June 22, 2015

Inspiring the Next Generation of Filmmakers, Artists and Activists

"Who are these kids?"

When asked if he would meet with Mountainfilm for Students for a “Film & French Fries Q&A,” Ben Masters, subject and mastermind of the Audience Choice Award-winning documentary Unbranded, responded, “You had me at French fries.”

Thus began one of many amazing relationships that students in the Movies That Matter program experienced over four days at Telluride Mountainfilm. The 2015 program, in conjunction with Telluride Academy, included 22 students ages 10 to 18, but don’t let their adolescence fool you. Over the weekend, they peppered elite athletes and filmmakers with intelligent, probing questions. Whether it was professional snowboarder and climate change activist Jeremy Jones or director of Landfill Harmonic Brad Allgood, the students were enthusiastically prepared for their one-on-one sessions throughout the weekend.

If you were in Telluride, you may have noticed the Movies That Matter students walking around in a large group with their heads held high, sporting “Student Judge” buttons. They were charged with selecting a film to receive the coveted 2015 Student Choice Award,* and they took it dead serious. Breaking into groups of two or three at their first meeting, they deliberated over exactly what the criteria would be. Here are a few samples of initial thoughts:

It has to make me feel something.
It has to have good sound and good music.

The story has to be something interesting but relevant.
There should be a surprise element.

And my personal favorite:
It can’t make me go on a guilt trip.

Mountainfilm for Students - Frame by Frame

A handful of these students had attended Mountainfilm previously, but for the majority it was their first experience, made possible in part by scholarships provided by Mountainfilm for Students and Telluride Academy. These new students surprised us repeatedly by raising their hands and asking the questions that were on all our minds. Confidence had set in. Others kept asking: “Who are these kids?”

Twenty-two students, four instructors, 14-plus hours of film, four hours of exclusive Q&A sessions with filmmakers and countless hours of closed-door deliberation made for the experience of a lifetime — and, hopefully, inspiring the next generation of artists, filmmakers and activists to return for Telluride Mountainfilm … oh, and free French fries.

Jessica Galbo
Mountainfilm Director of Education Programs

*Find out what film the students selected as the winner of the 2015 Student Choice Award.

Learn more about Mountainfilm for Students, which travels on tour worldwide. Email or call 970.728. 4123 ext. 20.

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