Book Lodging

The Mountainfilm Experience

Thursday • May 31, 2012

This past weekend’s Mountain Film Festival has sadly come to a close. For everyone who got to attend, I think you can agree that it was a blast. For those who couldn’t, here’s a little recap. It all began on Friday Morning with the opening Symposium at the Conference Center in Mountain Village. A crowd of both curious young people and veterans on the topic gathered outside, happily waiting in the sunshine until the doors opened and the festival could kick off.

This year’s Mountain Film theme was population, an issue that is often over looked but really deserves some thought. It started off with speaker Paul Ehrlich, professor at Stamford and author of the 1968 book “Population Bomb.” He was able to talk about some serious issues with population growth and the environment while managing to sneak in some humor. Ehlrich and other speakers that followed made some really interesting points about problems outside of just climate change, being the rise of diseases, toxic chemicals, and consumption patterns. Even if the issues on hand are a bit discouraging by nature, the whole discussion turned out to be really motivating and inspirational. As Ehrlich said, we need to change the type of discussion around this type of global issue!  

Later that day, Main Street was buzzing and the crowds were coming in. People from all over were out chatting about the cool films to come. My first screening was Friday night, and was probably the most fun of all; climbing and slack lining shorts followed by presentations from world famous athletes Chris Sharma and Dean Potter. If you haven’t already, you need to check out the short clip called Moonwalk, a really amazing example of Dean’s skills in balance and focus.

Some of the other films that got me psyched to get outside and play were shown at the Adrenaline Series, a free series of shorts held at the outdoor Base Camp Theater. It was cold, but that didn’t stop people from showing up. Town Park was packed with people with sleeping bags, blankets, and lawn chairs to hang out in under the stars. Everyone stared in awe as films like Code Red (surfing), Race for the Nose (climbing El Capitan) and other ski and mountain bike segments played on the big screen.

Another short adventure film that I got to catch was called Treeverse. I would say that this was one of the more unique films I saw. It documents a feat by two arborists who used ropes and harnesses to traverse from branch to branch, eventually traveling a kilometer without touching the ground. There really are no limits to what a little creativity and determination can achieve!

Some of my other favorites from the rest of the weekend were not as wild and full of excitement, but still really moving. The film that sticks with me the most is titled Fambul Tok, a longer documentary set in Sierra Leone that won the 2012 Norman Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award. It sends a pretty striking message about the power of forgiveness and peacemaking.

Another that I got to catch was the film Right to Play, winner of the 2012 Audience Award. It documented an organization spearheaded by Olympic speed racer that brings sports equipment and games to children in a number of African countries. Other winners of this year’s festival include Chasing Ice, Bidder 70, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and J.P. Auclair’s segment in All. I. Can.

All in all, the Mountain Film Fest was another huge success. The kickoff to summer, it got me excited for what’s to come. The weather was a bit windy at times (those who went to the ice cream social got to experience a small dust storm) but people in Telluride are always prepared. The films were great, the people were great, and I’m sure what comes out next year will be even better.