Nineteen-year-old Slater Jewell-Kemker is a climate activist, the daughter of filmmakers and has been making movies since she was 6. An Inconvenient Youth is the story of the youth movement that is working to stop climate change. As both the director and the protagonist, Jewell-Kemker speaks truth in a way that would make proud many other guests who have previously graced Mountainfilm stages.
National Geographic has been sending explorers — such as the first successful American expedition to Everest in 1963 — around the world for more than a century. Realizing that there are a lot of young, bold explorers, the institution runs a program specifically designed for people 25 and under. We’ve brought several of these Young Explorers to Mountainfilm.
Emily Ainsworth is a photographer and anthropologist who joined a Mexican traveling circus as a dancer using the stage name Princess Aurora. By being part of the troupe, she was able to gain access to people that far exceeded what she would have been able to achieve otherwise. Other subjects that have captured her eye include those on the margins of society, such as prostitutes, transvestites and midget bullfighters in Mexico.
Drew Fulton went to college in Maine, yet managed to spend several months working in the Florida Everglades documenting the bird life in that unique ecosystem. He has also spent extensive time in Australia, photographing more than 300 endemic birds. His latest passion is tree climbing and photographing birds from the canopy perspective. Recently, he’s been been working with acclaimed photographer Tim Laman.
Max Lowe is a photographer who grew up coming to Mountainfilm with his parents, Jenni Lowe-Anker and Conrad Anker, and has worked hard to earn his own spot on the National Geographic team and the festival stage. He has spent a lot of time in the Himalayas, documenting the Khumbu Climbing school and life in rural Nepal. While a love of the outdoors runs strong in the family, he has also immersed himself in music culture, creating images that capture the spirit and energy of music festivals.
Gabby Salazar was given a camera by her father when she was 11 and hasn’t stopped taking photographs since. She spent nearly a year in the rainforest of Peru, documenting the establishment of a wildlife corridor, and she focuses much of her work on conservation issues. An avid birder, she is particularly interested in the tropics because she finds new and unexpected subjects there all the time. “Even the cockroaches can be beautiful,” she says.
The Young Explorers, all of whom will be onstage at Mountainfilm for the first time this year, will discuss their work in this presentation.
Mountainfilm audiences have come to know the hyper-achieving Dr. Geoff Tabin, a world-class climber who has ascended the Seven Summits and who is best known for dramatically changing the rates of curable blindness in Nepal and Rwanda. Tabin and his team from the Moran Eye Center in Park City, Utah, took their operation to South Sudan to work with John Dau (one of the original Lost Boys of Sudan whose remarkable story of survival was featured in the film God Grew Tired of Us 2007). Duk County, which was directed by Jordan Campbell, tells the story of this collaboration in which the sight of more than 200 people was restored. Unfortunately — and perhaps inevitably — this triumph is tainted by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.