Mountainfilm In Telluride Announces 2010 Award Winners

World Premiere of Tom Shadyac’s "I Am", Record Attendance Highlight 32nd Annual Festival

Telluride, Colorado (June 8th, 2010)Mountainfilm in Telluride enjoyed record attendance this year with more than 15,000 seatings in theaters, up some 25% from 2009. Despite sunshine and warm temperatures, often deterrents to theater-goers, Mountainfilm venues operated at or near capacity throughout the Memorial Day weekend. “We benefited from several factors,” said Mountainfilm Executive Director Peter Kenworthy. “We received very favorable regional press leading up to the event. The weather lured a lot of people within driving range who might otherwise not have come. And, word-of-mouth momentum has been building steadily the past three years.”

The festival operated six theaters this year to handle the demand but the combination of premieres, such as "I Am", and local hits, like "Bag It", consistently drew maximum audiences. "I Am" is an introspective journey that suggests a new way of living our lives by filmmaker Tom Shadyac, who previously has made broad multiplex comedies like "Ace Ventura", "Liar Liar", and "Bruce Almighty".  "Bag It", directed by Telluride local Suzan Beraza and featuring local Jeb Berrier, is a sharp-eyed, yet often funny look at the plastic world we live in.

The two films tied for the 2010 Audience Award with the Brazilian documentary about trash pickers, "Waste Land", right behind. Other awards included the Charlie Fowler Prize for best adventure film, which went to "Alone on the Wall" by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen, about the free-soloist climber Alex Honnold. The Student Award went to "I Am" and the Festival Director’s Award was given to "Sons of Perdition". The latter is a film about teenage boys who are forced out of the polygamist Mormon offshoot, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, and out of their families because they represent a threat to older men’s claims on young women. Festival Director David Holbrooke said, “This award goes to a great film but also to the really compelling subjects of the film. These kids have been given a short straw time and again yet, despite all
these challenges, they persevere and, to me, that is what Mountainfilm is all about.”

The festival’s grand prize, the Moving Mountains Prize, goes to a non-profit featured in a film and was awarded to Sun Valley Adaptive Sports in connection with the film "Fish Out of Water", directed by Charles Annenberg Weingarten. The short film follows a group of veterans who have been badly injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they come to terms with their injuries through fly-fishing. After accepting the award, one of the vets, Christian Ellis, an aspiring opera singer, sang for the audience and thanked them for supporting him in his struggle back to normalcy.

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