Mountainfilm in Telluride, May 24-27, 2013
Summer has arrived -- The 35th Annual Mountainfilm Festival this past weekend kicked off Telluride's festival season! The weather was gorgeous, the aspen leaves started to come back out, and the gondola re-opened. Main Street was packed with locals and tourists alike excitedly sporting lanyards with festivals passes around their necks, and conversations on the gondola heading to and from the High Camp venue at the Conference Center in Mountain Village were inspired by stories of daring extreme sports athletes and global environmental issues. Highlights of my Mountainfilm weekend:
- Moving Mountains Symposium - The speakers for the afternoon session spanned an impressive range of fields: environmental activists, ski industry experts, musicians and artists, journalists, and Telluride local agricultural innovators and sustainability advocates. Activist Bill McKibbon arrived in Telluride via Skype and spoke of his mission to inspire students to push their schools to divest in environmentally harmful industries (mostly oil, gas, and coal companies). Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Ski Company, asked us the hard questions about the ski industry: How can an inherently environmentally detrimental industry engage in a positive way with the efforts towards environmental sustainability (check out, www.protectourwinters.org for more information)? Steve Cieciuch, co-founder of Telluride Grown, presented a plan to invest in aquaponics agriculture right here in Telluride. And Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky) demonstrated his musical compositions and accompanying visual works inspired by a trip to Antarctica. By using musical algorithmic transcription, he was able to develop a musical composition that is literally weather data from his time in Antarctica and change the context of the conversation about the environment. Ultimately, all of the speakers individually and on panels spoke of this notion of 'togetherness' -- we must utilize the strengths of these diverse efforts to collaborate and achieve a more sustainable future.
- Film Screening: Facing Your Fears - "This year, be safe, but live wild." - Roger Strong, 'STRONG'. This series of shorts was aptly themed as athletes returned to places where they had been swept away by avalanches, kidnapped by Kyrgyzstani rebels, failed at climbing seemingly impossible rock features, and limited by injuries. Each athlete in their own rite ultimately overcame all of these struggles to dominate their respective challenges. Check out 'Off the Hook', a short film documenting the design of an off-road handbike by an outdoor enthusiast paralyzed later in life. And don't miss 'Honnold 3.0'; this guy climbs like a maniac, totally sweet to watch.
- Film Screening: The Climbing Program - This was an inspiring collection of short climbing films. I've been wanting to get more into climbing and if the guys in 'The Gimp Monkeys' can climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park while missing limbs, then I can certainly start climbing some rock.
- Ice Cream Social! All of the festival goers gathered on Main Street for some free ice cream and to take in the beautiful day.
- Film Screening: Adrenaline - One of the highlights of the weekend was definitely the free films in Town Park. People packed onto the lawn in front of the stage armed with sleeping bags, hats, and plenty of libations. A rowdy outdoor film watching some serious athletes do serious stunts was an awesome lead up to the live music in town later in that night.
- Hike Bear Creek - After all the talk about the environment, all I wanted to do on Sunday was to get into the mountains. I spent the morning hiking up Bear Creek!
- Film Screening: The Crash Reel - I did not see this film, but everyone I spoke to was on the verge of tears when asked about this one. 'The Crash Reel' is set to be released on HBO this summer and I can't wait to watch it.
For more detailed information about each of the films, check out the Mountainfilm in Telluride official website,www.mountainfilm.org.