Author, adventurer and activist Greg Mortenson will return to Mountainfilm in 2010. We’re looking forward to getting an update on his adventures since he last passed through Telluride. Greg’s latest book, Stones into Schools, was just published and has been getting great reviews.
For years, we’ve tried to get Ed to come to Telluride for the festival, but he always has some lame excuse about how Mountainfilm conflicts with the Himalayan climbing season. Well, he’s come to his senses and has said he’ll make the trip to Mountainfilm this year (thanks to the efforts of our presenting sponsor Eddie Bauer/First Ascent). In the meantime, check out how Ed prepares for an appearance on the Colbert Report.
Filmmakers Beth and George Gage have a way of finding fearless characters who seem to have a penchant for taking on the U.S. Government. The Western Shoshone and Carrie Dann, the star of American Outrage (previously named Our Land, Our Life), won a big victory recently when California’s Ninth Circuit decided that the BLM violated federal environmental and public law by approving the mine. Tim DeChristopher suffered a setback when a federal judge issued a pre-trial ruling that he could not use the “necessity defense” in his efforts to defend himself. His trial is expected to begin in March.
As we’ve announced, Mountainfilm’s theme for the 2010 festival is the Extinction Crisis. It’s a fluid issue because there are certainly small triumphs, such as the discovery of a “lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats” in Papua, New Guinea, but there are also vast tragedies including the extremely precarious health of our oceans, a topic everyone from the New York Times editorial page to actor Ted Danson is writing about. If you want to read more about extinction, check out Mongabay.com and the International Union of Concerned Scientists’ Red List of endangered species.
Renowned artist (and part-time Ridgway resident) Maya Lin has been working on her last memorial, this one dedicated to extinct species. Unlike previous work—such as her famous Vietnam War Memorial—this piece is a ubiquitous, multi-media, multi-platform installation called What is Missing? It’s installed at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and we’ll have a version of this piece at Mountainfilm. Maya will speak at the Moving Mountains Symposium this year (and, in fact, her work inspired us to choose this theme for this year). You can get a sense of What is Missing? in an interview Maya did on CNN with 2008 festival guest Christiane Amanpour (Christiane’s daily show is really worthwhile, substantive and smart, but you have to watch it online as it runs on CNN International).
- The work of Azzam Alwash, the Iraqi-American water engineer who spoke at Mountainfilm in 2008 and 2005, was the subject of a fascinating piece on “60 Minutes.”
- Mountainfilm stalwart Wade Davis has a new book titled The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. Wade talks about some of what’s in the book in the CBC’s Massey Lectures, which is a longtime Canadian radio series.
- 2008 Mountainfilm artist Jeff Scher created a music video for Bob Dylan, recording of the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy. How cool is that?
- Josh Aronson has brought several films to Mountainfilm, including the Oscar-nominated doc Sound and Fury. Two of his shorts on the Hudson River played in 2009, but you can see the whole series here.
- Photographer Aaron Huey had a spectacular exhibit at Mountainfilm last May with images from Salvation Mountain. His new work on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is equally striking but devastating.
- Author Kati Marton, who has been a part of Mountainfilm several times, wrote a thoughtful piece about Russia.
- Author, filmmaker and longtime friend of Mountainfilm Dan Austin was profiled in Outside for creating 88bikes.org. (Tim DeChristopher, Martin Strel (Big River Man) and Nick Kristof are also in the magazine).
- Last May, we presented a performance of A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. The History Channel has renamed it The People Speak and brought together a group of top-flight actors to read some of these first-person accounts.
- With the world’s eyes on Copenhagen for the climate conference, it seemed a likely place for the Yes Men to do what they do, which is cause trouble and sow confusion.
Longtime friend of Mountainfilm Stephen Wald passed away this fall. Stephen served on Mountainfilm's board and was a generous supporter. Our deepest condolences go out to Sheila Wald and the rest of his family.
We're sorry to report that Lawrence Anthony, the lead barber in the lovely short, Pickin' and Trimmin' (Mountainfilm 2008) died peacefully in his sleep this week. His family is trying to start a memorial fund to keep the barbershop open.