Welcome to the fourth issue of Pitch.

The festival has been over for more than a month and in that time, many of you have sent us wonderful photos and for the most part, kind comments that include such words as “inspiring,” “revelation” or “life-changing experience.”

A friend of mine attended the festival a few years back and echoed this sentiment, saying that attending it had changed her life. When I checked in with her a year later or so to see if Mountainfilm’s impact had lasted, she admitted, “No, my life changed back.”

Our goal is to prevent that from happening by making Mountainfilm more year-round so you can continue to be inspired and educated by festival guests. For instance, we now have original programming from the festival on our website. If you missed the breakfast talk with Bill McKibben and Paul Watson, grab a scone and check it out. And please continue to visit throughout the year as we add more Mountainfilm programming to the website.

One last thing: We know a ot of kinetic collaborations come out of Mountainfilm. If you end up working with someone you met at the festival, please let us know so that we can add your experience to our list of Domino Effects.

All best,

David Holbrooke
Festival Director

Theme for 2010 Symposium

We loved building programming around the theme of food for the last symposium—so much so, that for five seconds, we thought about scheduling Food Part Two for 2010. For instance, we could have asked Mark Bittman to be a guest, who wrote this great article about fish. We could have done something about urban crops or even urban fruit picking.

But we can come back to food in a couple of years. In the meantime, we received many worthy and appreciated suggestions for themes from you all, such as health and wellness, Native Americans and population control.

These were all considered carefully, but the theme for 2010 is—drum roll, please—The Extinction Crisis. Scientists estimate that half of all existing species on the planet will be gone by the end of the twenty-first century. They say that we are currently living during what is called the Holocene Extinction, the sixth major extinction—but the first to be caused by humans.

This destruction of biodiversity is deeply alarming and considered by many scientists to be the paramount challenge facing the planet. E.O. Wilson has said that maintaining biodiversity—a word that did not exist twenty years ago—is the key to life continuing here.

Quite honestly, we struggle with what to call this theme, a problem we did not have with food. Many people are not clear about what “biodiversity” means, while “flora and fauna” seems a little soft. We’re concerned that “The Extinction Crisis” sounds too grim, but it is accurate because that is exactly what’s happening. That being said, however, there’s an enormous amount of exciting work being done to combat the crisis, much of which will be highlighted at Mountainfilm 2010.

This week I attended the Aspen Institute's Idea Festival, where I met several scientists who could be great for our symposium, but, as always, we'd love your suggestions because, as I like to say, it takes a village to make a Mountainfilm.

July 6 in Telluride
We will screen the terrific documentary Fire on the Mountain, which is about the exploits of the famed Tenth Mountain Division during World War II. The film, by Telluride locals Beth and George Gage, will play Monday, July 6, at the Sheridan Opera House. Members of the original group – and current enlisted members of the 10th - will be in town for the screening, and they will also march in Telluride’s July Fourth parade. See our website for more details on the event.

Tickets are $50, and there will be an auction for Mountainfilm passes, work by Mountainfilm artists, travel packages, fantastic gear and other great items. All proceeds benefit Mountainfilm, and we will also have a hospitality center on main street over the weekend at the corner of Colorado and Fir streets, where people can meet members of the Tenth, bid on auction items and learn more about next May’s festival.

Chris Jordan, Pico Iyer and Other Stuff
Speaking of Chris Jordan, my goodness, he’s prolific. He creates new works more quickly than we produce issues of Pitch. His latest series looks at coal in America. Check it out below.

Starting close up, you see a bunch of one-pound chunks of coal, each about the size of an avocado:

And here is a portion of the five-foot square panel depicting 63,000 of these one-pound chunks of coal. This represents the amount of coal burned in the U.S. every second:

To show 24 hours of our coal consumption using the five-foot panels we would need a grid of these panels 3.6 miles wide by two miles tall. See below. The Empire State Building and the NY Skyline have been placed next to it for scale.

2008 guest Pico Iyer wrote a thoughtful piece about the simple life he leads in Kyoto.

