You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Minds of Mountainfilm 2010’ category.

Josh Bernstein sits down with Tom Lovejoy to interview him for the 2010 Minds of Mountainfilm series.

It’s Sunday afternoon and by now you have watched some incredible films, listened to inspiring people talk and taken in powerful images. Just walking down the Main Street, it’s impossible to not feel the buzz of energy, the slight unrest and the overwhelming inspiration.

So, now with all of that inspiration, what will you do to create positive change? How will you turn that inspiration into action?

© Joe Riis, iLCP

Last night, the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) kicked off 12SHOTS at Mountainfilm. iLCP is also in the running for Mountainfilm’s Moving Mountains Award. So, what is 12SHOTS all about?

Stories are powerful because they become experiences shared. Images, though motionless, move; though silent, they speak, and we are all gifted with a larger vision of the world. Storytelling is an art and an ever more important part of conservation photography. Being able to introduce an issue, set the scene, bring ideas to light and inspire people to effect change in 12 shots is not an easy feat.

With Mountainfilm’s theme being “Extinction” last night’s visual stories were poignant, striking and motivating. So, what do you take from it? We hope everyone takes their inspiration from the festival and turns it into action.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from yesterday:

We want our kids to understand their capacity as philanthropists. — Christiane Leitinger of Pennies for Peace at Saturday’s breakfast talk.

If people see these images, they’re going to want to do the right thing. — iLCP in Flathead Wild

Do you have a favorite quote, or film, or maybe a favorite conversation that you’ll take with you from Mountainfilm? And what will you do with that inspiration? How will you turn it into action?

We want to know! Tell us over on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page!

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

lynsey dyerLynsey Dyer is not just one the best female skiers in the industry, she’s also an artist, a model, and the co-founder of a non-profit organization. Residing in Jackson Hole, WY, Dyer’s film career includes a long list of well-known film companies including Teton Gravity Research and Warren Miller. Her powder skills have also put her on the pages of Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Outside, Powder, Freeskier and beyond.

But skiing isn’t her only passion. With a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Photography, she has kept art and design an important part of her life and has been able to integrate it into the sport she loves. She has designed everything from t-shirts and skis, to posters and websites.

Dyer’s passion for skiing also translates into action. When she realized she wanted to do more as a visible role model in the ski industry, she and her two friends Vanessa Pierce and Claire Smallwood, founded SheJumps, an organization to help inspire women to reach their greatest potential through the outdoor activities they love. Whether she is skiing, shooting photos or motivating others to get outdoors, Dyer is an example of how to live a balanced life that gives back.

At a very young age you’ve packed a lot of achievements into your resume – world class skier, artist, designer, model, TV presenter and founder of a non-profit dedicated to increasing women’s participation in outdoor activities. How do you manage so many diverse activities?

Luckily I have an amazing people to work with at SheJumps and everything else seems to fall into place.  We are still 100% volunteer based and my partners also hold down several careers while making SJ a priority.

From earning a pilot’s license while teaching skiing, to participating on the World Extreme Skiing tour while covering rent as a chef at a helicopter skiing operation, Claire Smallwood and Vanessa Pierce, my co-founders are some of my heroes.

Which part(s) of all that you do you find most exciting/inspiring and most satisfying?

I really appreciate the variety in which I get to express my connection with the outdoors. As an athlete it’s a physical expression in relation to the mountains and as an artist I try to reconnect with that feeling to express the same emotion. I love coming home ridiculously exhausted from a 15 hour day in the mountains and getting to retell the experience through art while my body recovers. Through the TV hosting I get to inquire about what lights people up, and through the non-profit I get to help others find it in ways they may have never had the opportunity to before.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

mortensonNot so long ago, Greg Mortenson was a Bay Area mountaineer living out of his car. Today, he’s an internationally known humanitarian who has committed his life to promoting education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. His story of building schools, captured in the huge bestseller Three Cups of Tea, showed how single-minded effort and determination by anyone, could have a positive global impact.

Empowering and educating children is at the core of Mortenson’s work, and as of last year, Mortenson had established, or significantly supported, 131 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 58,000 children, including 44,000 girls.

Mortenson’s most recent book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan is also a bestseller.
It’s fair to say that you stumbled, almost literally, on to the path of activism and philanthropy. What do you think your personal experience says about the power of ordinary people to make extraordinary differences?

From early childhood, having grown up for 15 years on slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, where my father started a teaching hospital and my mother started school, I learned that service was a priority in our family. In many ways my whole childhood prepared me for this work I do. My two childhood heroes were Dr. Sir Edmund Hillary and Dr. Albert Schweitzer (who was a medical missionary in Congo and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952). Dr. Schweitzer’s most prominent writing is a tome called Reverence for Life. In it he says that those who are happiest are those who have been taught and learned to serve others. I did however stumble onto a lifelong commitment to establishing schools and providing education in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When I went to K2 in ‘93 I considered myself a climbing bum and the least of my aspirations was to help people there. I was focused on one single goal to climb Kilimanjaro and to honor my sister who had died in 1992 from epilepsy.

