The Lion’s Mouth Opens

In 2010, filmmaker Lucy Walker brought to Mountainfilm the unforgettable story of Vik Muniz, the Brazilian artist in Waste Land. In 2011, she captured the personal impact of the tsunami in Japan (The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom).

A Life Well Lived | Jim Whittaker & 50 Years of Everest

For Jim Whittaker, the first American to stand atop Mt. Everest, a life well lived means stepping outside of his comfort zone regularly. “Trials, tribulations and a few scars,” he says, are all parts of learning the real meaning of life. And what taking risks didn’t teach, he learned from the natural world — from the awe and humility it inspired. This short film is long on wise words from a great American hero who has participated in Mountainfilm twice (2009 and 2013).

The Last Season

Mushrooms are a strange and mysterious species, whose infinitesimal filament roots can go dormant for many seasons until growing conditions become just right. No less odd and unfathomable are humans, whose emotional lives can revive after unimaginable affliction when a nourishing environment presents itself. This film, awarded a 2013 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant, explores the touching relationship between two mushroom hunters: one a Vietnam vet approaching his final days, the other a Cambodian exile conscripted as a child into slave labor for the Khmer Rouge.

The Karsts of China

Sprinkled across the vast country of China are pockets of geologic wonder: surreal forests of limestone fins, monumental arches and slender towers that reach into the sky. In The Karsts of China, climbers Cedar Wright, Emily Harrington and Matt Segal and National Geographic photographer Carsten Peter spend a month roaming the country, seeking otherworldly formations and unclimbed routes in an exploration of wild and incredible landscapes.

Isle de Jean Charles

In the next two years, the Isle de Jean Charles is expected to flood and be lost to sea, but the resilient inhabitants on this tiny southern Louisiana island would tell you otherwise. In this short film, the last dauntless residents of this community contemplate their heritage and permanence as their kingdom quietly slips away.

An Honest Liar

James "The Amazing" Randi became a world-famous magician and escape artist by studying the art of illusion employed by Harry Houdini and other master magicians. When Randi saw these techniques used by spoon benders, faith healers and mentalists to extract money from innocent people, he was outraged and appeared regularly on television programs to debunk what he considered phonies of the lowest kind. Truth and deception — hallmarks of Randi's life — take on a new meaning, however, when he has to fight a different battle, one that involves the law and his partner. 

High Tension

In the spring of 2013, "The Swiss Machine” Ueli Steck set out to climb Mount Everest and then neighboring Lhotse without oxygen. But he and climbing partner Simone Moro ended up in an ugly confrontation with some Sherpas who were fixing lines on the route. The fight spilled into Camp 2, culminating in a group of Sherpas attacking the two European climbers with rocks.

Harvest of Shadows

In the lush and fertile farmland of California, thousands of undocumented laborers find themselves between a rock and a hard place, working illegally with forged paperwork and earning an average of only $12,000 per year. A poignant snapshot of what it means to live as a migrant worker, Harvest of Shadows gives a face to the nameless.

The Guardians

Fighting threats of poaching, habitat destruction and the instability of new national independence, a community in Namibia must protect the exceptional local wildlife and surrounding natural environment. Sustainable wildlife tourism is essential to their survival, but frustrated farmers often shoot a lion that kills livestock. Residents take conservation efforts into their own hands, assuming personal responsibility to protect the free-roaming lions and other wildlife.

The Grand Rescue

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. On August 22, Gaylord Campbell was climbing the north face of the Grand Teton with a friend when a boulder broke free and showered them with rocks, leaving Campbell with compound fractures.

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