20 Years at Telluride Mountainfilm

Every Memorial Day Weekend we pack a bag that’s ready for anything: sunshine, snow, ice cream socials, happy hours, rock climbing, snowshoeing, early-bird coffee, late-night pizza and films. Lots and lots of films. We’re off to Telluride Mountainfilm Festival for a long weekend of good company, great films, tasty beer and one really sweet gondola.

In 1979 a group of ski-bums-turned-cinephiles gathered to screen their favorite mountaineering docs. But the program quickly evolved to encompass stories about the people who move mountains, not just climb them. Inspired by dogged determination and incendiary storytelling, Mountainfilm is a celebration of the indomitable spirit and the global issues that matter. So don’t let the name fool you, Mountainfilm isn’t really about mountains at all – it’s about people who are working to positively change the world. And that’s what drew us to Mountainfilm 20 years ago. We go outside to be inspired, so we have an interest in keeping the wilderness wild, supporting conservation and encouraging the people who are putting in good work across the globe.

This year marks our 20th year sponsoring Mountainfilm and we think the festival is just getting better with age. In addition to showcasing documentaries and filmmakers from around the world, the four-day festival now includes symposia and panels (this year’s theme was Afghanistan), gallery exhibits of art and photography, book signings, coffee talks, student programs, live music, outdoor programs and street parties. Oh, and a spectacular gondola ride to ferry you between High Camp Theater and town.

With a program like that, Mountainfilm is much more than a film festival – it’s a meeting of the minds. Pioneers from all fields – athletes, environmentalists, scientists, artists – come together to talk global solutions and share a box of popcorn. This year’s special guests included a group of Afghan photographers who risk their lives for the sake of free speech, climbing sensation Tommy Caldwell, cartoon editor of The New Yorker Bob Mankoff, Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, big mountain snowboarding star Jeremy Jones and Rwandan genocide victim and activist Frederick Ndabaramiye.

And the buck doesn’t stop there. Mounatinfilm on Tour takes the best of the year’s films on a year-long trip around the world. Partnering with local organizations in over 100 locations, Mountainfilm on Tour reaches nearly 60,000 people every year. That’s 60,000 impressions and 60,000 new adventures worth pursuing. So thanks Mountainfilm, for keeping us informed and inspired. Here’s to the next 20 years!

For information on Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, visit www.mountainfilm.org/festival

For information and tour dates for this year’s Mountainfilm on Tour, visit www.mountainfilm.org/tour