Mountainfilm: Louie Psihoyos, Guest Director & More, Passes, 12/2!

Mountainfilm: Louie Psihoyos, Guest Director & More, Passes, 12/2!

The 42nd annual Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Memorial Weekend, May 22 – May 25, is honored to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos will be guest director.

Mountainfilm’s Moving Mountains Symposium plans to spotlight “Visionaries” at the 2020 event. The Symposium takes place May 22 at the High Camp Theater in Mountain Village and marks the start of a weekend of film and conversation.

Passes for the 2020 festival go on sale Monday, December 2, and the nonprofit has five words for you: Say goodbye to the Q. Call 970-728-4123, ext. 12 or email here with questions.

Go here to become a Mountainfilm donor in order to help the nonprofit continue to use the power of film, art, and ideas to inspire audiences to action to create a better world.


Louie Psihoyos is Guest Director:

Louie Psihoyos

Mountainfilm is honored to announce that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos will be festival guest director.

Psihoyos first attended Mountainfilm in 2010 alongside his debut film, “The Cove.” The doc won an Oscar for Best Documentary 2010 for its raw unveiling of the capture and slaughter of dolphins in Japan. Psihoyos two subsequent documentaries, “Racing Extinction,” (Mountainfilm 2014), which drew attention to human’s role in species extinction, and “The Game Changers,” (Mountainfilm 2018), which dispelled the myth that animal-based foods are optimal for health and nutrition, were both festival favorites.

“[At Mountainfilm] I felt like I found my people. You have a whole community of people who love film and love the environment, and the activism around it in trying to change the world. It felt like I’d sort of arrived home,” said Psihoyos, who notes that after attending hundreds of film festivals around the world, Mountainfilm remains his favorite.

Over the years, Psihoyos attended Mountainfilm as a speaker, special guest, and filmmaker, and has been on the advisory board since 2013. In addition to making documentaries, Psihoyos’ still photography has been featured in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Newsweek and New York Times Magazine, among others. In 2005, he founded the Oceanic Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes marine conservation and environmental protection.

Bringing awareness to the health of the planet is Psihoyos’ calling. And he notes that the state of the world is reliant on today’s visionaries — the festival’s Moving Mountains Symposium topic.

“We all look up to visionaries for inspiration. I know I do. It’s probably more important to have them now than in any previous step in history. We’re one step away from greatness or great disaster,” said Psihoyos, adding that “The only difference between visionaries and yourself perhaps is being tenacious and believing in yourself, believing you can do it. And that’s where mortals like us fall down; we think problems are too big. And I know that’s not true. Any massive change you’ve seen started with a small group of people.”

Symposium 2020:

Each year, Mountainfilm serves as a confluence for people from around the globe who come to share their passion, ideas, and stories. The goal: inspire action. In keeping with a longstanding  tradition, the festival kicks off with a meeting of the minds at the Moving Mountains Symposium. At the 2020 gathering of the tribe, the focus is on “Visionaries.”

“Visionaries are people who are thinking about and planning for the future with wisdom and optimism,” said Festival Director Suzan Beraza. “A visionary brings hope and creative solutions for how can move forward to a sustainable world.”

Suzan Beraza, Festival Director, Mountainfilm.

Beraza says this year’s Moving Mountains Symposium will spotlight the sort of forward-thinking individuals who can propose with clarity solutions to today’s Big Picture issues. Audiences can expect to hear from visionaries in conservation, youth activism, technology, energy, and the food industry — to name a few — with insights on how these subjects can and should play out in our future world. And as Mountainfilm aims to do each year, the public will walk away inspired to act.

“Visionaries” will be a thread that weaves throughout the weekend to ignite and inspire audiences to help create a better world.

Film Submissions opened November 1:

On November 1, Mountainfilm begins accepting film submissions for the 2020 festival.

Since 1979, Mountainfilm has celebrated the power of film, art, and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world — and that mission needs input from creatives like you.

To submit a project to be considered for the 42nd annual festival, you will need a FilmFreeway account. Before submissions open, visit the Mountainfilm listing page on FilmFreeway and check out the 2019 festival films and award winners.

Dates, Deadlines & Fees*

Deadline    Date                       Feature         Short
Early        Dec 13, 2019                $65                  $45
Official    Jan 10, 2020               $85                  $55
Final        Feb 3, 2020                  $100                $65

Festival Dates: May 22–25, 2020

*Mountainfilm is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and strongly believes in filmmaker support. Submission fees help fund our yearly Commitment Grants and Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship. Your submission fee is assisting filmmakers with production and post-production support.

Submission Info:

Be prepared to complete the application in full. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please provide the following:

• Complete contact information
• Film information including a short synopsis, specifications and hi-res production stills
• Director headshot and bio
• Entry fee
• Link to an online screener (Vimeo strongly preferred)
• Acceptance of Rights and Releases

Eligibility Requirements:

• Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival. If your film is not a documentary, please reconsider submitting.
• Feature documentaries are 40 minutes and longer. Shorts are under 40 minutes, including credits.
• Film entries may be of any length, from any country and on any subject in keeping with Mountainfilm’s mission. Subtitled films should either be in English or include English subtitles.
• At this time, Mountainfilm does not accept VR projects.
• With very few exceptions, Mountainfilm requires that films have not been screened or broadcast in Colorado prior to the festival. The nonprofits takes other previous screenings, broadcasts, and online availability into consideration when making official selections.
• Mountainfilm prefers newer films for inclusion. For the 2020 festival, the event is seeking docs making their premieres after June of 2019.
• Mountainfilm will consider shorts that have had an online presence, though the preference is to highlight work that has not already reached a large audience.

Submission Guidelines…

• Only complete applications will be considered. This includes full contact information, film synopsis and specs, hi-res production stills, a trailer (features only), a Vimeo screener link, and director headshot and bio.
• Mountainfilm strongly prefers Vimeo links over FilmFreeway’s video uploads.
Your screener link must remain active until June 1, 2020.
• Mountainfilm is a DCP only festival. If accepted to screen at Mountainfilm, you will be required to provide a DCP through our partner Simple DCP.
• Entry fees are non-refundable.
• If you are from an LMIC or are a student, please contact Mountainfilm for a submission fee discount/waiver.

Due to the number of submissions received, Mountainfilm cannot provide feedback on entries.

Festival passes & e-tickets:

Passes for the 2020 festival go on sale December 2.

A pass now includes a select number of e-tickets, depending on the pass level you purchase. E-tickets give the holder the option to reserve a seat in a program of your choice. That means less time waiting in lines and more time seeing the programs you want to see.

A limited number of early bird Palmyra passes will be available at a discounted price of $345 (reg. $395). Once they’re gone, they’re gone, so mark your calendar.

Mountainfilm, more:

Mountainfilm uses the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.

Mountainfilm is a multi-dimensional festival that celebrates adventure, activism, social justice, culture, the environment, and indomitable spirits. The event accepts and screens features and short films on a broad range of subjects. Mountainfilm is always interested in work that focuses on mountains, mountain culture, and mountaineering, but also showcases films about people dedicated to changing the world.

The 2020 Moving Mountains Symposium theme is, again, “Visionaries.” Would-be contributors are encouraged to submit films that discuss or address that topic, although the festival features films on a wide range of themes and subjects in addition.


Mountainfilm honors filmmakers and film subjects alike, awarding cash prizes that are announced at the Closing Picnic, Monday, May 25, 2020. View the 2019 award winners.

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