Mountainfilm 2024: Ramey Newell’s “A Good Wolf” Premieres Memorial Weekend in Town!

Mountainfilm 2024: Ramey Newell’s “A Good Wolf” Premieres Memorial Weekend in Town!

Based in Telluride, Mountainfilm 2024 recently announced its 24 world premieres, one of which is the feature-length “A Good Wolf,” directed by Ramey Newell.

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And please scroll down to listen to Ramey’s podcast.

From “A Good Wolf,” courtesy Ramey Newell for Mountainfilm.

Since 1995, when wolves were reintroduced to the American West, online sources tout the fact research has shown that in many places they have helped revitalize and restore ecosystems. They improve habitat and increase populations of countless species from birds of prey to pronghorn, even trout. Recovering populations exist in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon, with a few wolves beginning to range into California, though she opposed – and continue to oppose – wolf restoration because of concerns about human safety, potential land-use restrictions, livestock depredations and competition with hunters for wild ungulates.

One of those controversial places is located on the northeast boundary of Denali National Park in Alaska, the stage for Ramey Newell’s latest film titled “A Good Wolf,” which will have its world premiere in Telluride at Mountainfilm 2024.

“A Good Wolf”is a feature-length documentary that explores diverging viewpoints within the context of the lengthy, emotionally charged, and continuing battle over how wolves (and bears) are managed in Denali park.

So the doc is about much more than wolves alone. It is about the complexities and difficulties of balancing competing human interests on public lands. The story explores opposing ideas about the place of wild predators among humans, and what (if any) responsibility we might have to manage them within natural ecosystems. “A Good Wolf” illuminates fundamental differences in how people determine the value of wildlife, wilderness, and National Parks.

Specifically “A Good Wolf” follows the activities of wildlife activists, a local hunter/trapper, and Denali National Park biologists over the course of three years. Their stories and work give viewers a compelling glimpse into the various ways residents relate to animals and each other in this isolated, often harsh landscape. Through these interwoven narratives, we can better understand the historical and contemporary issues at play, including political, regulatory, scientific, and cultural influences. Hanging in the balance are some of America’s most iconic animals and wild places.

The following stills from “A Good Wolf” are all courtesy of the director, Ramey:



A synopsis of the film follows:

What exactly is a “good wolf”?  That depends on who you ask. A century ago, many Americans would have echoed a common government bounty slogan, “A good wolf is a dead wolf.” But times have changed. Now, if you are a wildlife activist, a good wolf is probably a wild one, free to live its life unhindered by human interference. For a hunter or fur trapper in rural Alaska, the answer might have more to do with providing sustenance and livelihood for you and your family. To a scientist, good wolves might be the ones that provide useful data. If you are a visitor to Denali National Park, a good wolf might be the one that crosses the road in front of your tour bus for a photo opportunity.

Scroll down to learn more from Ramey Newell’s podcast:

Director Ramey Newell, more:

Ramey Newell is an American-Canadian filmmaker, photographer, and multidisciplinary artist who splits her time between British Columbia and Oregon. Her moving image work has been screened at film festivals and in galleries, museums and other art spaces throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, including: the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; Alchemy Moving Image Festival in Hawick, Scotland; Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado; Antimatter in Victoria, Canada; and many others.

Ramey’s experimental and documentary films have also earned accolades such as the Jury’s Stellar Award (Grand Prize) at Black Maria Film Festival (2018); Best Director at Mirror Mountain Film Festival (2017); and Director’s Choice at Thomas Edison Film Festival (2021). Her  photographic work has been exhibited at venues such as The Polygon Gallery in Vancouver; Gallery 44 in Toronto; and the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY.

Ramey holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from New Mexico State University. Later she attained a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Practices and a Certificate in College Teaching from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ramey completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Art at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

She currently teaches film studies, video production, and documentary film at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Ramey Newell gained an early appreciation for open spaces, forests, and mountains that has persisted throughout her adult life and permeates much of her creative work. When she’s not making art, she enjoys hiking in deserts and high country, rock climbing, playing tennis, gardening, and traveling with her partner and their spotty dogs.

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