How has the path you’ve taken changed you as a person?

Two things that I have learned from devoting 17 years of work in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan: the first is to listen to my heart and intuition more rather than solving problems in a western linear/logical way. Mountaineering had an effect on developing an intuitive sense. Second, I have found it’s OK to takes risks and fail and make mistakes. In the Balti language, which you find in northeastern Pakistan in the Karakorum Range (it is a form of classical Tibetan, as the Balti’s first migrated from Tibet to Ladakh and Baltistan 600-800 years ago during Tibetan Diaspora) there is no such word as failure. In English we have 50 ways to describe failure. In Balti failure means you have reached a fork in the path, it is a decision making moment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

Josh_bernsteinHaving traveled more than 500,000 miles by train, plane, bus, bike and camel to over 50 countries, Josh Bernstein is certainly a modern day explorer in the purest sense of the word. He has taken a passion for travel, wilderness and photography and turned it into a full-time living, working as a television host on shows for both the History Channel and the Discovery Network and serving as the president and CEO of the Boulder Outdoor Survival School.

A fellow of The Explorers Club and The Royal Geographic Society, Bernstein has covered land from the Amazon to Ethiopia, and investigated cultures with an anthropologist’s and humanitarian’s eye. His work around the world has emphasized the need to protect endangered spaces and cultures, and Bernstein works closely with the Global Heritage Fund, educating local communities to appreciate their cultural heritage and do all that they can to preserve it.

What first inspired you to be an explorer and to pursue a career in exploration and discovery?

My heroes have always been explorers. Men like Sir Ernest Shackleton, Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Roy Chapman Andrews — men who understood what it was like to travel beyond the fringes of the known world and attempt to discover something new. Much of my career has been in wilderness education (at BOSS, my survival school), where I’ve guided others to explore unknown terrains, physical and psychological. My decision to do exploration-oriented shows for History and Discovery was just an extension of that, giving me a much bigger classroom and a much larger class of students. And, honestly, how could I say no?

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

mittermeierArmed with a background in marine biology, Cristina Mittermeier turned her focus to images — realizing they were a better tool to tell the story of humans and nature. At the heart of her work, Cristina amplifies the idea that people and nature are not isolated from each other, but are inexorably connected. In 2005, Cristina founded the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) — a prestigious team of photographers who believe that awe-inspiring photography is a powerful force for the environment.

Focusing on the relationship between nature’s most spectacular and endangered wildlife and Earth’s vanishing traditional human cultures, Cristina and iLCP aim to replace environmental indifference with a new culture of stewardship and passion for our beautiful planet.

You changed your career path quite radically from a marine biologist/biochemical engineer to a conservation photographer. How did that happen – was there a defining moment at some point that pushed you to redefine yourself or was it a more gradual transformation?

I had always been interested in the communications aspects of conservation, but after having published several articles in the scientific literature, I realized people don’t have access to that kind of information and I wanted to find a more expressive way of engaging larger audiences. I stumbled unto photography by accident, when some of my images, snapshots really, were published by a museum. When I saw the impact that those images had on the people who viewed them, I realized that I had found a better storytelling tool for conservation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

vaillantWhile on assignment for Outside Magazine in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, Vancouver-based journalist John Vaillant stumbled upon a heartbreaking story of an environmental anomaly, a 300-year old golden sitka spruce, that had been chopped down. Revered by the local indigenous tribe, the Haida Nation, who even referred to it as “Elder Spruce,” the golden sitka was an iconic feature of the region’s forests. In a region where local culture has for centuries been closely tied to the environment, Vaillant’s story highlighted the tensions of a radically changing landscape and shifting values. The story appeared in The New Yorker and was later expanded upon in Vaillant’s first book, The Golden Spruce. His next book, The Tiger, takes a riveting look into what happens as wild animals are increasingly threatened by human interaction.

golden spruceIn both “The Golden Spruce” and “The Tiger,” you address fundamental issues about the natural order, Man’s attempts to conquer and exploit it and the havoc that ensues. Do you foresee the possibility of mankind ever peacefully co-existing with the natural environment? What has to happen to make that a reality?

