Jillian Schlesinger's Maidentrip
Adventure on the big screen is on tap for the fourth annual Mountainfilm series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The program, taking place next month, will travel from the peaks of the Himalayas to the frigid Arctic Circle and tackle the open seas in an around-the-world documentary odyssey.
A sneak preview of Maidentrip will open the series on November 15. The film centers on 14 year old Laura Dekker, the youngest person to sail alone around the world, contributing personal video she shot along the way. Other highlights of the program include Duk County, which follows Dr. Geoff Tabin as he heads to Sudan to restore the sight of over 200 blind people. In Norwegian documentary North of the Sun (Nordfor Sola), two young men spend most of the year on an isolated, cold beach north of the Arctic Circle with nothing but surfboards and their plan to live off the garbage/waste of others. Along the way, they discover some of the world's best surfing.
Mountainfilm began in 1979, founded by rock climbers who headed to the mountains in the day and watched documentaries about their adventures at night. Mountainfilm in Telluride has since morphed into an event that spotlights diverse documentaries featuring adventure, the environment, and a host of stories highlighting cultural and political issues.
“It is a real pleasure for us at Telluride Mountainfilm to collaborate again with Film Society Lincoln Center on the program for this year,” said David Holbrooke, Festival Director of Mountainfilm in Telluride. “While we program a wide variety of documentaries, including films that focus on environmental and human rights issues, we are really excited to focus on adventure films this year and feel we are bringing to New York some of the best that are out there.”
Added Film Society Programming Associate Isa Cucinotta, “Showcasing the thrill of outdoor adventure, Mountainfilm returns for its fourth year in New York. The definition of sport is brought to a new level in these documentaries of truly death-defying feats and the inspiring people who live at the edge of what is possible.”
Corey Rich's A New Perspective
Films, schedules and descriptions follow:
Maidentrip (2013) 81m
Director: Jillian Schlesinger, Country: USA
Laura Dekker knew more about herself at the age of 13 than most of us will learn over a lifetime. At that age, she was already fighting the government of her native Holland for the right to sail around the world—solo. With support from her non-traditional family (she was born on a boat in New Zealand and traveled by sea with her now-divorced parents for the first five years of her life), she won the battle and set sail on a grand adventure a year later at age 14. Her dream was “to be the youngest ever to sail around the world alone,” but she didn’t want to set a speed record. Instead, she sought to experience the remote and wonderful corners of the planet on her own. Much of this brilliant and endearing documentary captures Dekker’s own words with video she shot during the journey. But director Jillian Schlesinger weaves it together with her own footage, media reports and charming animation to tell the story of this precocious and lovely young woman, whose fascinating life has only just begun.
Director Jillian Schlesinger in attendance
Cascada (2013) 8m
Directors: Skip Armstrong & Anson Fogel, Country: USA
When a crew of filmmakers and kayakers head to the Mexican jungle to hunt big waterfalls, they find a place of unrelenting rain, heinous insects, thick mud, scary viruses and utter perfection. Cascada, another gorgeous short film by Forge Motion Pictures, follows the crew as they explore a world beyond expectations, where biting flies, tangled vines and shoddy hotel rooms can’t detract from the unrivaled waterfalls and powerful rapids they discover.
Friday, November 15, 9:00pm
Duk County (2013) 37m
Director: Jordan Campbell, Country: USA
Mountainfilm audiences have come to know the hyper-achieving Dr. Geoff Tabin, a world-class climber who has ascended the Seven Summits and who is best known for dramatically changing the rates of curable blindness in Nepal and Rwanda. Tabin and his team from the Moran Eye Center in Park City, Utah, took their operation to South Sudan to work with John Dau (one of the original Lost Boys of Sudan whose remarkable story of survival was featured in the film God Grew Tired of Us. Duk County, which was directed by Jordan Campbell, tells the story of this collaboration in which the sight of more than 200 people was restored. Unfortunately—and perhaps inevitably—this triumph is tainted by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
Director Jordan Campbell and subjects John Dau and Geoff Tabin in attendance
Dave Ohlson's K2: Siren Of the Himalayas.
The Water Tower (2013) 27m
Director: Peter McBride, Country: USA
Following his elegiac look at the plight of the Colorado River in Chasing Water (Mountainfilm 2011), filmmaker, photographer and adventurer Pete McBride turns his talents to an analogous story about the vast watershed beneath Mt. Kenya and the challenges it faces. Beautifully shot and thoughtfully written, this film paints a human portrait of climate change and frames it in forces far greater than human.
Saturday, November 16, 4:00pm
High & Hallowed: Everest 1963 (2013) 50m
Directors: Jim Aikman, David Morton & Jake Norton, Country: USA
In May of 1963, a team of brave Americans assembled on Mt. Everest in an effort to be the first from the U.S. to stand atop the world’s tallest mountain. Jim Whittaker summited on May 1, planting the American flag for his teammates to see when they reached the top. Whittaker had climbed the traditional South Col route, but two of his comrades—Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld—attempted the daunting, and previously unclimbed, West Ridge. (The duos success is considered one of the most daring climbs in history.) High & Hallowed is primarily the story of the Americans on Everest 50 years ago, but it also incorporates a modern-day attempt on the West Ridge in 2012. The team of Charley Mace, Jake Norton, David Morton and Brent Bishop (son of Barry Bishop, one of the photographers on the 1963 expedition) try their luck, but given the hideous conditions in the Hornbein Couloir, their attempt is unsuccessful. This film, directed by Morton and Norton, mixes the present and past skillfully to tell a tale that spans five decades.
Director David Morton and subject Jim Whittaker in attendance
35 (2013) 5m
Directors: Nasa Koski, Austin Siadak & Matt Van Biene, Country: USA
The number 35 holds a special significance for us this year because 2013 marks our 35th festival, so a film with this title is particularly apt. Of course it takes more than a good title to get into this festival, and this poetic reflection by a man turning 35 qualifies. It also captures the rootsy spirit of those who choose to be part of a community that prefers to be outdoors.
Keeper Of the Mountains (2013) 25m
Director: Allison Otto, Country: USA
It’s odd to consider that the one person who has exhaustively tracked, detailed and archived Himalayan expeditions of the past half century is someone who has never climbed a mountain herself. Elizabeth Hawley has interviewed thousands of expedition leaders and is a force of nature every bit as impressive and indefatigable as any alpinist, but she has never been interested in joining them on any of the routes that she’s come to know intimately in her mind’s eye. This portrait of Miss Hawley reflects the character it chronicles by being direct, sharp and not without a sense of humor.
A 2012 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant recipient.
Friday, November 15, 6:30pm
Paul Diffley & Chris Alstrin's Wideboyz.
Honnold 3.0 (2012) 32m
Directors: Peter Mortimer & Josh Lowell, Country: USA
Just a few years ago, Alex Honnold was just another girlfriendless climber living in his van and roaming the Yosemite Valley. But he began putting up routes with increasing audacity and remarkable composure and then pulled off a couple of insanely bold free solo feats on Moonlight Buttress and Half Dome, shocking the climbing world and drawing media attention and public intrigue in equal measure. He was vaulted into the spotlight—appearing on the cover of National Geographic and featured in “60 Minutes,” The New York Times and even commercials. His gift: tremendous strength, steely focus and incredible mental control. Honnold 3.0 is a portrait of an intensely private person who must balance his ambitions with self-preservation under a new set of expectations. From highball boulder first ascents to 5.13 free solos to speed records on The Nose, Honnold wrestles with this as he prepares for his biggest adventure yet: The Yosemite Triple, an attempt to climb Mt. Watkins, El Cap and Half Dome in just one day, 95 percent of it without a rope.
A New Perspective (2012) 10m
Director: Corey Rich
David Lama is best known as the young competition climber who conquered an 8b+ at the age of 12 and went on to become a junior world championship and twice winner of the European Youth Cup. But these days, Lama is focused on the toothy peaks in the world’s tallest mountain ranges. A New Perspective follows the soft-spoken climber and his partner, Peter Ortner, as they tackle these heights. After free climbing the Cerro Torre in Patagonia, the pair travels to Pakistan to attempt to free climb Eternal Flame, a pitch up the Nameless Tower in the lofty Karakorum Range.
The Kyrgyzstan Project (2012) 20m
Directors: Jim Aikman & Matt Segal, Country: USA
Impeccable rock, one-of-a kind setting, good and trusted friends: the stuff of climbers’ dreams. Real life is rarely so straightforward, though, and this story of a climbing trip in Kyrgyzstan is haunted by the specter of an earlier one that had frightening and dire results. In 2000, John Dickey went on an expedition to Kyrgyzstan and was kidnapped by violent militants who held him and his partners at gunpoint for six days. They made a harrowing escape, but Dickey is still troubled by the memories of what they had to do to save their own lives. His return to Kyrgyzstan extols the meaning of friendship and the healing power of climbing adventures.
Sunday, November 17, 6:30pm
Jordan Campbell's Duk County.
K2: Siren Of the Himalayas (2012) 75m
Director: Dave Ohlson, Country: USA
Everest gets the lion’s share of media coverage, but alpinists know that K2—at 8,611 meters, the second-highest peak in the world—is more challenging. Perhaps those difficult conditions explain why there are so few documentaries about K2, but K2: Siren of the Himalayas tells the story of a 2009 ascent of the mountain by Fabrizio Zangrilli and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, a century after the Duke of Abruzzi’s famous expedition. Filmed in Pakistan, this often-gripping documentary shows how hard it is for even the world’s finest alpinists to climb this mountain, where for every four people who have reached summit, one has died trying.
Subject Fabrizio Zangrilli in attendance
Sea of Rock (2012) 12m
Director: Sebastian Doerk, Country: Austria
Four decades ago, a couple of young guys hauled a bicycle up Mont Simmerstein in a rugged pocket of the Austrian Alps and attempted to ride down. The mountain—known as the Sea of Rock for its jagged armor of boulders, stones and cliffs—destroyed the bike. Local mountain biker Harald Philipp has attempted the descent many times and failed—pits, technical sections and razor-sharp stones make it a nightmare. In Sea of Rock, Philipp recruits pro trails rider Thomas Ohler in the hope that, by combining their knowledge, they can successfully thread through the wicked terrain. The film follows the riders as they find lines through this imposing and beautiful landscape, chasing the long sought-after goal with two completely different styles.
Saturday, November 16, 6:30pm (In Person)
Nordfor Sola (North of the Sun) (2012) 46m
Directors: Inge Wegge & Jorn Ranum, Country: Norway
Last winter, if you had happened upon a particular isolated and frigid beach north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, you might have been surprised to find two young men, two surfboards and a pile of garbage. Inge Wegge (age 25) and Jørn Ranum (age 22) spent nine months of the year—of which all could arguably be considered winter in the frozen north—testing a hypothesis that they could live happily, and even comfortably, off the waste of others. They chose this beach because it held a well-kept secret: some of the world’s finest undiscovered surfing waves. Bringing only their surfboards and their enthusiasm for adventure, the duo picked up driftwood to build a shelter, found a barrel to use as a stove, hiked to a nearby town to collect free expired food from a grocery store, caught fish and also caught waves. Almost as an aside, Wegge and Ranum piled washed-up garbage (despite its remoteness, the beach seems to collect a lot human detritus) to remove at the end of their stay. The location of their makeshift home will remain a secret, but they are generous enough to share the story of their winter North of the Sun with us.
