Mountainfilm 2021: Winners Announced!

Mountainfilm 2021: Winners Announced!

The following is a note from Festival director Suzan Beraza and the Mountainfilm in Telluride team, wrapping up the in-person event with the announcement of Festival winners. (Except Audience Choice and Student Choice which will be announced at the close of the online event (on or around June 6.).



Go here for more on Mountainfilm 2021.

2021 Mountainfilm Awards designed by R. Nelson Parrish of the Telluride Gallery.

The past year may have brought about many changes, but at Mountainfilm in Telluride there was a sense of hope, a return to normality. We reconnected with our Mountainfilm family, heard from renowned speakers and had the privilege of gathering in-person to watch films under the stars.

“It felt like a sacred space,” said Festival Director Suzan Beraza. “The numbers were different from what we’re used to, but there was an intimacy and the ability to have real, in-depth conversations. It was a gift.

The number of in-person attendees may have shifted due to the pandemic, but the quality of programming remained high. And, just like in years past, certain features and short films stood out — pushing us out of our comfort zone, inspiring action and shifting our world view. To honor these moments, a handful of films and filmmakers were recognized with a cash award.

“A big part of Mountainfilm’s mission is filmmaker support,” said Beraza. “The comment that we got from the awards juries is that the caliber of films was extremely high and they had a difficult deliberation process.”

Suzan Beraza, Festival Director, Mountainfilm.

The following are the Mountainfilm 2021 award winners


The winner of this juried award is Jacinta, a film that introduces us to a multi-generational family fighting the pattern of addiction and the cycle of prison, rehab, relapse and perpetual disappointment. Over three-and-a-half years, filmmaker Jessica Earnshaw follows a loving family faced with a seemingly endless battle against codependency and trauma.

Funded in part by Tully and Elise Friedman


“Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me is the winner of this juried award that recognizes exceptional short filmmaking. DirectorErin Semine Kökdil  zooms in on a group of Central American mothers desperately searching the streets of Mexico for their missing migrant children.

Funded in part by Tully and Elise Friedman


Each year, an adventure film that embodies the spirit of Charlie Fowler, a world-class climber and Telluride crag pioneer, is recognized. This year, Tasha Van Zandt’s “After Antarctica “ was the well-deserving recipient. The film tells the story of Will Steger, who traversed Antarctica in 1989 to defend and protect Antarctica from exploitation. Now, almost 30 years later, we watch as Steger sets out on a solo expedition to the Arctic Circle at age 75.

Funded by the Fowler family


The Moving Mountains award honors a film that is dedicated to social justice and impact — supporting both the filmmaker and the film’s associated nonprofit. This year’s recipients are Raj Patel and Zak Piper, directors, of “The Ants & The Grasshopper,” and the farmer-led nonprofit Soils, Food and Healthy Communities.

The feature film follows Anita Chitaya from Malawi as she and her mentor, Esther Lupafya, travel through the U.S. in an effort to convince Americans that climate change is real.

Go here to listen to a podcast featuring Raj Patel about the doc and his life and work.

Funded in part by Tully and Elise Friedman


Director Whitney Skauge is the winner of this award that’s presented to an outstanding woman in the film industry.

Skauge’s film, “The Beauty President” pays homage to a queer drag queen named Joan Jett Blakk who ran a campaign as a write-in candidate in the 1992 U.S. presidential election. In the film, we meet the male activist behind the persona, Terence Alan Smith, as he reflects on his audacious bid to draw attention to LGBTQ+ rights and the AIDS crisis.

Funded by Riccarda de Eccher and Bill Goldston


A Vimeo curation team chose “On Falling” as their 2021 outstanding short. In the film, director Josephine Anderson — who is too afraid to ride a mountain bike — follows three female pro mountain bikers to explore the topics of toughness, vulnerability and accomplishment.

Funded by Vimeo

If you missed any of these films in Telluride (or you want to give them a second watch) they will all be available on Mountainfilm Online. Passes to the online festival are also still available here. Following Mountainfilm Online, May 31–June 6, the remaining two awards: Audience Choice and Student Choice will be announced.

Win a pair of Wagners and anAAC Membership!

We are raffling off another adventure package! All proceeds will support Mountainfilm’s mission to inspire audiences to create a better world. The package includes one pair of Wagner Custom Skis and a one year membership to the American Alpine Club.

Your Wagner Custom Skis will be a uniquely tailored combination of materials, flex, and geometry to improve your balance, control and efficiency on snow, ultimately making skiing more comfortable and fun.

Your American Alpine Club Partner Membership will include:• $7,500 of rescue coverage• $5,000 of medical expense coverage• Discounts on gear, gym, and guide services• Access to publications, grants, and digital resources • AAC publications• AAC T-shirt.

Raffle tickets are $25 each, and you may purchase as many as you’d like. The total retail value of this prize package is $2,100.

Winners announced June 6.

Winner need not be present to win.


Let’s create a better world

Now, more than ever, we need your support. It is only through generous contributions that we can continue our mission to use the power of film, art, and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.

Donations will go a long way to ensure that Mountainfilm not only endures, but comes back in full force in 2022. Every little bit helps.

Become a donor today!

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