I think human beings have a hard time with the status quo. Balance and stability are not our strong suits, but nor are they Nature’s. That said, “Peaceful” – that is, sustainable, co-existence – is occurring right now, but only in places where the human population, and Nature’s ability to renew itself in the face of that population’s demands, are in balance.  Such equilibrium tends only to occur at the village level, in rural areas, which is not to say it’s not possible in urban areas – I believe it is. But in order for it to happen, three things are required: a manageable population; humility, and a loving knowledge of the land. In general, all three of these criteria appear to be in short supply because, as the environmental historian, John Perlin, said so well: “Civilization has never recognized limits to its needs.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

chris-jordanA former corporate lawyer, Chris Jordan is dedicated to raising consciousness, through his art, of the far-reaching and destructive consequences of our everyday habits. His Running the Numbers – a series of carefully rendered photographic images – takes hard statistics and turns them into art that both dazzles and provokes.

His project, Intolerable Beauty, is a looking glass into the prevailing culture of consumption. Most recently, his work, Midway – Message from the Gyre, focuses on the life-cycle of the albatross in the North Pacific Ocean that confuses the vast pollution of trash in the water with food.

As a result, the adult birds feed their nesting babies bellies-full of fatal plastic. Jordan’s images of the exposed stomach content of the dead birds are starkly grotesque and, in the darkest possible way, beautifully compelling.

The tiny atoll of Midway, Jordan says, is an apt metaphor for humanity’s present midpoint between old paradigms in collapse and a new order that’s necessary to rescue us from ecological disaster.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

peter_profilePeter Whittaker has one of the most impressive resumes in the world of mountaineering. With over 25 years of professional guiding experience, he has ascended Mount Rainier literally hundreds of times, and led expeditions on every continent of the globe. He co-founded Rainier Mountaineering Inc., the largest mountaineering service in the world. Some say that he was rightfully born into the First Family of American mountaineering – Peter’s father Lou and uncle Jim Whittaker are legendary mountaineers.

On top of his exceptional adventure repertoire, he has also managed to host his own television show, and organize an expedition for breast cancer survivors to summit Aconcagua that raised $2.3 million dollars for breast cancer research.

His extensive outdoor experience also means that he has had first hand experience with an ever changing environment, and knows the value of protecting wilderness. We got a chance to catch up with Whittaker in between summits, and this is what he had to say when we asked him about the ties between adventure and sustaining the natural environment.

Mount Rainier. Then and Now.

I grew up with Mt. Rainier National Park as my backyard.

My first memories are of riding up the seasonal Poma lift at Paradise and skiing down. Or of hiking out to the Ice Caves at the Paradise Glacier; and swimming in Reflection Lake nestled at the base of the Tatoosh Range. I was eight years old when I first hiked up the snowfields to Camp Muir (10,080′). It was four years later, at the age of 12, when I stood on the summit for the first time. Since then I’ve climbed Rainier several hundred times and experienced firsthand the changes that have occurred on this great mountain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer flags blowing in the wind

Each Memorial Day weekend, artists and activists, filmmakers and photographers come to Telluride for Mountainfilm. At our core, we are about exploring, preserving and sustaining environments, cultures and conversations, so this unique gathering is part film festival and part ideas festival with leading edge thinkers – and doers – getting together to change the world. Leading up to this year’s festival we wanted to focus on conversations worth sustaining and we’ve asked some of Mountainfilm’s special guests to help us out. Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be posting our conversations with them. We hope that they engage and inspire you.

If you want to participate in this discussion, just submit your questions via our Facebook page or our Twitter account.

***

alex_beardAlex Beard believes that art is a medium that should be accessible to everyone. It certainly was for him, growing up in a family where his uncle was the famed wildlife photographer and legendary character Peter Beard. While that heritage has certainly influenced Beard’s paintings, he has also found a very distinct voice of his own, interpreting the natural world in a unique and abstract way.

Many of his pieces feature intricate and colorful representations of animals, and this year, his elaborate piece “Endangered Species List” was used to create the official Mountainfilm poster, which will be revealed in May.

We caught up with Beard to learn more about his views on the connection between art and creating awareness for the pressing issues we face today. Straight and to the point, Beard believes that every individual does in fact have an impact and that we should all be more conscious of our everyday actions, no matter how big or small.

Philanthropy and social and cultural awareness runs in your family. What cause are you personally most passionate about and what collective action needs to be taken to address it?

I am most passionate about preserving the flora and fauna of our natural surroundings. Collectively, our goal should be simple: Recognize that the world is changing, and that it is our fault. Stop pointing fingers, and start doing the little things. Turn off the the lights when you leave the room. Recycle. Buy an efficient automobile. Plant trees. We all know what to do, the trick is instilling the desire to do so.

In the Race

In the Race by Alex Beard

How do you see media – be it film, photography, art, etc. – serving as a catalyst for positive change?

Media is a tool best used to raise awareness in as dramatic a way as possible. Show the beauty of nature and how we are a part of it, but make it clear that every time we do something to damage our surroundings, we are hurting ourselves. Try to make the global crisis personal to each individual, so that we understand that if we slice into Nature deeply enough, we will bleed out ourselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.