Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Post Is Not About Bermuda

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you breaking news in the world of film and television—mountains and film and television, actually. Instead of enjoying Bermuda’s recent spate of sun-kissed weather, I’ll be hosting Outside Television’s coverage of MountainFilm in Telluride, Colorado, alongside pro-skier Lynsey Dyer this Memorial Day weekend.

What? You’ve never heard of MountainFilm? Get ready to be inspired because there’s a reason why the festival’s tagline is “Celebrating Indomitable Spirit.” For a sense of what this amazing collaboration of artists, athletes and activists is all about I strongly encourage you to watch the above video titled “What Is MountainFilm?” (trust me, it’s 4:40 well spent). As artist Chris Jordan eloquently states, "It's a group of awake people doing what they know how to do, to change the world." Now in it's 31st year, MountainFilm is the epitome of globally-conscious filmmaking. So to get you in the spirit, here are three films screening this weekend.

In 1968, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, surfer Doug Tompkins and skier Dick Dorworth drove a beat up van from Ventura, California to the tip of southern Argentina to climb a new route up Mt. Fitzroy—an epic adventure caught on film called Mountain of Storms. Forty years later director Chris Malloy, mountaineer Jeff Johnson and alpinist Timmy O’Neil retrace their journey in 180°South, a high-adrenaline documentary from Woodshed Films (known for surfer flicks like Thicker Than Water) that captures the original film's vast spirit of adventure. Watch the trailer.

Given the love of the great outdoors by festival participants, much of MountainFilm’s documentaries focus on conservation and environmental activism. After all, how can you enjoy nature if it’s being destroyed? Enter films like Flathead Wild, which follows the International League of Conservation Photographers as it documents the Flathead—a pristine river that's home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America—currently threatened by a coal bed methane drilling project in Canada. Says one of the iLCP team, “If people see these images, they’re going to want to do the right thing.” Watch the trailer.

Finally, try not to be moved by a fifteen-minute film called Nico’s Challenge. The short documentary from Steve Audette follows Nicolai Calabria, a thirteen-year-old boy born with one leg as he attempts to summit Mount Kilimanjaro—a.k.a. Africa’s highest peak—to raise money and wheelchairs for Tanzania’s mobility-impaired population. In short, it’s an amazing film and just one of the reasons why I’m so proud to be a part of this uplifting and inspirational festival (to watch the film in its entirety, go here).

So…that’s what I’ll be up to this week. Outside Television officially launches nationwide on June 1, so stay tuned for updates regarding the rollout of the network plus news about Outside Film Festival: MountainFilm, a sixteen-episode show hosted by Lynsey Dyer and yours truly, which will air this fall.

In the meantime, Bermuda Shorts bids you adieu—at least for a little while.

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