Mountainfilm In Telluride Announces Additional 2011 Festival Guests

Extended List of Activists, Artists and Adventurers Includes Tim DeChristopher, Greg

Tim DeChristopher
Tim DeChristopher

In keeping with the 2011 Moving Mountains Symposium theme of “Awareness into Action,” Mountainfilm in Telluride announced a series of special guests that Festival Director David Holbrooke says, “have all committed their lives to rolling up their sleeves and making a serious difference in the world.” Holbrooke added that he hopes their example will “not only inspire our audiences but also provide a clear road map for how they can get involved as well.”
Not everyone will follow in the footsteps of Tim DeChristopher, who was recently convicted by a federal court of making false bids on energy leases. But his presence at Mountainfilm this May, a month before his scheduled sentencing, will certainly help galvanize festival audiences. Tim will speak not only about the urgency of addressing global climate change but also why non-violent civil disobedience is so essential in these troubled times.

“No one I know has made a more principled and productive stand against something we all know is happening,” says Holbrooke. “His personal commitment to fighting climate change is only rivaled by his fierce intellectual reasoning about why we all have to get involved.” Terry Tempest Williams – another guest at the festival this year – called Tim’s trial “a signal moment” in the climate movement, meaning that we will look back at what he has done as comparable to the achievement of civil rights pioneers like the Freedom Riders (Mountainfilm 2010).

(editor's note: For further information on De Christopher and a film, "Bidder 70" by locals George and Beth Gage, about his ground-breaking action and its far-reaching consequences, go to: /2011/03/help-for-the-gages-to-complete-film-on-bidder-70.html)
In addition to DeChristopher, and previously announced guests, the list of confirmed presenters includes:
Andy Bichlbaum, a leading member of The Yes Men, is a filmmaker and performance artist who focuses on exposing corporate injustices by pretending to be working within the system. He was a co-director of the film, "The Yes Men Fix the World" (Mountainfilm 2009) that brilliantly blurs the lines between what is real and what is right.
Maria Gunnoe, a lifelong resident of coal country in West Virginia, fights against mountaintop removal mining and valley fill operations and has been featured in numerous documentaries on the topic, including "On Coal River." She was a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2009 – one of the most prestigious and longest running awards of its type – and has fought and won many battles both in her local Boone County and farther afield. 
Aaron Huey is a photojournalist – and a frequent guest at Mountainfilm – who freelances regularly for National Geographic, Harper's, The New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times and dozens of other publications. He is also a contributing editor (photographer) for Harper's. For more than five years, Aaron has been visiting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and bearing witness through photography to its shocking poverty. This work was presented in a TEDx talk at University of Denver in September 2010. 

Greg Mortenson returns to the festival this year as a judge. This adventurer-turned-activist is now world-famous because of his work building schools for girls in the Himalayas, chronicled in the remarkable best-seller Three Cups of Tea.  But when he first came to Mountainfilm to see climbing films in 1980 (our second year), he was a self-described dirt bag who slept in his car.
Ken Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch that operates in more than 80 countries. Under his leadership the organization has significantly expanded its portfolio and scope to include special programs devoted to refugees, children’s rights, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights and the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations. Last at Mountainfilm in 2008, Ken will discuss how we can impact human rights issues around the world.
Ben Skinner In 2003, as a writer on assignment in Sudan for Newsweek International, Skinner met his first survivor of slavery. He was so impacted by the experience that he traveled the globe, undercover when necessary, to find other modern-day slaves – those forced to work, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence. Skinner went on to write a book about his experiences and the nightmarish phenomenon of modern slavery, A Crime So Monstrous, that won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction. Skinner donated his $10,000 honorarium to Free The Slaves, the American wing of Anti-Slavery International, the oldest human rights organization in the world. Skinner, a regular guest at
the festival, will talk specifically about how our audience can get involved in the fight to stop modern day slavery.
George Steinmetz graduated from Stanford University with a degree in geophysics but, after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months, he began a career in photography that has been vastly successful. He has completed 18 major photo essays for National Geographic and 25 stories for GEO Magazine in Germany. His photos shot from an ultralight will be exhibited at Mountainfilm and he will also talk about this work.
More guests coming … 
About Mountainfilm: Established in 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride is dedicated to educating, inspiring and activating audiences about critical environmental, cultural and social issues. Working at the nexus of filmmaking, adventure and activism, its flagship program is the legendary Mountainfilm Festival—a one-of-a-kind combination film festival, ideas summit and jamboree. Mountainfilm also reaches audiences year round through its worldwide tour, on Outside Television, with its online Minds of Mountainfilm interviews and in classrooms through its educational outreach initi
ative, Making Movies that Matter. Mountainfilm has the power to change lives. To learn more, visit the website. To join the conversation, please visit the blog, follow us on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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