Report From Mountain Film 2011, Telluride

Post by blogger | June 9, 2011      

Brian Hessling

This past Memorial Day weekend Telluride, Colorado hosted its 32nd Mountain Film festival. This huge event always kicks off the busy Telluride festival season and the town was jumping with filmgoers and the first summer visitors. My trip up country was quick and mixed with some old pal socializing but I managed to see a few films.

New for this year was the addition of Town Park as a free late night venue for a number of films. The “adrenaline” short program on Saturday night served up action sport footage as the title would suggest. Most notable (and not a “short”) was the mountain bike film “Life Cycles”. While utilizing somewhat conventional story lines (change of seasons, grandfather’s wisdom) the cinematography was flat out amazing. Coming out of Canada and mixing B.C. forest locations with some crazy shots from the Saskatchewan prairie, this film is a good one for any dirt rider.

Sunday afternoon found me in the Masons’ hall downtown for another short program grouped under the heading of “adventure”. The film that got me in there was “In the Shadow of the Mountain.” This film (trailer embedded above), by New Zealand climber Hugh Barnard and director Max Segal, has been noticed by a number of other festivals.

Mammoth Mountain film festival awarded Shadow with “best director” just a few weeks back. The premise is the open soul searching by Barnard after he lost a friend in a climbing accident some years ago. The questions he raises are nothing revelatory in that many of us routinely ask them ourselves: Who deliberately puts themselves in harm’s way for something like a summit (or a ski line)? Shadow delves into this question by interviewing a psychologist (who happens to also be a climber).

The psychologist details some of the personality traits that make up a risk taker and also reveals that a number of the climbers in his study group died over the course of his research. I wouldn’t say that this film really helps answer the questions it raises. If anything, it leaves those answers up to us. Perhaps that is how it has to be. The footage of the New Zealand alpine is beautiful and the filmmakers deserve credit for taking on the biggest issue in high-risk sport.

Mountain film is a giant production with a ton of films for all types of people. Environmental topics, social issues, and the action (I refuse to call it “extreme”) sport scene all share the multiple venues. The organizers have it down after 32 years and I’d encourage anyone whose idea of film goes beyond the standard multi-plex fare to attend. Telluride is still a bit of a trek for most folks but it’s always interesting, indoors and out.

(WildSnow guest blogger Brian Hessling lives in Durango, CO with wife and two sons. A life in Colorado has resulted in repeated episodes of OCD.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


2 Responses to “Report From Mountain Film 2011, Telluride”

  1. Lou June 10th, 2011 5:38 am

    Curious, anyone been to both 5 Point and Mountain Film? Impressions?

  2. brian h June 10th, 2011 10:17 am

    While I can’t attest to any detailed differences, I’d say they, of course, have a shared spirit. Along with Banff and many other more local fests. The role these fests play is one of the “herald”. They provide venues in which ideas (social,political,athletic,environmental) and art merge to give us a lift or a slap in the face or a kick in the butt. People can be exposed to films that otherwise get lost in the media whirlwind that blows past us everyday. In this most visual oriented age, it’s a significant message medium. Of course, many of the participants compose the “choir” and have already embraced the various messages. Next time, I’m going to try to bring some teenagers along. While getting my 16 year old to read a book is a tooth pull, he’s usually willing to watch a screen.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version