This girl climbs, and she's really really good. —Clark Hopgood, age 6
Directed by George Knowles
Climbers all have a story about how they got started, and 14-year-old Kai Lighter’s introduction is particularly striking — and not only because he’s a brilliant climber. Much like Tiger Woods in golf or the Williams sisters in tennis, he could change the demographics of climbing.
Directed by Eric Becker
For Jim Whittaker, the first American to stand atop Mt. Everest, a life well lived means stepping outside of his comfort zone regularly.
Directed by Niels Windfeldt
Television-broadcasted downhill ski races do not reflect the actual speeds or crushing forces that alpine racers endure. This remarkable short film by Antimedia attempts to expose the raw mental pressure inherent in the sport by capturing the incredible skill and focus of Aksel Lund Svindal.
Directed by Catherine Gund
Elizabeth Streb believes humans can walk on walls, hover in space and fly. And she proves it. Streb is a choreographer who defines herself as a wildly extreme action architect. The heart and soul of Streb’s dance is closer to the philosophy of climbers and BASE jumpers than you might imagine.
Directed by Mickey Smith
This visually crushing short film by legendary cold-water surf photographer Mickey Smith might be classified more appropriately as a poem. Disturbingly heavy waves, documented at high frame rates, are rendered in icy tones and narrated with sparse, humble words.
Directed by Stormy Pyeatte
A fatal hiking accident in Ouray, Colorado, cut Zina Lahr’s artistic life short. Shot as a video for her portfolio, this short film now serves as a fitting tribute to a creative who will continue to touch people with her effervescent nature and work.
When Floyd Dominy, the longtime commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, died in 2010, The Washington Post referred to him as a “Big Dam Builder and Public Servant.” After watching DamNation, the first assessment is clear, but the second is questionable.
A desert oasis beckons. Is it a mirage, or is that really a chairlift? Talented filmmakers Jordan Manley and Daniel Irvine has been following skiers around the globe for years for their series “A Skier’s Journey,” but in this episode, they’ve stumbled across a strange location for rippers.
Duke is a cowboy. The buffalo are part of the largest conservation herd of bison in the United States. Every year, Duke organizes a roundup of theses buffalo to inspect the health of the herd and yield income to sustain the Nature Conservancy-owned ranch where the buffalo roam.
An animated tutorial on that buzz word you read in the news every day! Fracking 101 is an excerpt from the feature-length film, Deal Governor Hickenlooper, which played to sold-out audiences at the 2014 festival.
Directed by Mark Grieco
The small town of Marmato perches precariously on the slope of a mountain in Columbia riddled with primitive gold mines. For 500 years, the community has sustained its economy by drilling and dynamiting the mountain’s rich veins, barely denting the estimated $20 billion of reserves.
Directed by John Antonelli
Once the largest ecosystem in the Middle East, and the rich homeland of Sumerians for millennia, the Mesopotamian Marshes were destroyed systematically by Saddam Hussein so that they couldn’t shelter rebel forces. Drained and burned, the vital wetland habitat seemed lost forever.
Directed by Marshall Curry
After seeing a TV show about an Australian adventurer, 27-year-old Matthew Van Dyke decides to take a “crash course in manhood.” He buys a motorcycle and a video camera and spends four years rambling around the world and filming everything he sees.
The Rulison Project of 1969 unleashed a 40 kiloton, underground, nuclear explosion, meant to loosen the vast stores of natural gas trapped beneath western Colorado.
Directed by Matthew Livadary
At his first — and last — college rodeo practice, Chris Sherman’s collegiate roping team discovered his sexual orientation. After that, he couldn’t find a roping partner, lost his scholarship and dropped out of school. Sherman’s story is just one of many.
The U.K. climbing scene is notorious both for its strict traditional ethics and its high caliber of danger. And, unsurprisingly, it’s a pretty macho scene. But one woman — the petite blonde Hazel Findlay — is putting the lads to shame.
Directed by Max Lowe
Skipping stones and plunging into the river from a bridge.The laughter of a pretty girl. Songbirds and the thick gold light of a summer evening and moments unbound. This short film is both an ode to summer and a reminder to hold on to the magical and sun-drenched memories of youth.
Directed by Mike Douglas
With a graceful style and aggressive lines, Wendy Fisher ruled the women’s big mountain freeskiing scene from 1996 to 2004. She skied Alaskan spines, hucked cliffs, starred in movie segments, won many championships, kept up with male cohorts and inspired a new generation of female badasses.
Many terrific bands have been filmed by La Blogotheque for their Take Away Shows (check it out online, and you might find yourself immersed in this art for hours). Here, they team up with the human rights group Invisible Children in Uganda to capture a band called The Very Best on film.
In a remote community in the foothills of the Himalaya, a former monk struggles under the weight of his calling. Once a spiritual teacher in the U.S., Lobsang returned to India to create a community for orphaned and neglected children.
Mountain rescue is always a risky proposition, so those who are attracted to the job tend to be strapping, young and full of verve — and nerve. This was definitely the case in 1967, when a group of seven national park rangers in the Grand Tetons risked their lives to save an injured climber.
Before being arrested by the FBI in a sting operation in Thailand in 2008, Viktor Bout claimed to be a Russian entrepreneur and family man with interests in global cultures and filmmaking. U.S. prosecutors believed his interests were of a different nature, namely weapons trafficking.
Directed by Temujin Doran
We should never take mountains lightly. Because, as this short film makes beautifully clear, the processes that combine to create, sustain and, ultimately, destroy the world’s mountains are elemental, powerful and deep with meaning — meaning that may exceed our capacity to measure.
Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel
This stunning documentary is so well crafted that it feels like fiction. Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site and the last intact habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
Directed by Russell O. Bush
On the Tibetan Plateau in Western China, the material culture of a rapidly modernizing society clashes with the customs and practices of a rich spiritual tradition. The differences between Chinese secularity and the deep faith of Buddhist Tibetans are pronounced.
Directed by Ben Stookesberry
Ostensibly, Walled In is the story of a first descent of the rowdy Marble Fork of the Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park by kayakers Ben Stookesbury and Chris Korbulic, but this film poses bigger questions than whether the pair can send a river that flows from above 12,000 feet in el
Directed by Max Lowe
Dawn patrol on an inky winter morning leads to a contemplative climb through a snowbound world, a cold and starkly beautiful place imbued with solitude and the purity of winter light. When daylight turns and the summit is achieved, the only place to go is down.