Mountainfilm Announces 2010 Special Guests

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2009 Mountainfilm
Clint Viebrock photo

The 32nd annual Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival is scheduled this year May 28 – 31. The event will feature a rich mix of special guest presenters drawn from a wide spectrum of experience and expertise: adventurers, artists, activists and an ambassador.

“Mountainfilm is about so many things:  climbing, mountaineering, world cultures, the environment, art, extreme sports,  social justice and foreign policy,” said Festival director David Holbrooke. “One of the things that makes Mountainfilm so unique and exciting is that we attract interesting people from all of those worlds. And the chemistry between them, and with our audiences, is just amazing. Despite the range of their fields and backgrounds, they all seem to complement and inspire one another. Our films are great. But our guests are what really set us apart.”

The list of this year’s special guests includes:

Tim DeChristopher: During the last days of the Bush administration, DeChristopher put his liberty on the line by bidding nearly two million dollars he did not have for drilling rights to pristine public lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. His act of civil disobedience resulted in the BLM auction being declared null and void and the Obama administration has since removed the land from any future sale. DeChristopher now faces federal charges and a possibly lengthy incarceration.

Mike Fay: A National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist, Fay is best known for a 455-day, 2,000-mile trek across Africa known as the MegaTransect. Later he flew 70,000 miles at low altitude taking photographs every twenty seconds to record the impact of human activity on the African wilderness. Most recently, Mike Fay spent a year hiking through 700 miles of California’s Redwood forests, collecting data and documenting the state of the one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

Mel Goldstein, Ph.D.: Dr. Goldstein is a social anthropologist specializing in Tibetan society, history and contemporary politics. His current projects include an oral history of Tibet; the impact of China’s reform policies on rural Tibetan nomads and farmers; and, the changing patterns of intergenerational relations in rural Tibet. Dr. Goldstein was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Richard Holbrooke: Currently serving as President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke has vast hands-on experience in a multitude of realms and administrations. His political resume includes previous service to Presidents Johnson, Carter and Clinton and his efforts as chief architect and negotiator of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord helped end the war in Bosnia.

Chris Jordan: A former corporate lawyer, Jordan is dedicated to raising consciousness, through his photographic art, of the far-reaching and destructive consequences of our everyday habits. His most recent project, Midway – Message from the Gyre, focuses on the lifecycle of the albatross in the N. Pacific Ocean that confuses the vast pollution of trash in the water with food – with dire consequences.

Greg Mortenson: Since 1993, after a failed attempt to summit K2 in honor of his sister’s memory, Mortenson has dedicated his life to promoting education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson received Pakistan’s highest civil award in 2009. He was also nominated by several bi-partisan U.S. Congressional representatives for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 and 2009.

George Packer: A staff writer for The New Yorker, Packer is author of, among other titles, The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, which analyzes the events that led to the 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent developments and is largely based on interviews with ordinary Iraqis. He has also written about atrocities in Sierra Leone, civil unrest in the Ivory Coast and global counterinsurgency. His latest book is Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade.

Anna Deavere Smith: Actress, author, playwright and educator, Smith is best known for her “documentary theatre” style of plays in which she is the sole performer of multiple and diverse characters. Her work often focuses on issues of social unrest and injustice. A professor in the drama department at Stanford University from 1990 to 2000, Smith currently teaches at both Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and NYU’s School of Law.

Ed Viesturs: The first (and only) American ever to summit all of the Earth’s fourteen highest mountains (above 8,000 meters) without bottled oxygen, Viesturs is arguably one of the leading high altitude mountaineers in the world. Over the course of 29 Himalaya expeditions, Viesturs has achieved 20 summits, including seven summits of Everest. He is co-author of K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain.

Rick Ridgeway is a member of the first American team to summit K2, one of the world’s foremost mountaineers and adventurers and an Emmy-winning filmmaker, photographer. and author. As vice-president of the outdoor clothing, apparel and gear company, Patagonia, he is also active in many environmental issues and sustainability initiatives, including Freedom to Roam, that he started to create and maintain wildlife corridors in the midst of human development.

Maya Lin is a renowned sculptor and landscape artist, best known as creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., a public work she designed at age 21. Her recent work has focused on how we relate and respond to the environment and her most current project, What is Missing (to be featured at Mountainfilm), specifically addresses the alarming pace of extinction.

The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) is a project-driven non-profit that seeks to translate conservation science into compelling visual messages. Through awe-inspiring photography, iLCP hopes to inspire a new culture of stewardship and passion for our natural world. This year, Cristina Mittermeier, executive director, Joel Sartore, founding member, and Paul Nicklen will represent iLCP at Mountainfilm’s Moving Mountains Symposium on species extinction.

About Mountainfilm: For 30 years, Mountainfilm has been committed to bringing ever-increasing levels of artistic excellence to its mission of educating and inspiring audiences about critical issues. The festival began as a venue to showcase climbing movies. It has grown to be a major proponent of adventure, awareness and activism. Celebrating indomitable spirit, Mountainfilm has the power to change lives. To learn more, visit our website. To join the conversation, please visit our blog, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

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