Telluride Mountainfilm: Update!
“As fall begins to settle in, I’m excited to share some Mountainfilm news. I would like to formally welcome Suzan Beraza as Mountainfilm’s interim festival director. With 20 years of Mountainfilm experience in various roles (videographer, festival judge, screening committee member, commitment grant judge and board member), Beraza has a long history with the organization and passion for its mission. As the director of popular past festival films like “Bag It” and “Uranium Drive-In,” she is also an accomplished filmmaker in her own right,” said Sage Martin, executive director, Mountainfilm, this coming year May 25- May 28, 2018.
To kick things off in 2018, the Moving Mountains Symposium, May 25, will focus on migration, a far-reaching and critical issue that is altering millions of lives, sparking controversy and bringing to light the consequences of climate change across the world. The symposium will dive deeply into the theme, examining both human and animal migration across the globe and the causes, which range from climate change to conflict. Migration is an issue both influencing and impacted by the environment, humanity, social justice and politics. We look forward to unpacking this complicated and pivotal topic.
Beraza has been busy with program director Katie Klingsporn planning our 40th anniversary festival, which will feature an inspiring symposium as well as retrospectives celebrating archival films, past guests and Mountainfilm’s climbing roots. She brings creative and collaborative energy to the Mountainfilm team and will stay on through the festival while we advance our search for a new festival director.
I also would like to welcome four new staff members: Amanda Baltzley as festival producer; Mark Burrows as technical producer; Jason Merritt as tour and education manager; and Lucy Lerner as program manager. Together they have more than 36 years of experience working for Mountainfilm in various roles.
Early this month, we gathered board members with new and existing staff for our annual board/staff retreat. It was an opportunity to reaffirm our mission and commitment to the artistic significance and impact of the festival. During the retreat, we agreed to maintain the festival’s cherished intimacy by limiting pass sales. We will instead concentrate future growth on Mountainfilm on Tour, which now reaches 150 locations annually, as well as our education program, which reaches more than 20,000 students worldwide – in places ranging from Mumbai to Sao Paolo and Baltimore to Durango.
The board and staff also decided to augment 2017 filmmaker support by increasing the Mountainfilm Commitment Grant awards by $5,000 to a total of $30,000. This enables Mountainfilm to provide financial assistance to more documentary filmmakers so they can share important stories through the power of film. Past commitment grantees include Ben Ayers, Ben Knight and Renan Ozturk of “The Last Honey Hunter”; Dave O’Leske of “Dirtbag: Legend of Fred Beckey”; and Chris Jordan of “Albatross.” all films that screened at the 2017 festival.
Winners of the 2017 Commitment Grant will be announced next week.
As a team, Mountainfilm is dedicated to our community of locals, filmmakers, artists, activists and adventurers. We invite you to join us for an exceptional festival experience that will activate your mind, fill your heart and inspire you to create a better world.
Thank you for your support. We look forward to celebrating Mountainfilm’s 40th anniversary with you.
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