What began in 1979 as a film festival for mountaineers who wanted to see climbing films, Mountainfilm in Telluride is now one of America's longest running film festivals and has evolved into a leading edge film/ideas/art fest every Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colo.
But a festival that has a history of celebrating films about adventure and activism can't be expected to sit still and just stay in one place. Mountainfilm regularly tours the globe hauling its selected films along with it and this weekend the tour makes a stop at New York's Linlcon Center with dozens of eye-opening films to share, Oct. 21-23.
Huffington Post sat down with David Holbrooke, filmmaker and Mountainfilm Festival Director, to talk about Mountainfilm and what to expect in New York.
Tell us about yourself:
I am a filmmaker who has been making documentaries really since 9-11. I am now the Festival Director of Mountainfilm in Telluride, which has been a great opportunity to help tell a lot of stories that need to be heard.
Are there certain films you tend to gravitate towards at Mountainfilm?
First of all we look for great films, but we certainly are drawn to films about adventure, exploration, environmentalism, indigenous cultures and some social issues like human rights. One thing we find is that just because an issue is important, doesn't mean the film is right for us. Craft matters and we are always looking for talented filmmakers who understand how to tell a story in a relevant and entertaining way.
What brought Mountainfilm to New York for the Film Society at Lincoln Center festival?
We have a very strong Mountainfilm on Tour program that goes all over the world from Sao Paolo to Alaska. For this event in Manhattan, I convinced a good friend of mine to come from NYC to Telluride for Mountainfilm and she was blown away by the festival. She also happened to be on the board of the Film Society at Lincoln Center, which does a lot of programming outside of the New York Film Festival. They were into the partnership and we had our first year last year, which went really well and have high hopes for this year as well.
It is exciting for us to be working with such a grand and impressive organization as Lincoln Center and they have been wonderful partners on this. We definitely look at our programming a little differently in NYC than we do in Telluride, but a strong film is a strong film and hopefully will resonate wherever it is screened.
The main thing for us at Mountainfilm is impacting our audiences with the programming and we are confident we will do that in Lincoln Center just like we do in Telluride and in many of the other places we tour with Mountainfilm.
Tell us about the Mountainfilm screenings at Film Society Of Lincoln Center in New York:
The program at Lincoln Center really reflects the wide range of what we do in Telluride. There are terrific adventure films like Kadoma about a kayaking expedition in the Congo that went horribly wrong. We have compelling environmental programming, human rights films (such as A Perfect Soldier about land mines in Cambodia and Ten Conditions of Love about Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled leader of the Uyghur people, an ethnic minority that is being repressed by China) and films that are thoughtful pieces about life like Happy.
And even though we are mainly focused on documentaries, we have Frank Marshall who is one of the biggest feature filmmakers (producer of Bourne, Indiana Jones, and other monster hits) attending our festival with his film, Right to Play about children's inalienable right to a childhood.
One of the hallmarks of what we do is bring in filmmakers and characters for almost every program. These films are powerful and impact folk so there is a healthy discussion afterwards so people can understand how to get involved more deeply in some of the issues out there.
We also bring in speakers. For instance, the great anthropologist Wade Davis is coming to talk about his new book, Into the Silence about the mystery of mountaineer George Mallory who died attempting to be the first person to climb Mount Everest.
There is so much going on all weekend at Lincoln Center and I hope people check out the schedule and turn out to be impacted.
WATCH: Just a small sampling of trailers from all of the Mountainfilms features playing at Lincoln Center this weekend: