Mountainfilm is like the Aspen Institute wrapped in a TED Talk plugged into Sundance and turned up to eleven. Where else could a dude who makes climbing flicks have a chance to rub elbows with Nobel laureates, New York Times columnists, shamans and lots of other people who make climbing flicks? I get to have beers with Tim DeChristopher (Hayduke lives!), then take in a panel on something that inspires me to take action (but I don’t), then go late night with assorted party outfits like the Baffin Babes and the Moab Monkey Crew. Very little sleep.
Daytime is bleary-eyed social pinball. But when you get into the theater and the lights go dark, the magic happens. David Holbrooke and his team always have an exciting and voracious program. For me, watching outdoor films, such as Big River Man and Eastern Rises were an inspiration and a challenge to make my own work better. Of course there are the hard truth pictures about our world and our environment (dudes, you’re killin’ my festbuzz!) But for every documentary of woe, there’s a crazy Quixotecharacter dedicating her life to make things better, and that keeps your spirit aloft right into beer thirty.
Then you try to get dinner somewhere — table for 35, please? — because there are just so many cool people to talk to at Mountainfilm. It’s how I wish all of America was like, instead of like this. But for all the intellectual firepower and world-changing films on display in Telluride, Colorado, my best memory was taking part in an impromptu rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody at midnight down by the creek with a few friends and some other people who may have been homeless drifters.
And then there was the midnight rave in the abandoned mine, where I first kissed the girl of my dreams. Would that ever happen at the Aspen Institute or at TED? (I'd probably end up kissing Madeleine Albright or David Gergen, and I would regret that!) Thank god there's a place for people like me who would rather not have one-night stands with public intellectuals over 60. Thank god for Mountainfilm!
*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 Nick Rosen, a partner at Sender Films (King Lines 2008, Alone on the Wall 2010, Honnold3.0 and others), is the eighth this series.