Slomo (2013) 17m
Director: Joshua Izenberg, Country: USA
How has John Kitchin found a way to connect physically to the center of the world and spiritually to the divine? By rollerblading. Sounds crazy, but before you write Kitchin off as certifiable, you should consider that his actual certifications are in neurology and psychiatry. If you’re someone who questions the sanity of daily life on the success treadmill, this film may push you to do what you want—and reap the rich psychic rewards that come with rolling through life.
Running Blind (2013) 32m
Director: Ryan Suffern, Country: USA
We hold ordinary heroes in the highest regard at Mountainfilm, so E.J. Scott should feel at home in Telluride as he fits the description perfectly. Suffering from a degenerative, genetic disease of the retina called choroideremia, Scott is slowly losing his vision. His response is to commit enormous amounts of time, money and, most likely, knee cartilage to raise funds and awareness for a cure by running a dozen marathons in a dozen states in 2012. As he says in the film, confidently directed by Ryan Suffern (who edited 2012 Mountainfilm favorites Bidder 70 and Right to Play), “If you’re trying, you’re making a difference.”
Subject EJ Scott in attendance
Sunday, November 17, 4:00pm
Wideboyz (2012) 50m
Directors: Paul Diffley & Chris Alstrin, Country: UK
This film features bloody knuckles, all-out grunt sessions and willful participation in pain. Welcome to the world of off-width crack climbing, a sub-genre that attracts a rare breed willing to jam elbows, knees, torsos — whatever it takes, really — into large cracks for climbing ascents. It’s painful, tough and occasionally downright awful. But two British climbers, Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, love it. WideBoyz follows the off-width-obsessed pair as they undertake an insane two-year training regime — most of it spent hanging upside down in the “dungeon of doom” they set up in Whittaker’s basement — in preparation for a trip to the holy land of off-widths: the American West. After touring some of the country’s best known big cracks — and ticking them off with impressive swiftness — they head to the ultimate test. The Century Crack, 120 feet of overhanging off-width in the Canyonlands of Utah, is considered the world’s hardest off-width. After dreaming about the first ascent of it for years, the British duo finally gets a shot at this beautiful, hellish crack.
Director Chris Alstrin in attendance
Je Veux (2012) 13m
Director: Joachim Hellinger, Country: Germany
You’ve never seen a climbing film like Je Veux. Joachim Hellinger, who has been bringing his inventive and well-produced mountaineering and adventure films to Mountainfilm in Telluride for 20 years, is a bit of a Francophile. He fell in love with the music of French singer Zaz (one of the most popular and identifiable musicians in France today) and was in the unique position to help her carry out her dream: performing on the top of the tallest mountain in Europe. At an altitude of 15,781 feet, climbing Mont Blanc is no small feat, especially considering that Zaz’s small band includes an acoustic contrabass. Those not familiar with Zaz will fall in love with her unassuming songs that are rooted in jazz and traditional French music; the mountaineers in the audience will be impressed, as well.
The Gimp Monkeys (2012) 8m
Directors: Fitz Cahall & Mikey Schaefer, Country: USA
After four nights and five days, Craig DeMartino, Jarem Frye and Pete Davis scrambled to the top of the 1,800-foot Zodiac Wall on Yosemite’s El Capitan on June 9, 2012. It’s a route that’s been climbed countless times, but not like this: the first all-disabled ascent. DeMartino (who lost a leg in a climbing accident), Frye (who lost a leg to bone cancer) and Davis (who was born without an arm) didn’t accomplish the feat to raise awareness or champion their cause. They did it because they are climbers first and disabled second. Martino says, “If a climber is what you are…you want to climb El Cap.” So with four legs, five arms and three heads, they tackled the towering expanse of granite. Gimp Monkeys follows the trio’s monumental trip up the wall and examines where passion, tenacity, perspective and toughness can lead. Because, as Davis says, “The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time.”
Saturday, November 16, 9:00pm