Stephanie's Update: June 2008
Telluride Mountainfilm Festival
"Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class,
and our nation; and this
means we must develop a world perspective."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mountainfilm celebrated it's 30th anniversary in the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado, and as expected this years festival was jam packed with some of the most extraordinary and influential voices of our time. Top journalist and CNN news correspondent Christiane Amanpour, National Geographic emerging explorer, Alexandra Cousteau, and one of the world's best mountaineers, Conrad Anker name just a few of the people who gave their time, energy and expertise to take this years festival to a whole new level. Mountainfilm attendees patiently cueing up to see Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D, by MacGillivray-Freeman with Wade Davis and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
This four day event is like sitting down to a dining table filled with the most exquisite culinary delights in the world, with each bite leaving you insatiably hungry for more, yet knowing it will be impossible to digest it all in one sitting.
And in truth, there are some bites not so so easy to take in. Such as watching Taxi the Dark Side, the Academy Award winning documentary film about the brutal American torture of Afghan detainees by Alex Gibney. Or the presentation Modern-Day Slavery, with Ben Skinner, Jodi Cobb and Peggy Callahan, shedding light on the 27 million people around the world who are forced to work for no pay and reside under the threat of violence by their employers, both abroad and right here in the United States.
But without these films and the amazing filmmakers, authors and explorers who repeatedly press the envelope on their creativity, courage and global understanding, Mountainfilm would not be what it is... a feast for the human soul and all that goes with living an examined life.National Geographic explorers, Sylvia A. Earle and Alexandra Cousteau join founder of Eden Again, Azzam Alwash and journalist and water issues expert, Wade Graham, for discussion and Q & A during the Moving Mountains Symposium on Water in Mountain Village.
Perhaps one of the lighter and sweeter moments of Mountainfilm, was following the Sir Edmund Hillary Tribute hosted by David Brearshears when the audience was invited to drape a Tibetan Kata (or blessing) scarf over the large framed photo of Sir Edmund Hillary. He was made famous for being the first to reach the top of Everest along with Tenzing Norgay, but even more importantly he was well known for his dedication to improving the Sherpa culture of Nepal through building schools, hospitals and clinics in the Khumbu region and beyond. When all was said and done, close to 100 scarves shouldered his smiling picture. See photo below.
And when you need a break from all of the intellectual stimulation, there is plenty to do and enjoy in Telluride. Take the Gondola up to Mountain Village for some spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains or go for a walk along the river trail that runs the entire length of town clear out to the road that leads up to Mountain Village...three miles worth. The indoors are just as nurturing with great restaurants, galleries and of course the coffee hot spot, The Steaming Bean and Between the Covers, a wonderful bookstore with a tea and pastry shop in the back.
I chose to fill my mornings with a quick stop at the Steaming Bean, before running off to one of the many "Breakfast Talks" scheduled each morning in various locations around town. Saturday was spent with the National Geographic team to learn more about their expeditions council and the future of their magazines and television programs. While Sunday was well delegated to an intimate interview by renowned author Katie Marton, with Christiane Amanpour and her husband Jamie Rubin, who was a top government official during the Clinton administration.
Just standing in line is an event in itself as the people who attend Mountainfilm, whether they are a newcomer or a local of the Southwest who have been coming to Telluride for the past 30 years they all have one thing in common. They are here to make a difference, to expose themselves to our global reality and embrace the commitment to take action and be an example of the change they wish to see in the world.
Getting around in Telluride is easy as everything is within a short walking distance, but if you need a little extra help then renting an electric car is the way to go.
If you have yet to venture into Telluride for the annual Mountainfilm Festival, do yourself a huge favor and make it the place to be for May 2009. You will be amazed you didn't go sooner!
Be proactive and choose to live your best life now.
@Stephanie Graham 2008