After symposiums on energy and water in the last two years, food was a natural choice for the next subject. We are excited about our lineup, which includes acclaimed environmental writer Bill McKibben, National Geographic editor Dennis Dimick and chef Dan Barber.
The Symposium will address the following question:
Of the 6.7 billion people currently living on this planet, one billion of them are overweight, while another 800 million starve. By the year 2050, demographers estimate there will be 9.2 billion people on the planet.
Present-day agriculture practices are clearly not sustainable much less adequate to be able to feed today’s population. With a planet clearly in crisis, what has to be done in the next 41 years if we are going to feed a populace with an additional 2.5 billion people?
So many great people come through Telluride each year for Mountainfilm that we have started sitting them down for interviews for a series called Minds of Mountainfilm. A version for television will air on Plum TV in Telluride and other Plum markets. We are also releasing these compelling pieces on our website with the first to feature Chris Jordan speaking with Aaron Huey, and check out Pico Iyer talking about the Dalai Lama. We will be filming more this year outside the Gondola station in Telluride during the festival.
On January 7, NBC aired an episode of Law and Order about modern day slavery called Chattel. The show’s producers came to the subject, in part, because of Mountainfilm. A filmmaker friend of mine named Liz Manne graciously offered to help me put together the slavery programming for the festival last year. Unaware of the issue but moved to action by this Crime So Monstrous (to borrow author and abolitionist Ben Skinner’s book title), Liz gave Law and Order executive producer and head writer Rene Balcer a copy of Ben's shattering book, inspiring Balcer to write a show about modern day slavery. The Law and Order episode was watched by more than ten million people and is now available on iTunes.
Ben was also nominated to be the Adventurer of the Year for National Geographic, who first met him in Telluride last May. (Sadly, one of the winners of this prestigious award, British climber Rob Gauntlett was killed in a climbing accident on Mont Blanc in January.).
And the organization Free the Slaves convinced long-time Mountainfilm attendee Tom Shadyac to host their Freedom Awards, which featured Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Chris is nothing if not prolific. He has finished a huge piece called “E Pluribus Unum” (the many become one). He collaborated with Paul Hawken, who was a highlight of Mountainfilm 2007. Paul’s “Blessed Unrest” project highlights the collective work of the more than “one million organizations around the world that are devoted to peace, environmental stewardship, social justice, and the preservation of diverse and indigenous culture.” Chris has taken all of these organizations, Mountainfilm being one of them, and created a remarkable piece of art.
Here is a close up:
Here it is in full view:
The film, Brave New West (Mountainfilm 2008) is about Jim Stiles, the cantankerous, curmudgeonly, but forward-thinking editor of the Canyon County Zephyr. Unfortunately, Jim just published the last paper issue of his long-running Moab chronicle. He does have an online version of the publication, which is worth checking out.