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’s Distinctly Un-Businesslike Feel*

I can’t think of a place I would rather be on Memorial Day weekend than at Mountainfilm in Telluride. What could compare? The beauty of the place is unmatched. On the long-lit first evening, you arrive at a delicious barbecue in a meadow surrounded by snowy peaks where a great bluegrass band is playing, and everyone is dancing, eating, talking, catching up. So many of my comrades are there — the environmentalists and activists of all stripes, the filmmakers whose dedication to storytelling and to making the world a better place through film is matched only by their sense of joy. And the films are terrific! I love the breadth of films that are invited every year and have seen some of my all-time favorites there for the first time. Among the truly memorable, films by Kesang Tseten and the dramatic film The Cup come to mind, but there are many others.

Mountainfilm was Different. It Was in My Face.*

Mountainfilm came into my life at a pivotal moment, changing my trajectory forever. My dad made films; they were on shows like “60 Minutes,” “20/20” and “FRONTLINE.” His films were powerful, award winning and had impact. I grew up understanding that you can tell stories that make a difference, but there was always a distance that came with watching a piece on TV that I could never quite get beyond.

Mountainfilm was different. It was in my face. It momentarily swallowed me, and the emotion I felt was real. It wasn’t just the films that reached me, it was the community — the cliché of the gathering of tribe rang true, and I wanted in.

I met Ben Knight at the Telluride Daily Planet. He hired me into the photo department (even though I was shooting with a Nikon at the time). Over the course of a year, we talked about the beauty and emotion of films that we took in at Mountainfilm. We were both in awe of the power of film to create change when paired with passionate people and a cause worth fighting for.  

A Peculiar Week at Mountainfilm in Telluride

Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival Director David Holbrooke took a few minutes from his crazy schedule to share what’s happening this week as he prepares for May 24-27.

This is a peculiar week because program director Emily Long and I are starting to notify filmmakers about whether their films have been accepted into this year’s festival or not. We receive hundreds of submissions and can only play 60 to 70 films, so we make tough decisions. Making it even harder, Emily and I feel that the submissions are particularly strong this year. Certain films that are still on our Maybe list might have been accepted another year. (We keep three lists: In, Out and Maybe.)

Come One, Come All

People sometimes tell us that Mountainfilm in Telluride, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend (May 24 to 27, 2013), often conflicts with graduations and weddings. In the past, we’ve held our tongue because the laws of physics prevent you from being in two places at once. But this year is different. Climate solutions is the theme of the 2013 Moving Mountains Symposium, and it’s a topic too important for anyone to miss, so we want to urge you to make the right decision.

Here’s the thing: Graduations and weddings fill many calendar days all over the planet. Mountainfilm happens only once a year. And each time, it’s mind-blowingly different, memorable and often even life changing. How many weddings or graduations (aside from your own) can you say that about?

Mountain Films Reach New Heights at Telluride Festival

As we prepare to celebrate Mountainfilm’s thirty-fifth birthday this year, we’ve been nostalgically leafing through old scrapbooks. This article, written by Peter Shelton, was a special to the Sunday Denver Post on June 7, 1981, highlighting an early festival.

“Small town, big show,” was the way T.I.M. Lewis, climber and editor of Britain’s prestigious Mountain magazine, described the third Mountainfilm in Telluride. Lewis had come from England specifically to join Telluride’s annual gathering of mountaineers, adventurers, filmmakers and films about mountain life.

Revisit the Present Tense

The United States never ranks that well in regard to overall health. The world’s healthiest countries include Singapore, Australia, Japan and a number of places in Europe. The reasons we fall short in health are complicated, but one culprit seems to be that Americans don’t spend enough time outdoors.

Celebration and Loss for the Alagados Project

In 2008, Mountainfilm in Telluride screened the short documentary Alagados, which tells the story of a charming young Brazilian man named Renato Santos who has enormous potential and a penchant for living on the edge. “Alagados” means "flooded" in Portuguese and is the name of the tough neighborhood where Santos and his family dwelled. The film ends on a hopeful note, but director Sylvia Johnson was clear in her Q&A at Mountainfilm that she was concerned about the future of her main character. Unfortunately, her worries were validated late last week as she relates in the following note:

Friday March 22, 2013, was a day of celebration for the Alagados Project. On the day of her 29th birthday, Joice [one of the Alagados Project scholarship students] received her college degree and celebrated her graduation. It was a major milestone for her, the Project, and the community, and we couldn't be more proud of her.