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While we were thrilled at the turnout of Mountainfilm in New York–two of the shows sold out (I Am and Bag It)–we were almost even more thrilled to hear about some of the direct action that happened as a result of our event. MF in NYC wasn’t just about entertainment and inspiration, and the following stories are just a few of the ones we heard percolating around us during the weekend.

Leisure time during Mountainfilm in New York


After the Extinction Panel, Greg Carr, who is helping to restore a wildlife refuge in Mozambique called Gorangosa, asked Laurie Marker, Founder and Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, if it would be possible to bring cheetahs back to Mozambique. They are now working together to make it happen.

Tim DeChristopher, whose act of civil disobedience as “Bidder 70” has him facing 10 years jail time for taking a stand against a fraudulent oil and gas auction, received several thousands in donations for the organization Peaceful Upraising and climate change protesters who face arrest and jail time.

Mountainfilm and Bag It crews with Tim DeChristopher

The daughter of Gordon Dancy, inventor of the single-use plastic bag, was in the audience for the screening of Bag It. Kristen Brown stood up in the Q&A of the film to say that she has dedicated her life to getting rid of the ubiquitous, and polluting, bags that were once thought to be the height of convenience. She set up her My Eco Bag System in the lobby, where the nearby table of Bag It DVDs completely sold out.

On a more personal note, we loved seeing all the Telluride faces in the audience, both present and past locals. There are many connections between our two communities, and we’re looking forward to keeping the momentum going with an even bigger show in 2011. Big thanks goes out to Ronnie Planalp, who made the connection between Mountainfilm and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Film Society staff, especially Marian Masone and Isa Cucinotta.

Keep an eye out for future developments–like a tour show and educational cruise in Patagonia–that were born in NYC.


Our first Mountainfilm in New York wrapped on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who came out to support the first annual! Here are just a few photos from the event…see more on our Facebook page.

If you haven’t read The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant, rush out the door today and get a copy. It’s amazing. And while you’re at it, you might as well grab his new book, The Tiger, which hits book stores TODAY.

And while you’re at it, you should come and see John Vaillant read sections from the gripping non-fiction account of an enormous bloodthirsty tiger that stalked a man IN PERSON. John will be joining us for Mountainfilm in Aspen on Friday evening. Buy tickets here.

Brad Pitt has already optioned the book. When the film (directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Guillermo Arriaga , the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Babel) hits the screens, you can say you heard about it here first.

Anna Brones is working with Mountainfilm as our new social-media guru and she has the opportunity to be a Huffington Post Ambassador in Copenhagen as a citizen journalist.  We want to help her get there.  Please watch her entry video and vote for Anna to be our representative.  We know you will be as impressed with her as we are.

Vote Here –

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.

ASPEN — On Memorial Day Weekend 2008, Gram Slaton was looking to escape from festival-land. With the debut of the Aspen RoofTop Comedy Festival a week ahead of him, the executive director of the Wheeler Opera House took leave for Telluride, seeking some head-clearing rest and relaxation.

Instead, he found himself dumped into the middle of another festival: Mountainfilm in Telluride, which was entering its 30th year as a local Memorial Day tradition. (Read the Aspen Times Article Here)

I hate mosquitoes. Hate is a strong word, and I am using it. If I could rub a genie bottle and wish for one thing, it would be to kill every mosquito that comes within five feet of me. Now, I don’t use this lightly as I am aware of the parable where a man wished everything he touched turned to gold and soon starved to death. There are consequences to our wishes and everyone who has ever thought through the process of wishes, can attest to this. We already know what happened to the gold guy and think how miserable I would be today if I really had become the best Lego builder in the world. A life doomed to sit in my parent’s basement building my next pirate ship masterpiece or maybe a castle with a moat full of sharks. These are tragic events. There is probably some reason mosquitoes need to be in my personal space, but I haven’t found one yet, and I don’t care if this wish comes with an unforeseen consequence or two. Bring on the basement. At least I know there aren’t any mosquitoes there.

I bring this up because at my lowest of lows yesterday, I was confronted by an attacking army of Mosquitoes. These guys were mean and hungry. Imagine, if you will, sitting on a bike for 13 hours in 90 plus degree temperatures over 120 miles and not having the energy to bike another six miles to an oasis known as Lander. Now imagine a gang of middle aged roadbike warriors passing you at this moment saying, “come on . . . you can do.” That is like your big sister telling you to suck it up after she brought you tears from a sucker punch to the gut. Regardless, I was feeling like little Mr. Cranky Pants. I was hangry and my water resources were exhausted.  I had bonked and all I wanted was my sleeping bag. This is where the mosquitoes came in. They bombarded me with their buzzes. Around the ears, near the ankles; they knew all the vulnerable spots. I was running in place screaming just to keep them away long enough to lower the rancher’s gate where my motorhome sized bike had to pass. I was singing “I am a maniac . . . maniac on the floor . . . and I am dancing like I have never danced before.” Name that tune? Name that movie? You get the idea. I was bolting for higher ground in hopes that the mosquitoes would give up and go back to their low land haciendas. No luck. They followed me into my tent that ironically looks like a coffin. Room for one man and twenty blood sucking death merchants. I spent the better part of an hour subduing their buzzing which is a nice way of putting, I killed them one by one. In a very strategic way I might add. I baited them with a little thigh. White and supple. They were powerless to it. They would eventually land on the whitest part where the contrast of their dark bodies could be seen in the subtle tent lighting. It all ended with a bang. Better to kill them with a loud noise. I hope to go out with a bang or at least a fireworks display. Put me in a bottle rocket and launch me off a mountain. A high one where no mosquitos can ever flap their little wings.


PS Why do bikers shave their legs and, more importantly, where do you stop shaving? Suggestions? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Carbondale, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO – 125 miles with a 50+lb trailer.

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