We are excited to return to the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen for four days of stellar Mountainfilm programming. Some of the highlights include screenings of I Am, Bag It, Eastern Rises, Freedom Riders, Gasland and The Tillman Story, which didn’t play in Telluride. As in Telluride, we will have filmmakers and characters from each of the films in town for Q&A and discussions following the films. We’ll also present again our Extinction Crisis symposium. You can check out the whole schedule here.
Mountainfilm audiences have contributed several thousand dollars to cover costs of surgery for Prudence Mabhena, the young Zimbabwean singer who dazzled audiences at Mountainfilm 2010 and subject of the Academy Award-winning short documentary, Music By Prudence. We are still some distance from raising the $20,000 needed for the surgery so, if any of wish to lend your support, please let us know. And, on Prudence’s behalf, many thanks to all of you who have already contributed.
More episodes of our Minds of Mountainfilm series are up on our website. Check out terrific conversations between: Tom Shadyac (I Am) and Irwin Kula (Time for a New God); Mike Fay and Josh Bernstein; scientist Terry Root and Beth Gage (American Outrage); and, Dr. Theo Colborn (Gasland and Bag It) and Elizabeth Hightower (Outside Magazine).
If you saw the film Alagados at Mountainfilm 2008, here is an update from filmmaker Sylvia Johnson on Renato, the main character of the film:
He seems to be doing well. I spent a little time with his wife and his daughter who is now a beautiful, spunky little 4 year-old. They’ve rebuilt the house out of brick. It’s still in the same cramped little alleyway, but is much more solid than it was before and offers a little more protection. Renato went through a rehab program about a year ago and came out a devout Christian, which I see primarily as the focus he draws on to help himself stay straight despite all the temptations around him. He has been able to set up a simple car wash business outside his house and he is able to support the family that way.
Also, the college scholarship program that we launched with Tom Shadyac's help has continued to grow. Our students are doing awesome and the team has really taken ownership of the project, which is very cool to see. I noticed a real shift this time where people in the community are starting to see studying as a real possibility and an option that can help pull them out of poverty. I've been able to raise the funds to give two new scholarships this year, and we will soon be launching a college prep type program that gets kids ready to get in to and study at the free public universities.
You can learn more about the Alagados project here.
You often see articles talking about the “debate” over climate change. We don’t present debates like that at Mountainfilm because we feel it would be like arguing about whether the earth is flat. Nonetheless, we pay attention to articles like this one, from Reuters, titled: Global Warming Undeniable.
The litany of reports is overwhelming, like this excellent Smithsonian Magazine piece about Barrow, Alaska, to the CIA incorporating the issue into their intelligence program.
David Breashears has put together his photographs of glaciers for an exhibit at the Asia Society in NY. Nick Kristof met David at Mountainfilm 2009 and wrote about this exhibit, along with the essential work of Bill McKibben (who was also at Mountainfilm 2009) with 350.org.
John Harlin (Mountainfilm in 2007) is at work on a mighty challenge in Switzerland.
There was a big article in the Times about natural gas and fracking, the subject of the film, Gasland.
Jon Bowermaster, who has been to Mountainfilm many times, has spent a lot of time down in Louisiana of late chronicling the nightmare that has unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tim DeChristopher was interviewed in the Huffington Post.
Artist Chris Jordan returned to Midway Island this summer. You can read updates from his trip here.
Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, who spoke at the 2009 Food Symposium about “What We Eat,” were on NPR talking about their new book, Around the World in 80 Diets.
Painter Charlotta Janssen, whose images of the Freedom Riders were at the Ah Haa School for this year’s festival, made a short video called I Love Painting.
Dan Austin, and his non-profit 88 Bikes (88bikes.org), received a grant from our Presenting Sponsor Eddie Bauer/First Ascent.
Filmmaker Roko Belic (Genghis Blues) and his new film about happiness were featured in a thoughtful article in the NY Times about living smaller.
Cover photo by Tim Vierling, BagMonster photo courtesy of Andy Keller, Prudence photo by Gus Gusciora, Outside TV photo by Chris Hanson, Wes Skiles photo by Wes Skiles, Climate Change photo by James Balog