For 25 years, Mountainfilm has been a fun, quirky event held on Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colo. To commemorate the Silver Jubilee, this year's event was bigger than ever with twice the number of films, several symposiums, additional art exhibits and a brand new venue to handle the crowds.
The past, present and future situations in Nepal and Tibet were a major focus of the festival this year, with many panels and presentations from 10 distinguished guests. Another main theme was paying tribute to previous guests who are no longer with us including: Galen and Barbara Rowell, GË†ran Kropp and Bob Fulton.
As usual, there was an eclectic mix of films to tempt people inside on beautiful days and keep them up till the wee hours. It's never possible to see them all and this year it was even harder due to the 15-minute tram ride required to reach the large new theater.
For the climbers in attendance, the highlight of the festival was the K2 retrospective with four members from the '53 attempt (Dr. Charlie Houston, Bob Craig, Pete "The Belay" Schoening and Dee Molenaar) and Rick Ridgeway giving a show about the first successful American ascent 25 years ago (the sixth American attempt). Unfortunately, all of this history came at the cost of not showing "Ghosts of K2" which actually won the award for Best Mountaineering Film.
SNEWS View: Somehow not showing a film selected by a panel of five judges is typical for Mountainfilm. Despite in-fighting and micro-management by the board of directors, and under-funding by sponsors, the event continues to be a worthwhile celebration of the mountain environment. The chance to mingle with people like George Schaller and Franz Lanting, to meet famous climbers and to play in Telluride make Mountainfilm an event that just about anyone in the outdoor industry can be happy with.
If you couldn't attend in person, consider sponsoring a local showing of the Mountainfilm on Tour. With approximately 120 stops nationwide, this is the kind of event that gets folks in your area jazzed. Go to www.mountainfilm.org for more details.
Caution: Those who view "Diary of a Flagger" will never again be able to drive past a highway flag person with a straight face.