Here’s news on some of our 2010 guests and films:
Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute received some of President Obama’s money from his Nobel Peace Prize winnings.
Restrepo, which won the Grand Prize at Sundance this year, is about Forward Operating Base Restrepo in the Korengal Valley, an area the American military has recently surrendered.
Soundtracker is about Gordon Hempton who records the sounds of nature and was the subject of a recent NY Times article.
Point of No Return, produced by the talented Sender Films team (King Lines, The Sharp End), is about the tragedy on China’s Mt. Edgar last year that claimed the lives of mountaineers Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson. This piece from Sierra Club gives a good sense of their story.
The film Dirty Pictures profiles the godfather of ecstasy, Alexander Shlulgin, who will be at Mountainfilm this year. Here director Etienne Sauret discusses his film at SXSW, where it premiered.
Ten Conditions of Love is about Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled leader of the Uighur people who are from East Turkistan – now known as China’s Xinjiang Province. The film got enormous attention when it premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival because Chinese nationalists disrupted the festival website. Mountainfilm is hosting the American premiere of the film.
It was nice to see Best Documentary nominations go to four films we played at Mountainfilm last year. Not satisfied with winning the Oscar and exposing dolphin slaughter in Japan, The Cove director, Louie Psihoyos, and his team at the Oceanic Preservation Society, went undercover at a sushi restaurant in LA that was serving whale, which is against the law. The restaurant has since closed. Louie is scheduled to be at Mountainfilm as part of our Extinction programming.
If you watched the Oscar broadcast you probably remember Roger Williams, who directed the Academy Award winner Music by Prudence. Now, after his acceptance speech was bizarrely interrupted by his estranged (and strange) producer, he’s probably the most famous short doc director in the world. We’ll be playing the film at the festival this year and are thrilled that Prudence will come to town to sing after the screening.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, which makes it even more fitting that we are focusing on the Extinction Crisis at Mountainfilm this year. It’s a topic with big heartbreaks, like the recent United Nations vote that will take the blue fin tuna and the polar bear another step closer toward extinction, and small victories, like the rediscovery of the Yellow-Spotted Bell Frog. And with this serious situation comes serious innovation from people like Betsy Dresser who is taking drastic Jurassic Park-like measures by collecting endangered species’ DNA and creating a cryogenic zoo.
Our lineup for the Moving Mountains Symposium on this subject has come together with people like: scientist Tom Lovejoy, who coined the term biodiversity; mountaineer Rick Ridgeway, who will talk about his work with Freedom to Roam; entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Greg Carr, who is doing challenging work in Mozambique; iLCP photographer Joel Sartore; Nicole Rosmarino, a scientist studying the loss of species in Colorado; Dave Foreman, who founded Earth First and has written about the subject of extinction; and, Josh Bernstein, who will host the entire day. Mike Fay, who walked across Africa for his MegaTransect, will also be a part of the program (check out his NPR interview with Alex Chadwick of Interviews, 50 Cents), as will artist Maya Lin whom we have previously announced.
Bill Nathan, the freed slave who was the emotional centerpiece of our modern-day slavery programming in 2008, was on the seventh floor when the earthquake hit in Haiti. Amazingly, he survived the fall and was evacuated to the U.S. by his friend, author and abolitionist Ben Skinner. We’re working to see if we can get Bill back to Mountainfilm this year.
Photographer Alison Wright (Author, Learning to Breathe, Mountainfilm 2005) went to Haiti to photograph the aftermath of the tragedy.
Dan Austin, filmmaker and Mountainfilm regular, was featured on the CBS Evening News about his work with his great non-profit 88Bikes that brings bikes to disadvantaged kids all over the world. He said that traffic on his site went crazy after the piece aired. Here is a piece he wrote for the PopTech blog about “The Moment of Happy.”
Rick Hodes was recently named ABC News Person of the Week and the film about him, Making the Crooked Straight (Mountainfilm 2009), is airing on HBO this month. Rick will be back at Mountainfilm this year as a judge and to update us on his work.
Shaun White (Mountainfilm 2008 in the film, Don’t Look Down) was featured on 60 Minutes right before the Vancouver Olympics.
Paul Watson’s Sea Shepherd Society has a new boat, The Bob Barker, thanks to the famous host of The Price is Right.
Mountainfilm stalwart Wade Davis was featured in these videos during the Copenhagen Climate Change conference.
Big-mountain skier Lynsey Dyer, who was an artist at Mountainfilm 2009, won the Powder Magazine award for Best Female Skier. She will be back at Mountainfilm this year in a variety of capacities.
Cover photo by Tim Vierling, Volcano in Iceland photos by James Balog, Afghan soldier from the film Restrepo, Tom Shadyac photo by Gus Gusciora, Bill Nathan photo by Gus Gusciora and Rick Hodes photo by Jennifer Koskinen