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Our annual holiday fundraiser screening of The Wildest Dream was a smashing success, with only a few small hiccups. One of those being the eternal bane of holiday travel. Conrad Anker’s connecting flight left without him, so he had an epic travel day. He ended up renting a car in Salt Lake City and driving down to Telluride–thankfully the weather was sunny and not blizzard conditions–just in time to catch the after-party at the Sheridan lounge.

We were able to schedule a morning talk with Conrad the morning after, which in many ways was even better than a post-screening theater Q&A. The Camel’s Garden Hotel was generous enough to allow us to use their lobby area. More than a couple hotel guests in full ski gear stopped and caught some of the discussion, which ranged from whether or not Conrad believes Mallory made the summit of Everest (probably not) to what makes a great mountaineer (a large quota of luck, among other things).

Conrad is so smart and thoughtful with a wide range of knowledge. When asked if he was sorry to miss the great Age of Exploration, he said that he thought the future edge of exploration would be in science. Almost nano-exploration in the effort to combat climate change and species loss.

If you made it to the screening, thanks for coming out.

The Hoffmans, Erik Fallenius, Chris Hanson and others dropped in for Conrad's talk

The Hoffmans, Erik Fallenius, Chris Hanson and others dropped in for Conrad's talk

Conrad and David hold court in front of a roaring fire

Conrad and David hold court in front of a roaring fire

Standing room only

Standing room only

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This is exciting news: “The federal government has acknowledged it never prosecuted anyone who failed to pay a bid for drilling rights in Utah until a college student offered his bogus bids in an act of environmental defiance.” Keep reading…

Prolific director Matt Morris has been shooting this week down on Vern Switzer’s farm, to update and add to the short film he  premiered here at Mountainfilm in May. He shared some of the photographs from the shoot with me this morning.

The work-in-progress was called History Making Farming Author on the Move, after Vern’s self-proclaimed moniker.

Matt and a camerman Kenneth Price went down to Vern’s farm in order to document the watermelon harvest, but tragically, the prolonged drought in North Carolina killed most of the crop. However, check out the enormous collard greens below. The author of Puffy the Watermelon may not have had as much luck with his beloved fruit this year, but that should make next year’s harvest that much sweeter.

The new updated version of the film will start playing on Mountainfilm on Tour as soon as Matt finishes it!

I just ran across a nifty site where you can calculate your car’s fuel mileage, or comparison shop for cars with the best miles per gallon. Test your own vehicle here.

I read this article by Derrick Jensen yesterday, and it’s been haunting me ever since. Check it out.

Thing is, I’ve been trying for years to limit my consumption habits, and feel pretty good about my “carbon footprint” being relatively small.

But I’ve got this gnawing feeling that all my earth-friendly efforts–reusable bags, shopping local, using public transportation–are fruitless and meaningless. And Derrick seems to be confirming my fears.

Scary.

Question: Do you believe that small, individual actions–like changing a lightbulb–can inspire major change?

Have you ever seen a full list of all the endangered species in the world? I hadn’t until just now. Here is a combined endangered list of both plant and animal species. The animal list alone nearly froze my computer when I tried to print a preview and find out how many pages long it is. It’s a full 88 pages: 5496 species. Add plants and there are 9850 endangered species.

Here’s another site that helps to bring it closer to home for folks who can’t completely wrap their head around statistics (like me). Arkive.org has a huge collection of photographs and multimedia materials of life on earth. This guy is a real cutie: an Asian short-clawed otter.

The Mountainfilm team (Peter, David, Justin and myself-Emily-plus extra special helpers Colin and Bebe) have descended on Aspen for what looks like it’s going to be an awesome weekend of films, presentations, conversation and parties. The special guests have already started arriving en masse at the Limelight Lodge (I’ve already seen Martin Strel-the Big River Man, Robert Knight from Rock Prophecies, Stefan Hunt of Surfing 50 States, and Joe Chisholm from The Cove), conveniently located right around the corner from our awesome venue, the Wheeler Opera House. Eddie Bauer is also here in force, and the lovely Wheeler staff is holding down the fort.

In just about two hours, we’ll start our first ever mini-festival–what we hope will be the first of many. This show is a great distillation of our regular four day festival.

Tonight we’re showing The Cove at 5:45 and Rock Prophecies at 8:30pm. Tomorrow morning we’re expecting a good turnout for the Moving Mountains Symposium on Food.

Tickets are available individually or as passes from the Wheeler Box Office. Call the Wheeler for more info: 970-920-5770.

April 2, 2009

We’ve just recently confirmed Paul Watson will attend the festival this year with a new film about the Sea Shepherd. AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD premiered at Toronto last fall.

In the news just yesterday, April 1st, was this article about Sea Shepherd planting decoy baby seals in Canada.

March 30, 2009

There was quite a stir in my email inbox today…not one but three emails linking to this article about “traceability”–essentially a direct connection between farmer and consumer.

With the rise of global food systems, that direct link has long been severed for most American consumers.

Traceability may soon be utilized in some Wal-Mart stores, where customers will be able to get online and look up exactly where certain products originated. My question is: does knowing exactly where your food comes from make a difference if it still travels 1000 miles or more to get to your door?

February 10, 2009

The MF Screening Committee is in the thick of it…

David and I often get asked if we watch all the film entries.

We try to watch as many as we possibly can—which will add up to multiple hundreds apiece before the submission season ends—but fortunately we have a very dedicated group of volunteers on our Screening Committee to help tackle the daunting task of watching and reviewing films for the festival.

I am the kind of geek who loves to look at spreadsheets and statistics, so managing the Screening Committee is one of my favorite jobs. One of the statistics that continues to blow me away is the huge increase in film entries the last few years. My first year as Program Manager (2006), we had about 350 film entries. Just three short years later, we are well on the way to doubling that number. Significant in any case, but especially for a small (but persistent!) niche festival in the middle of nowhere in Colorado.

What would happen if David and I tried to watch all the films? Well, we wouldn’t have a life, for one.

As of today, we have 340 entries. That’s 14,535 minutes of movies, or more than 245 hours. More than 10 non-stop days of adventurers climbing intimidating mountains, indigenous tribes in remote tropical locales, environmentalists revealing corporate deception and empassioned people of all flavors doing extreme and amazing things. We expect that number to double by early next month.

With help from the screening committee, we watch them all. Twice.

Posted by Emily Long

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