Check out this index of Failed States that Foreign Policy Magazine compiled. Amazing how much of their world map is colored yellow (Borderline), orange (In Danger), or Red (Critical).

We welcome you to take part in one of the most interactive renewable energy events of the year in beautiful Aspen, Colorado.  American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) brings leaders together to promote the rapid implementation of renewable energy and energy efficient strategies as practical solutions to the climate crisis through presentation, performance, film and dialogue.  Special guests for AREDAY 2009 include: Bill Ritter, Governor, State of Colorado and Amory Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute, Larry Schweiger, CEO, National Wildlife Federation among others.  The forum takes place at the world renowned Aspen Meadows Resort. The AREDAY Expo is free to the public and takes place in the Aspen Cooper Street Mall and includes exhibits, music and fun for the family.  For tickets to the forum please visit the AREDAY website at www.areday.net

Cover photo by Tim Vierling, Joy of Mountainfilm rainbow by Vance Howard, Symposium photos by Jennifer Koskinen, Gallery Walk photos by Jennifer Koskinen, Zero Emissions photo by Drew Ludwig


2009 Festival Awards

Audience Award: Sergio

Aspiring Filmmakers Award: Surfing 50 States

Charlie Fowler Award (best climbing film): Samsara

Festival Director’s Award: environmental activist Tim DeChristopher

Food for Thought Award: Food, Inc

Moving Mountains Prize: Rick Hodes, Making the Crooked Straight, and the Democratic Voice of Burma, Burma VJ. (We were thrilled that audience members kicked in nearly $8,000 to give these worthy nonprofits a bigger cash prize than anticipated.)

Mountainfilm 2009 Update

  • Bill McKibben’s climate change organization, www.350.org, has a new video about their upcoming global event on October 24.
  • Tim DeChristopher’s trial is expected to take place sometime in September. His defense strategy is particularly interesting in that he is saying that his disruption of the BLM oil and gas auctions were justified by the moral imperative of stopping climate change.
  • If you want to support the refugees in Swat, Pakistan, you can send a text to the number 20222 and type in the word “swat.” You will be charged $5, which will go toward the UN Pakistan Relief efforts.
  • Symposium speaker, Gene Baur runs Farm Sanctuary and they are trying to end cruel confinement of farm animals.
  • Our friends at PlumTV have put together a bunch of pieces from Mountainfilm 2009 on their website: a festival overview; Rock Prophecies interview; reading frenzy coverage; interviews with artists Jane Goren, Jason Houston, Renan Ozturk and Cole Rise.

Mountainfilm in Aspen

Yes, there’s another opportunity to check out Mountainfilm this summer, this time in Aspen, where we’ll host a four-day, one-theater version of our signature festival from August 27 to 30 in conjunction with the Wheeler Opera House. We’ll present a symposium on food, and we’ve already scheduled the films Rock Prophecies, The Cove, The Yes Men Fix the World and several showings that will be new to Mountainfilm audiences. A few guests are already confirmed, including Tim DeChristopher and Chris Jordan.

Zero Emissions

In June of 2009, Mountainfilm on Tour embarked on the Zero Emissions Film Tour, a 2,000-mile unsupported bike tour throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Along the route, we’re organizing community-based events centered around Mountainfilm content to support the goal of the Mountainfilm Commitment, which is to lessen our global impact. With an almost total elimination of fossil fuels, the bike tour is a catalyst for action, and we’re inspiring audiences to take action and make their own commitments for change.

Click here to learn more about the Zero Emissions Tour, read Drew Ludwig and Justin Clifton’s blog or to follow them on Twitter as they pedal their way around the West.

After the Fest

We will screen FREE films from this year’s festival in Mountain Village on July 25-26 and August 20-21. This effort is kindly supported by Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association.

Philip Glass in Telluride Friday, July 3rd
Telluride Musicfest is bringing renowned composer Philip Glass to Telluride for a very special event Friday, July 3 at 7:30pm at the Palm Theater. Tickets are still available to hear him speak about how he scores films and to see a rare screening of Paul Schrader's masterpiece, Mishima, for which Glass provided the score.