Cheryl Strayed, Sir Chris Bonington, and Ben Rhodes among presenters at Mountainfilm festival

by Amanda Push

Get your movie caps on, documentary nerds, because Telluride’s Mountainfilm festival is just around the corner.

From May 24-27, attendees will get to sit down and enjoy documentary films ranging on topics from social justice to the environment. Aside from the chance to view these docs, visitors may also participate in a variety of community events, presentations, outdoor programs, and a gallery walk, according to the festival’s website.

Though the film lineup was not announced as of print deadline (they will release that information later this month), event organizers have announced the big names that will be dropping by the small mountain town for the festival.

Among the Mountainfilm presenters are the best-selling author of “Wild,” podcaster, and Mountainfilm Guest Director Cheryl Strayed, who will introduce and talk with a surprise guest; British pioneer of alpinism Sir Chris Bonington; Obama administration speech writer Ben Rhodes who will speak on his days working in the White House and his new memoir; pioneering transgender mountaineer Erin Parisi; and naturalist Doug Peacock, who will discuss his work with grizzlies and the healing power of the wilderness, according to a news release.

“We’re excited to have a group of presentations that really pulls from all the things that Mountainfilm is passionate about,” Mountainfilm’s Program Manager Lucy Lerner said. “Mountaineering, conservation, politics, social issues, science. As we’re moving forward by looking at the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space, we’re also looking back and honoring our climbing past with presenters like Sir Chris Bonington.”

A panelist lineup on the importance of inclusion in outdoor recreation – moderated by journalist James Edward Mills, who has worked in the outdoor industry for 30 years – will include Teresa Baker, founder of the CEO Diversity Pledge; Jenny Bruso, creator of the blog and Instagram account Unlikely Hikers; José González, the founder and director emeritus of Latino Outdoors; Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors and Parisi” and alpinist who founded TranSending, a nonprofit working for transgender rights.

Ski mountaineer and Telluride resident Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison will present on their climbs of the world’s highest peaks, which include the first ski descent of Lhotse and Papsura — aka the Peak of Evil in Northern India.

Festival organizers are also gathering a group of notable emerging scientists, activists, and environmental storytellers, who will share their work in a presentation to attendees.

For festival passes, visit

Amanda Push


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