It was only 8 minutes long, a tiny film that I made as a student of the Munich film school. But it brought Mountainfilm into my life.
When I received an invitation to present my film in Telluride, I thought, “Telluride! Where the hell is Telluride, Colorado?” I bought a map. (There was no Google in 1993). “Wow! Are they really serious?” I wondered. I called to find out. Only 15 minutes later, I was absolutely convinced that traveling halfway around the globe to screen an 8-minute film was the natural thing to do. And there was one more thing: Rick Silverman [the director of the festival back then] had asked me to bring a warm jacket and pants for skiing.
Although this wasn’t my first trip to the States, I felt as if I was entering a new world. The spirit of Mountainfilm overwhelmed me completely. The people, the films, the art exhibits, the talks, the picnic, the friendship and, of course, the place — the fun! Altogether, it was pure inspiration. It was also great skiing (and half of my equipment came from the town’s Free Box).
Ever since, I have returned to Telluride as often as possible. I was proud when I had a film to show, and I felt honored when I was part of the jury. But I also keep attending Mountainfilm as a mere visitor and a true fan. Or, more accurately, said: as an addict.
The festival has undergone many changes in its growing process. But the strong DNA of Mountainfilm has remained unaltered. Every time I return to Telluride on Memorial Day weekend, I can still sense that same electrifying spirit that enthused me so much during my first visit.
— Joachim Hellinger
*This year will mark Mountainfilm's 35th festival, and we feel fortunate to still be going strong. We owe our longevity to many people: volunteers, staff, audiences and, of course, many filmmakers, artists and guests. Some people who have taken the stage have helped shape Mountainfilm in Telluride. To celebrate their longtime involvement, we asked a few of these creative types to write something about their relationship with Mountainfilm. This blog by filmmaker Joachim Hellinger (Adrenaline on Screen 1993, Secret Island 1996, Pure 1998, Sacred Wave 2000, Angels of Gravity 2002, Pororoca: Surfing the Amazon 2003, Patagoinia Inland Ice2004, Gasherbrum II 2007, Outside the Box 2012 and Je Veux 2013) is the seventh in this series.