Editor’s Note: Telluride Inside… and Out covered the following films in detail. Watch for our upcoming coverage of “Bidder 70,” “Chasing Ice,” “Big in Bollywood,” and “Darwin.”

Mountainfilm in Telluride holds its 34th annual festival over Memorial Day Weekend, May 25- May 28, with a program of roughly 70 films and, as always, an eclectic roster of scientists, artists, writers, adventurers, and filmmakers. True to the festival’s roots, there are plenty of films about life in the mountains, but there is also a host of films about the greater world.

“With the symposium theme of population, we have several outstanding films that look at critical environmental, cultural and social issues that will blow people away,” said festival director David Holbrooke. “And then, sometimes there are films that don’t fit any particular genre, but they have a place at Mountainfilm because they’re outstanding and celebrate indomitable spirits.”

Holbrooke highlights 10 picks from the upcoming festival,  but not, he emphasized, because they’re his favorites:

“I don’t believe in ranking the films we play because they’re all, in their own way, worthwhile. And much of what you take away from a film is what you bring to it —your mood, energy and receptivity to new ideas — but I feel that all of these films in the list will resonate with audiences in a real and sustained way.”

A Taste of Mountainfilm’s 2012 Selections

 “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”: Artist Ai Weiwei is a major cultural and political force in China whose fearlessness shines through in this inspiring documentary by first-time filmmaker Alison Klayman.
“Bidder 70”: Telluride filmmakers Beth and George Gage tell the unprecedented story of climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who has taken civil disobedience to a new level.
“Big in Bollywood”: This rollicking fun, feel-good tale is about a Californian-born actor with little connection to his parents’ homeland of India until he’s asked to audition for a role in a Bollywood film, which turns out to be a hit and turns his life upside down.
“Chasing Ice”: Photographer James Balog set up time-lapse cameras and focused these truth-tellers on glaciers around the world. The result is a ground-breaking — or glacier-breaking — film about climate change and a harbinger of an uncertain future.
“Darwin”: This elegiac and haunting story about a small, remote Californian desert town weaves together the story of its boom/bust mining history, the mysterious nearby military base where secret weapons are tested, and the unforgettable residents who have chosen to live life on their own terms.
” Ethel”: Rory Kennedy, the youngest daughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy, made this touching and tender, yet surprisingly funny, film about her mother..
“Fambul Tok”: This deep and powerful film tells the story of a way to forgiveness in Sierra Leone after a brutal civil war left the country riven.
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”: This stunningly beautiful film by Lucy Walker (director of Waste Land) movingly melds the seemingly disparate topics of the Japanese tsunami and the onset of the traditional Cherry Blossom season.
” Living Downstream“: Sandra Steingraber is a quietly powerful voice who makes the link between our environment and our health by telling her own story and extrapolating it to the many unnatural toxins in our world.
“Winter’s Wind: Skiing is life.” That’s the motto for this allegorical — yet very real — ode to the ski bum.

Holbrooke points out that this year’s festival will continue in the same direction it’s been heading:

“The guests, films and artists all cover a broad range of interests, and we’re sure that everyone will find something at Mountainfilm that moves them.”



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