Mountainfilm Blog

Mountainfilm's blog has evolved quickly and steadily to become the engine that drives Mountainfilm.org. 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.

Long Year Begin

The idea of some gigantic vault, built deep inside a mountain in the Arctic Circle to safely store seeds from all over the world in case of cataclysmic events, was a natural lure for our filmmaking team. Our cinematographer and I spent two months on the island of Svalbard at 79 degrees latitude (where polar bears outnumber people) looking for stories. We filmed inside the Svalbard Seed Vault and all around the island, where we discovered abandoned Russian coalmines, the world’s largest satellite array and the northernmost permanently populated town on Earth, called Longyearbyen.

My Last Visit With Pete

Folk singer, song writer and activist Peter Yarrow (of the 1960s folk singing trio Peter, Paul and Mary) visited his friend Pete Seeger in the hospital the day before Seeger passed away. Below Yarrow recounts the singing and sentiments of his visit. (Photo: Peter Yarrow and Pete Seeger in the studio)

Rise

From the heart of the Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, eclectic culture and sprawling favelas, massive granite monoliths host world-class rock climbing. This natural adventure resource was the motivation for a unique climbing outreach program for at-risk youth in Rio's favelas, the Centro de Escalada Urbana, an ambitious climbing school started in 2010.

All Eyes on Rio. The buzz of the up and coming World Cup, then the Olympics, and all the political wrangling that accompanies it. Deals transacted to host events; hotels hoisting prices into orbit; cement poured for stadium foundations.

One could be forgiven for being swept away by the flare and excitement of planning two of the world's largest sporting events. Look a bit closer, however, at the day-to-day life in the heart of Rio's largest favela, Rocinha, and you'll find the beginnings of a movement emerging from the myriad of alleyways and protruding rebar. Smaller than the World Cup perhaps, but nevertheless significant.

Who Owns Water?

There’s a lot at stake on a few, big, slow, brown rivers in the deep South. The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin is becoming the canary in the coal mine for a looming East Coast water crisis. The Hanson brothers grew up in Atlanta beside the Chattahoochee River. In March 2013, they returned and paddled, together and separately, the 542 miles of the basin from its source in the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico to tell the story of an endangered and essential water resource.

“Water Wars! Give me another drink of whiskey, and I’ll tell you something different.” Uncle Tony of Columbia, Georgia, told Michael this at Tony’s riverside cattle ranch in south Georgia. Michael and David Hanson met dozens of characters like Tony while paddling canoes through Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Mending the Line

Produced by Uncage the Soul, Mending the Line is the story of a World War II veteran, conservationist and fly-fishing legend who returns to France to see the country during peaceful times and fish the rivers he had seen during the war.

A Symbol of Progress and Peace in Afghanistan

Last month, Mountainfilm Festival Director David Holbrooke visited Skateistan, a skate park in Afghanistan that represents much more than just a place to skate.

In December 2013, I traveled to Afghanistan to film part of a documentary about my father, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke who was President Obama's Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. While I was there, I interviewed some of my father's former colleagues, past and future Afghan Presidential candidates and New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins (the brilliant book The Forever War.)

Mountainfilm’s New Smartphone App

Mountainfilm in Telluride 2014 will mark the inauguration of our festival smartphone app. The app will provide a number of handy (pun intended) features to help inform our audience and prevent people from heading to theaters that are already full:

General Festival Information: During the festival, use the app to view the schedule, film descriptions, TBAs and last-minute announcements.

Seat Availability in Real Time: The system will show a green, yellow or red light for each upcoming program. Green indicates that plenty of seats are still available; yellow means that queue cards are diminishing quickly; and red means we’ve stopped handing out queue numbers. (Learn about how queues work.)

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