Mountainfilm Festival will host its 34th annual festival during Memorial Day Weekend on May 25-28, in Telluride, Colorado. With around 70 films slated to screen, an attendee can expect a packed roster of a variety of individuals including scientists, artists, writers, adventurers and filmmakers. However, the Mountain Film Festival separates itself as the OTHER internationally acclaimed film festival in Telluride.
“We showcase independent documentaries with very few narrative films which, among other things, distinguishes us from the Telluride Film Festival,”
–Peter Kenworthy, Executive Director for the Mountainfilm Festival.
While MountainFilm features plenty of films about the mountains, the festival has expanded to cover more topics not very related to the lifestyle of a 14er climber. “Originally dedicated to films solely about mountain adventures, sports and cultures we have expanded dramatically over the decades to encompass issues that matter in virtually all realms: environment, culture, social justice, and foreign policy,” Kenworthy said. “Our mission, in shorthand, is to educate and inspire.”
According to the Mountainfilm website:
Started in 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride is one of America’s longest-running film festivals. Through the years, in and out of trends and fads, the Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival has always been best described by one unchanging word: inspiring. Far more than any other adjective, that’s how festival audiences describe their experience.
In addition to screening leading independent documentary films from around the world, the festival includes a full-day symposium on a critical contemporary issue, art and photography exhibits, early morning coffee talks, a book signing party, an ice cream social, student programs and a closing picnic/awards ceremony. Presentations and panels are scheduled throughout the Memorial Day weekend event with a wide diversity of special guests, ranging from artists to adventurers and academics to activists.
Kensworthy mentioned recent prominent films to show at MountainFilm include world premieres of the Ken Burns’s series on the national parks, Tom Shadyac’s first-ever documentary, “I Am”, an advanced sneak peak at “The Cove” before it was released commercially in theaters, and “Music by Prudence” with Prudence in person. Also, other prominent films include “Bag It”, by a local Colorado filmmaker, and the Oscar nominated “Gasland” have gone on after Mountainfilm to obtain wide exposure and critical acclaim.
For this year’s festival, offers include some fascinating subject matters. They will be premiering another Ken Burns documentary, “The Dust Bowl”, a film which focuses on the cause and effects of the dust bowl. The documentary “Bidder 70” is about environmental activist Tim deChristopher who has crossed lines for civil disobedience. “Chasing Ice”, which premiered at this year’s Sundance, about a photographer documenting climate change in the Artic.
Films playing at MountainFilm Festival I’ve already seen and recommend are “Ethel” the delightfully lighthearted documentary directed by Rory Kennedy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Rory is the youngest daughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy and made a very touching and sincerely funny documentary about her mother. Contrast that with the subject matter in the grim, yet poetic “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”, which is about how the cherry blossom season in Japan provided symbolic healing to the devastating Japanese tsunami. Both films capture the essence of the power of documentary filmmaking to emotionally engage the viewer while transporting us to another time or culture.
Kenworthy highlights the diversity of the attendees who descend to Colorado’s most gorgeous and breathtaking town for Memorial Weekend.
“The most impressive and inspiring assemblies of thinkers and doers, artists and adventurers, in the world can be found in Telluride during the Mountainfilm festival,” “–Kenworthy
The entire schedule, film and guest lists are there website: http://www.mountainfilm.org/