Telluride Mountainfilm Fest: What not to miss

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

What could be better than watching movies in the mountains? Telluride Mountainfilm is a weekend-long annual festival featuring 100 films from around the world, curated alongside guest presentations, a symposium, parties, scheduled conversations, book signings and musical events. The festival begins Friday May 27 with a symposium, followed by the Gallery Walk on Friday afternoon. Films and presentations start Friday night and run through the afternoon of Monday May 30. This festival weekend will also feature Town Talks, an Ice Cream Social and free movies under the stars at the outdoors Base Camp Theatre in Telluride Town Park. We chatted with Katie Klingsporn, program director of MountainFilm, about why you should go and what you shouldn’t miss.

What kind of films are shown at the fest?Documentaries. Adventure, environmental, political, cultural, social films.

How many venues are there? Six.

Any tips or tricks for navigating the festival? If you can’t get into a film, there are other things to do. There’s so much going on; Gallery Walk, morning talks that are free, an ice cream social. Pick a few films and focus on those. Show up early – that’s a really big thing. It’s fun to stand in line! You get to know people and talk about things you saw, and you’re more likely to get a seat. If you really want to see something, try the bigger theaters; the Palm and High Camp have 500 or 600 seats. You’ll be able to get into those. We play our films at least twice each, too. There’s no bad choice, so don’t stress out if you don’t make it into one thing.

What are some films we shouldn’t miss this year? They’re all so good. “Almost Sunrise,” which is world premiering, is a really important and beautiful film [the story of two Iraq War veterans who find peace by walking across America after harrowing experiences in the service]. The whole crew will be here. “Life, Animated” is a beautiful story [follows a family that used Disney films as the medium to communicate with their autistic son]. I loved “The Million Dollar Duck.” And “The Happy Film” is so visibly rich on the eyes, along with being a great story. We also have tons of short films.

Any special guest speakers or panelists?Yes, more than 40. Travis Rice is coming, I think he’s the best snowboarder in the history of the sport. Sarah Marquis, who circumnavigated the globe on foot alone – she’s a National Geographic Explorer, and she’s fascinating. Terry Tempest Williams [American West author and activist] is speaking. And then there’s the 2016 Moving Mountains Symposium, which is about National Parks and goes all day long.

What’s great about watching movies in the festival setting versus sitting at home on the couch?It’s always special to share the experience with other people. At a festival, you share it with the audience and also all the guests, people who actually made the films or who are in the films themselves. The festival atmosphere buzzes with conversation, dialogue, inspiration. It’s infectious.

Anya Jaremko-Greenwold


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