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It’s finally that time of year. The time when you get to find out just which excellent films will be hitting the screens at this year’s Mountainfilm. Here’s a quick rundown from Mountainfilm Executive Director Peter Kenworthy. And stay tuned: we’ll be posting film trailers here on the blog as we count down to this year’s festival!

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From more than 600 submissions, Mountainfilm has whittled its 2010 official film selections down to about 75 — a process that Festival Director David Holbrooke says was “a particular challenge this year because there were so many strong films.”

“As always, we have a wide range of films on a dizzying array of subjects. Having to pick and choose what makes the most sense for us, what best connects or contrasts with our themes and sub-themes, is really tough. Saying ‘no’ to strong films and talented filmmakers is just hard, no two ways about it.”

However difficult the decision making, Holbrooke says he is excited by the quality and diversity of this year’s picks.

“I’m especially pleased that our core climbing and adventure content is really well represented this year while we continue to actively push the envelope on edgier and more unexpected programming. Mountainfilm’s playlist really stands alone. Where else would you see a film about Mallory’s obsession with conquering Everest playing side by side with a film about Alexander Shulgin, who first designed the drug Ecstasy?”

Holbrooke highlighted the following film selections as representative of Mountainfilm’s diversity. The festival runs over Memorial Day weekend in Telluride.

180 South: Following the famous footsteps of Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins and Lito Tejada-Flores to Patagonia, director Chris Malloy profiles mountaineer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the same route and tries to recapture some of the same spirit. “180 South” is about the true nature of adventure and how it has — and hasn’t — changed.

Bag It: Made by Telluride filmmaker Suzan Beraza and recent winner of the Audience Award at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, “Bag It” explores both the pervasive and pernicious nature of plastic. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect on our lives, bodies, and natural environments.

Dirty Pictures: Director Etienne Sauret spent years following Dr. Alexander Shulgin, the “Godfather of Psychedelics,” on trips around the world. The result is a fascinating portrait of a man who could have made millions as a corporate chemist but decided to follow his heart to unlock the complexities of the brain.

Gasland: A natural gas drilling boom in the US has resulted in some frightening consequences, including combustible drinking water, pools of toxic waste and lethal well blowouts and gas explosions. Directed by Josh Fox, “Gasland” won the Special Jury Documentary Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Last Train Home
: A debut film from Chinese-Canadian Lixin Fan, “Last Train Home” is an emotionally wrenching, visually compelling story about a Chinese couple who leave their village, and their young children, to earn city wages that might allow them to lift their children into a better life.

Music By Prudence: Prudence Mabhena is a severely disabled young woman from Zimbabwe who overcomes all odds — poverty, neglect, isolation, depression — to become a star. This Oscar-winning documentary is directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams.

The Wildest Dream
: George Mallory died in 1924 during his third attempt to summit Everest. It remains a mystery whether he reached the peak, or not. Conrad Anker discovered Mallory’s remains 75 years later and, in “The Wildest Dream,” he recreates Mallory’s final climb and tries to unravel the mystery of his disappearance. With Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman.

Are you a filmmaker that’s been accepted to Mountainfilm? Tell the world! We’d love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook!

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