This year’s Mountainfilmin Telluride festival is taking shape, but David Holbrooke, the festival’s director, is fighting a twinge of panic.
I got a panicky feeling the other day during our weekly Mountainfilm staff meeting. The reason: Our meetings are normally attended only by a core team of seven year-round festival employees, but this one was significantly bigger with seasonal staff in attendance. I knew that this could only mean that the festival is closer than I realize.
March is a crazy busy month here with all kinds of preparation going into different parts of the festival. Our executive director, Peter Kenworthy, is locking down sponsor agreements and managing any number of other endless, yet essential, details. Stash Wislocki, the festival’s producer, is getting his team together and his house (well, his theaters) in order while my team (program director Emily Long and new addition Naani Sheva) focus on this year’s films.
In the programming department, we’re watching film after film, looking for gems that will resonate with Mountainfilm audiences. My friends tease me that watching movies isn't the hardest job in the world, and while that’s true, finding the right mix of appropriate and quality content is challenging. And we’re finding it — in stories about climbers who kick ass, environmentalists who are deeply determined to fix the planet and the radical new world of geopolitics.
We’re also working to get the right guests to Telluride, again trying to unearth a blend of voices to inspire and challenge our audience. You’ll find some familiar faces, back after a respite, and some fresh ones. We hope to blow you away (and will have announcements about that soon). We are also nearly done planning 2014’s Moving Mountains Symposium with a list of speakers to explore the theme of Wilderness in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Memorial Day weekend is many weeks away, so we still have some time to prepare, so like a climber at the crux — where panicking doesn't help — I’d best just concentrate and get to work.
—David Holbrooke, Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival Director