Tour Films


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. This film, directed by Telluride’s George Knowles, isn’t about race, however, it’s about family. His single mother has become his regular belay partner, one who also makes sure that he maintains straight A’s in school.

64 mph

The San Joaquin Couloir is one of Telluride’s most iconic backcountry lines. Greg Hope is one of the town’s best-known rippers. In 64 mph, the two meet for one slough-dodging, high-velocity descent.

A Beautiful Waste

We last saw Steve Duncan in Telluride in 2011 with his award-winning film Undercity, where he explored way below and way above New York City. In A Beautiful Waste, he journeys down to the core of the Big Apple to wander its sewers. Of course this exploit offers its share of nastiness, but there’s also something — as the title implies — beautiful in these adventures.

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).

A Toy Train in Space

A father sends his son's favorite toy train to space and films and tracks its journey. —Wiley Holbrooke, age 12

A Toy Train in Space is a part of Mountainfilm’s Kidz Kino program, which was curated by a committee of local Telluride kids, who also wrote the synopses. The show, which screens at Mountainfilm in Telluride in May every year, is available as a stand-alone or add-on show for Mountainfilm on Tour. The films address themes of adventure, environment and culture, and is geared toward kidz of all ages, but especially 6-12.


A beautiful animation about a sad story. —Kitty Holbrooke, age 14

Abita is a part of Mountainfilm's Kidz Kino program, which was curated by a committee of local Telluride kids, who also wrote the synopses. The show, which screens at Mountainfilm in Telluride in May every year, is available as a stand-alone or add-on show for Mountainfilm on Tour. The films address themes of adventure, environment and culture, and is geared toward kidz of all ages, but especially 6-12.

Bryan and Kaia

Mountain biker Bryan Gregory attempts to keep up with his dog, Kaia, on a piece of Pacific Northwest single track. This film might not appeal to cat people, but if you’re a dog person, your little heart may just burst with joy.

Catch It

Though she grew up chasing surf in the warm waters of southern France, Lea Brassy’s nomadic lifestyle has led her to Northern Norway, where frigid waves crash into a rugged coastline and mountains rise straight up from the sea. Finding simplicity and an appealing balance between nature and humanity, she parks her van for awhile to connect with the landscape. Fishing, climbing and surfing in a thick wetsuit, even while the snow falls around her, Brassy reminds us that living simply is living fully.

Creative Compulsive Disorder

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.

Dear Governor Hickenlooper

Inspired by the 2013 Mountainfilm selection Dear Governor Cuomo, this compiling by Colorado creatives follows Shane Davis (a.k.a. The Fractivist) as he guides us through a series of vignettes. These stories were collected from the state’s filmmakers, farmers, skiers, activists and concerned citizens and use both science and emotional appeal to explain why fracking is problematic in Colorado.

Desert Ice

With its towering sandstone walls, scurrying lizards and desert sun, Zion National Park isn’t a famed ice climbing destination. But during winter’s coldest days, if the conditions are right, ice can form inside its deep, shadowy slot canyons, creating frozen pitches amid incredible red rock formations. In Desert Ice, ice climbers Scott Adamson and Jesse Huey set out in search of Zion ice. What they discover is a rowdy adventure of bushwacking and runouts, ice runnels and sandstone, snowfall and chimneys and, in the end, glorious ice.

Dubai - A Skier's Journey

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. Ski Dubai is a small hill with a 200-foot vertical rise that’s built into a luxury shopping mall in the largest sand desert on the planet. Massive air-conditioning fans whir to cool the single slope, while temperatures outside soar above 100 degrees.

Duke and the Buffalo

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. It turns out that bison aren’t as easily herded as cattle, and a lot of cowboy mettle gets tested every year.

El Sendero Luminoso

World-renowned free solo climber Alex Honnold went to Mexico in January with the talented Camp4 film crew in hopes of capturing what many regard as the most difficult ropeless climb ever attempted in history.

Forest Scene From Valhalla

Tree skiing without snow!

Fracking 101

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.

Kelly McGarry Rampage

Kelly McGarry Rampage

Professional mountain biker Kelly McGarry recorded his run at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage with a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. The simple, unedited footage took the Internet by storm, garnering a mind-blowing 18 million views.

Light Goes On

Movies are good. Yeah. —Zoe Cooper, age 2

Light Goes On is a part of Mountainfilm’s Kidz Kino program, which was curated by a committee of local Telluride kids, who also wrote the synopses. The show, which screens at Mountainfilm in Telluride in May every year, is available as a stand-alone or add-on show for Mountainfilm on Tour. The films address themes of adventure, environment and culture, and is geared toward kidz of all ages, but especially 6-12.

Likebomb Skiing

Lacking snow, but clearly not courage and poise, Johan Jonsson skis lines that any sane person would avoid. Directed and filmed by Erik Henriksson.

Love in the Tetons

Juan Martinez grew up in urban Los Angeles, but when he stepped off a bus in Grand Teton National Park in 1999 and saw the stars for the first time, he knew his life would be in the outdoors. He became an emerging explorer for National Geographic and in 2012, met Vanessa Torres, a Grand Teton park ranger whose background from a family of Mexican-American migrant workers was similar to his. This short film tells the story of their love for the park and growing romance with each other.

Marshland Dreams

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. Iraqi exile Azzam Alwash, who spoke about his work at Mountainfilm in 2004 and 2008, never accepted that this magical place of his childhood could simply cease to exist.

Mending the Line

In 1944, 20-year-old Frank Moore landed on the beaches of Normandy. Crossing through the occupied French countryside, the young soldier daydreamed about coming back in peacetime to fish the bucolic streams. After the war, he returned to the States, married, had a family and built a life centered around fly fishing. But he never made it back to those streams in France. Until 2014. Now 90 years old, but with the energy of a man 20 years younger, Moore completes the dream with his wife and son by his side.

