Welcome to the eighth issue of PITCH.

We’re getting ready for Mountainfilm 2010 and hope you can make it to the festival. Check out our website to see the latest announcements for this year. Our full schedule should be up by May 15th.

We’ve always felt that Mountainfilm should go beyond the magical four days of the festival in Telluride. In 2000, we developed Mountainfilm on Tour, which takes films from the festival all over the world. Ten years later, we’re taking some other significant steps to reach a bigger audience and broaden our impact.

If you go to our website you’ll find a variety of original programming, from the 2009 Moving Mountains Symposium on Food to some new interviews from our original Minds of Mountainfilm series, including conversations with Bill McKibben and Nick Kristof. We’ll continue to bring original content to the website from past festivals as well as the 2010 edition.

We’re also excited to announce that we have new National Media Sponsors in Outside Magazine and Outside Television. The storied magazine is involved in a new national television network that will be producing a primetime show with us to air in the fall. The program—Mountainfilm Movie Night—will be a mix of films and interviews from the festival and will be hosted by Lynsey Dyer and David Lahuta, both of whom will be in Telluride for the festival this year.

These are exciting developments for us and we hope you’ll check us out online and on-air but, most importantly, come to Telluride for the real thing.

Hope to see you at Mountainfilm.
David Holbrooke, Festival Director

Festival 2010
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.

The Oscars
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.

Extinction News

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.

Updates From Our Guests
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



Some of Our 2010 World Premieres

Tom Shadyac, the director of major comedies like Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty, and a long-time friend of the festival, will be showing his thoughtful and important autobiographical non-fiction film, I Am for the first time in Telluride.

Felt Soul Media, aka Ben Knight and Travis Rummel (Red Gold - you can join the protest against the Pebble Mine), will be premiering Eastern Rises about an epic fly-fishing trip to Kanchatka.

Another local film, Woodsy will premiere as well.

We are seeking volunteers for the 2010 Festival. Click here for more information or to sign up.

Food News
The real food movement is creative and coming up with all sorts of ways to grow food sensibly and sustainably as people are trying everything from aquaponics, to prisoners growing food, to something called crop mobs. What doesn’t seem so sensible is this article on the notion of the pain of vegetables being eaten.

For Filmmakers
There are lots of great online resources for documentary filmmakers like the Documentary Blog or the website for the IDA, Documentary.org, which has useful articles on subjects like fair use, or interviews with filmmakers like Robert Kenner who directed Food, Inc (Mountainfilm 2009). This website is a worthwhile guide for filmmakers who want to “use information and digital technology to create positive change.”

Filmmakers can find diverse funding and distribution outlets out there, from Morgan Spurlock (SuperSize Me), with his Cinelan project for short films, to Oprah Winfrey’s documentary club. There is a new venture called Openfilm that is going to democratically fund films based on its own members’ votes.


An educational version of Paul Devlin’s BLAST! – astrophysics Indiana Jones style – is now available on DVD.  This riveting documentary of an international team’s efforts to launch a telescope in a high-altitude balloon was a huge hit at last year’s festival and will be one of the films included in our educational outreach program, “Making Movies That Matter."

Making Movies That Matter at the Festival
Every year high school students from around the country come to Telluride over Memorial Day Weekend to participate in a program designed just for them. For four days they watch powerful films, meet the people who made them, discuss the issues involved and have adventures in the mountains. Click Here to learn more.

From Our Blog -
"The Conversation"
What are our Most Endangered Species? At this year’s Moving Mountains Symposium, we’re focusing on the Extinction Crisis. Why?

Walt Ratterman was one of the heroes of Adrian Belic’s Beyond the Call (Best of Festival, Mountainfilm 2006). He was in Haiti teaching people how to use solar power when the earthquake hit.

Karen Schmeer was a renowned documentary editor, having worked on many films by Errol Morris and, more recently, Sergio, which won the audience award in 2009 at Mountainfilm.

Worthwhile Stuff

To Watch      

Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff has been an Internet sensation. Her terrific new video is about bottled water.

La Blogotheque’s Take Away Shows are perfect little music videos where you see some of the smoothest bands around, playing on the street, outside a bar, at a party. Start with this one - just beautiful.

The Onion makes us laugh.

It’s hard to figure out how people come up with ideas like this one: body-skating through the Alps.

To Read      

Mother Jones has an important piece on the challenges facing Burmese protesters.

Robert Thurman on why Tibet should matter to the U.S.

To Check Out      

Pecha Kucha is a gathering of creative folks who get together to show 20 images for 20 seconds each and talk about them in that time frame. It started out in Tokyo and has spread across the globe. Think about setting up a Pecha Kucha night in your neighborhood.

Longbets.org is dedicated to accountable predictions of the future. You can take up a bet with someone on everything from the stock market to climate change. The rules are that the bet must be for a period of two years, minimum, and the subject of the prediction or bet must be “societally or scientifically important.”

YourMorals.org is a website where you can learn about your own morality, ethics and/or values while also contributing to scientific research.