opens and there’s that liquid wall feathering at the top. Take a peek: Then file this link away for inspiration next time you’re heading to the shore.

Climate Solutions: Mountainfilm’s 2013 Theme

Historians call them “pivot points,” times in history when the world can go in one direction or another. It seems as if we are currently at one of those junctures right now with the looming specter of climate change.

The earth is clearly warming and at a much faster rate than scientists originally predicted. The resulting catastrophes — Australian wildfires, Texas drought, Superstorm Sandy and more— are only getting more dramatic. The question is: What do we do about this situation that, to borrow novelist Tom Clancy’s wording, is “a clear and present danger?”

At Mountainfilm in Telluride, we’re going examine this climate scenario and figure out what we can do as a festival, a community and individuals to change it. That’s why this year’s Moving Mountains Symposium will focus on climate solutions.

The good news is that the scientists who study this subject closely feel there are still big steps to take to stop the warming of the planet. The bad news is that those same people say there isn’t any time to waste.

Visiting Tim DeChristopher

Mountainfilm in Telluride festival director David Holbrooke recently met up with activist Tim DeChristopher who will return to the Telluride, Colorado, for the festival this year. Familiar to Mountainfilm audiences as a guest and the subject of the 2012 award-winning film Bidder 70, DeChristopher was sentenced in July 2011 to two years in prison for disrupting an auction of federal land. After serving terms in Herlong Federal Prison in California and Englewood in Colorado, he is now finishing the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tim DeChristopher and I sat down at a diner in downtown Salt Lake City. Our waitress came over and ignored me, but she looked at him several times and said, “You look really familiar.”

DeChristopher replied, “I get that a lot.”

She looked harder at him and asked, “Have you been in here a lot recently?”

DeChristopher responded, “No, it's been a couple years.”

Film Entry FAQs

Maybe you’ve never submitted to a festival and are hesitant to put your hard work out there, only to be crushed by denial letters. Maybe you’ve had films in other festivals but don’t know if Mountainfilm is the right fit. Maybe you’re wondering why entry fees are so high.

Below are some frequently asked questions that we receive at Mountainfilm in Telluride. For more details specific about Mountainfilm’s selection process, read Program Director Emily Long’s blogs: “How to Get a Film Accepted,” “The Secrets of Film Festival Selection” and “Making a Film is Only Half the Battle.”

Note: Most of the specific questions about fees, deadlines, process and method for submitting to Mountainfilm in Telluride are listed on our website on the Submit a Film page.

Sundance 2013

Mountainfilmin Telluride sent Festival Director David Holbrooke and Program Director Emily Long to Park City, Utah, to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Holbrooke’s report from the festival follows:

Dazzling and intense, enervating and exhausting, there’s nothing quite like Sundance. It’s a convention of sorts for the indie film industry with big parties and bigger deals happening all around town. This makes it hard to focus on the films, but Emily and I saw as much as we could. We were both impressed with the quality of this year’s documentaries. Many of the non-fiction films at Sundance this year are big, muscular films — well-crafted, quick-moving docs that tell stories in a compelling way.