North Slope, Alaska

Daily life on the Alaskan North Slope is about the mundane reality of moving oil through hundreds of miles of a pipeline’s stiff steel sleeve. At night, though, when the aurora borealis glimmers and scintillates in the sky, life sheds the cloak of mundanity and assumes a brilliant mantle of magic. 

Off-Width Outlaw

In a sport that is not for the weak or easily discouraged, Pamela Shanti Pack excels. One of the most accomplished off-width climbers in the world, male or female, Pack seeks out North America’s most challenging inverted and vertical cracks with what she describes as “masochistic fervor.” Off-Width Outlaw follows her quest to establish new routes in the desert climbing mecca of Indian Creek in southeastern Utah.

Project Boom

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.


Unidentified Protestor

Blanding, UT. Amidst rising tensions between the Bureau of Land Management and County Government, County Commissioner Phil Lyman stages an illegal ATV ride through a protected canyon to protest perceived government overreach. Militias show up from Nevada and Montana, effectively hijacking the protest. The voice of reason is nowhere to be heard. (USA, David Garrett Byars, 8 min.)

Sound of the Void

When he was young, Sébastien de Sainte Marie saw a picture of Sylvain Saudan, “Skier of the Impossible,” and knew what he wanted to do with his life. Today, the Swiss skier picks extreme lines that few dare to try. In a sport where one slip or misjudged turn could mean death, de Sainte Marie is cool and collected. Sound of the Void follows him as he attempts a first descent of the 55-degree north face of Gspaltenhorn in the Bernese Alps and artfully captures his almost Zen-like calm.

Stars Above Lofoten

A group of Norwegian students on a star-gazing field trip learn about astronomy and astrophysics and also get philosophical about their place in the universe.


Long thought to be extinct, the Lord Howe Island stick insect was rediscovered under a bush on a desolate craggy island peak far off the coast of Australia. This lushly animated documentary tells the story about a remarkable creature — the Dryococelusaustralis is so large that it was nicknamed the “tree lobster” — thought to have gone the way of the dodo nearly a hundred years ago.


With breathtaking free solo feats, blistering speed records and ascents of rock faces around the planet, Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright are at the top of their game in the world of professional climbing. But when they decide to link all of California’s 14,000-foot peaks via an ambitious human-powered bike tour, they find themselves out of their element.

Summer Light

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.


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. Then she had kids and traded in the life of a professional skier for being a mom to two red-headed boys. This Solomon film checks in with Fisher, who gets the opportunity to see if she’s still got it on the steeps of B.C. and Chile.

Take Away Film: Uganda

This long-form music video features talent from three continents: Africa, Europe and North America. Swedish, Texan, Ugandan, Malawaian and British musicians collaborated with American and French filmmakers, including the French music gurus La Blogotheque, to create this celebratory cross-cultural mosaic. Take Away Film: Uganda was also a crowd-funded side project of Invisible Children's former director of artist relations, Kenny Laubbacher.

Tashi and the Monk

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. Tashi — the newest arrival and youngest child with a troubled past and alcoholic father — acts out and challenges her elders every step of the way. But there is a spark in her that Lobsang sees clearly: a person inside the hurt, abandoned child with the potential to blossom and grow.

The Balloon Highline

The Balloon Highline

Slacklining no longer seems to need the expanse of  trees, crevasses or other earthbound objects — only some kind helium and a cool buzz. 

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 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.

The Record Breaker

Ashrita Furman is the greatest record breaker of all time. Underwater bicycling, upside-down juggling, splitting apples with a samurai sword — you name it. Ashrita has done it. And set a record in the process. It’s not a path he followed for fame and glory, but rather to honor his guru, which seems as if it must be some kind of record in itself. Nearly 400 world records later, he is nowhere near finished. This is a delightful film about a delightful character who, among his seemingly limitless other talents, also has the ability to coax a smile.

The Whale Story

A beautiful interpretation of the story of a caught whale. —Kitty Holbrooke, age 14

The Whale Story is a part of Mountainfilm’s Kidz Kino program, which was curated by a committee of local Telluride kids, who also wrote the synopses. The show, which screens at Mountainfilm in Telluride in May every year, is available as a stand-alone or add-on show for Mountainfilm on Tour. The films address themes of adventure, environment and culture, and is geared toward kidz of all ages, but especially 6-12.

Tyler Howell

Tyler Howell

Downhill skateboarder Tyler Howell embraces his surf style in the hills of Santa Barbara, California, stylishly descending at vomit-inducing speeds — wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

Walled In

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 elevation to near sea level in less than 30 miles.



There's a highly anticipated beast of a winter wave in Newport Beach, California, that rolls in heavy and attracts hordes of brave souls who attempt to drop into its steep face.

When Dogs Fly

Dean Potter has pushed the boundaries of what can be done in the climbing world for years. He has repeatedly set the speed record for climbing The Nose in Yosemite, and he caused great controversy in 2006 by climbing Delicate Arch in Utah. Recently, he’s funneled much of his considerable energy into being in air instead of on rock.

Who Owns Water

Water wars have always been heated in the American southwest desert, where water is scarce and droughts are frequent, but the same quarrels were once unthinkable in lusher areas of the country. That’s changing as Georgia, Alabama and Florida are locked in a battle over water from their once-bountiful rivers. Two young brothers decide to paddle the three rivers in the Appalachiacola–Chattahoochee–Flint River Basin to tell the story of a system that still flows, though it’s threatened from all sides. Who Owns Water received a Mountainfilm Commitment Grant in 2013.

Winter Light

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.