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.

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Mountainfilm in Telluride 2014 Pass Right Now

1.     Based on last year’s numbers, we predict that this year’s festival is going to sell out.
2.     In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we’ve chosen wilderness as the theme for the Moving Mountains Symposium and have lined up a stellar batch of speakers. And who doesn’t love wilderness?
3.     2014’s festival is going to be better than ever because we’re introducing new stuff: a smart phone app, queue buskers, new programs, line-reduction techniques and more.
4.     We’re going to release more detailed information about special guests and films soon, so once you buy a pass, you can shiver with antici…pation.

What Me Worry?

This year’s Mountainfilmin Telluride festival is taking shape, but David Holbrooke, the festival’s director, is fighting a twinge of panic.

I got a panicky feeling the other day during our weekly Mountainfilm staff meeting. The reason: Our meetings are normally attended only by a core team of seven year-round festival employees, but this one was significantly bigger with seasonal staff in attendance. I knew that this could only mean that the festival is closer than I realize.

March is a crazy busy month here with all kinds of preparation going into different parts of the festival. Our executive director, Peter Kenworthy, is locking down sponsor agreements and managing any number of other endless, yet essential, details. Stash Wislocki, the festival’s producer, is getting his team together and his house (well, his theaters) in order while my team (program director Emily Long and new addition Naani Sheva) focus on this year’s films.

The Crash Reel - March 14, 2014

Mountainfilm in Telluride and Telluride Ski & Golf present The Crash Reel, with special guest Kevin Pearce.

Friday March 14, 2014
Telluride Conference Center

Doors & cash bar: 5:00 PM
Film starts at 6:00 PM, Q&A after the film with Kevin

Online ticket sales are now closed. Please purchase your tickets at the Telluride Conference Center.
Adults $20 | Children 12 and under: $15

Where are the Women?

Mountainfilm on Tour is constantly growing, so we’re screening films for larger audiences in more locations around the world. Perhaps that’s why we’ve received a rash of criticism we’ve not seen before: Women are writing to describe “feeling upset…at the end of the presentation” because of “an utter lack of films portraying women.” They want female role models. We hear you and appreciate the input, and Emily Long, Mountainfilm’s program director, offers this response:

Thanks to everyone who has noticed and addressed the lack of adventureous and inspiring females in our programming. It's a problem for sure, but the problem goes much deeper than just Mountainfilm or one Mountainfilm on Tour show. The truth is, unfortunately, that not that many awesome, adventuresome women are making films. This is 2014, not 1954, and yet there's still a huge dearth of women in film that is endemic to the entire industry.

Mountainfilm on Tour Explores Alaska

Last month, we sent Ashley Boling, one of Mountainfilm on Tour’s presenters to Alaska for 20 days. He regaled us with the following adventures, musings and observations from The Last Frontier, which include glacier viewing, rain, a malfunctioning Chevy Blazer, more rain, an eagle sighting, skiing in the rain and nine Mountainfilm on Tour shows.  

Anchorage, Alaska: 01-10-14

The Tour stops consist of Anchorage, Juneau, Girdwood and Homer. I presented my first show last night, on the campus of the University of Alaska, Anchorage. The 460 people in the audience loved the show and demonstrated their appreciation with wild applause after each of the 10 films. I would have to say the favorite film of the evening, judging by the uproarious applause and laughter, was The Scared is Scared. This film has no skiing, climbing, extreme kayaking or outdoor adventure; it is an imaginary story told by a young child with an active and innocent mind.

The Last Season

To mushroom hunt is to discern the relationships in the forest, uncovering how tree roots connect to the minutiae of life coursing beneath the soil or how canopy cover relates to moisture in the climate, which produces pockets of decomposition throughout the forest floor. All of these pieces must come together to produce a mushroom—and a good mushroom hunter reads the landscape’s clues in order to find what’s hidden underground.

The process of documentary filmmaking is not unlike navigating the forest ecology to find mushrooms. Documentary is about a search for a story produced from unexpected configurations. Filmmakers survey the cluttered social, political and economic landscapes to find pathways into people’s lives. Documentarians look beneath the surface of the proverbial soil to discover complex interconnections. And, from the messiness of the worlds they examine, they cobble together a sense of meaning.

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.