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The Magic of Mountainfilm

A few days after last November’s world premiere of GrowthBusters, the program director of Mountainfilm in Telluride asked to see the film. Mountainfilm was planning a daylong symposium on population in conjunction with its annual film festival on Memorial Day weekend, and Paul Ehrlich was urging Emily to screen GrowthBusters at the festival. It seemed like a perfect fit.

In April I was heartbroken to learn GrowthBusters was not on the agenda. Just one film expressly about population was scheduled – a brand new film called Critical Mass. While I was bummed about GrowthBusters being passed over, I was still glad to see the subject addressed at the festival. I felt it was important to support this, and of course was very interested in seeing Critical Mass and attending the Moving Mountains Symposium about population. So I swallowed my pride and made plans to attend.

Dave Gardner at Mountainfilm in Teluride Today I’m sitting in Telluride, the festival now behind me, and I want to share my amazing weekend with you. I’ll write another post very soon reviewing Critical Mass. Today I want to share a bit about the about the festival itself, and in my next post I’ll write about the symposium. As for the festival, I cannot offer enough praise. It takes place in a very small town, Telluride, Colorado. For a town of 2,400 Telluride has a ton of culture to take in. A ski resort and outdoor sports playground tucked far away from any population centers or major airports, you have to really want to be here to get here. And there are ample reasons to want to be here.

That’s probably part of the magic. The town of Telluride is a real community, populated by people who care for one another and appreciate what nature has given us. Mountainfilm has a similar spirit. Filmmakers and fans get hooked and come back year after year because this festival nurtures what they call “indomitable human spirit.” The films tend to be about important cultural and environmental issues, human spirit, and/or extreme sports. It’s a great mix with many common themes.

This was my first visit to the festival, but already I’m making plans to be back, and I’m certain I’ll have a good film in the festival in 2014. One unexpected delight was to discover that writer/director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams, Liar Liar) has a special affinity for Mountainfilm. He premiered his amazing film, I Am, at the festival two years ago. If you’ve not seen it, do not pass Go, watch this film!

This year Tom showed up to share with festival-goers his new book, Life’s Operating Manual. The book is scheduled to be published in 6 months, so don’t search for it now. But because of Tom’s love for the town, Mountainfilm and the people, he gave each of us a pre-publication copy of the book. So look for my review sometime down the road.

I have so much to share about my experience here at Mountainfilm, it may take several weeks to spill it all in the blog. Be patient. A few great/important films I saw which you’ll want to check out:

Bidder 70 about Tim DeChristopher, the activist who monkey-wrenched a BLM oil and gas lease auction to protest and is now in prison (world premiere at Mountainfilm).

Last Call at the Oasis, an extensive look into the challenges we face around fresh water as the scale of the human enterprise continues to expand.

Chasing Ice offers stunning imagery and time-lapse of receding glaciers. If you must see it to believe it, by compressing time you can see climate change is happening.

Critical Mass, the newest film about population growth.

See a list of all the films here.

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is the director of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which uncovers the cultural forces that keep us pursuing growth in the face of overwhelming evidence we’ve outgrown the planet.

If you find this information at all compelling, if you’re concerned about the prospects for a civilization hell-bent to grow forever on a finite planet, please take the Think Small Pledge and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do so. Thank you.

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