Queens of the Break directed by Jordyn Romero and Jo Anna Edmison
Queens of the Break directed by Jordyn Romero and Jo Anna Edmison

Mountainfilm, taking place this Memorial Day weekend, May 25-29, 2023 in Telluride valley, announced the full lineup of 105 “bold and inspiring” films, for its 45th edition.

“We’re thrilled to be showcasing over 70 world, North American, U.S. and Colorado premieres, including a robust selection of films featuring under-represented voices,” says Festival Director Suzan Beraza. “We continue our tradition of highlighting films and subjects that celebrate indomitable spirit.”

Of the lineup of films, 17 are world premieres, including feature films Trees, and Other Entanglements, which weaves stories of the interconnected lives of humans and trees through time; Impossible Town, a story of family obligations and environmental injustices in Appalachia; and Patrol, which exposes the dark world of conflict beef and ancestral Indigenous lands in Nicaragua. Mountainfilm will also world premiere Earthside, a film that captures one of the last expeditions of Mountainfilm hero Hilaree Nelson as she embarks on an all-women adventure above the Arctic Circle. This film will be screened on Sunday at High Camp as part of a tribute to Nelson and celebration of her life. The Hilaree Nelson Tribute and Saturday night Tribute Dance Party on Main Street are free and open to the public.

Additional world premieres include The Orchestra Chuck Built, a portrait of a tireless mentor transforming Black youth lives through music; Daughter of the Sea, a look at a South Korean all-women fishing community and its life-saving connections; School of Fish, the story of Indigenous people in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and their relationship to the salmon run; Die Laughing, a film about humor and freedom of expression in Cairo, where a punchline can get comedians jailed; and Queens of the Break, a spotlight on the pioneers of women’s surfing in Santa Barbara, California.

Mountainfilm will also screen the world premiere and directorial debut of climber and longtime friend of the festival Timmy O’Neill, Soundscape, which follows blind adventure athlete Erik Weihenmayer as he tackles rock faces in the Sierra Nevada.

In addition to film programming, Mountainfilm’s Coffee Talks will be returning, plus the Minds Moving Mountains Speaker Series and DocTalks. The Speaker Series kicks off Friday morning at High Camp and features climate activist, author and this year’s Guest Director Bill McKibben as he talks about activism at a crucial moment in the climate crisis. Other speakers include artificial intelligence creator David Hanson; journalists and photographers covering the Colorado River, Abrahm Lustgarten and Pete McBride; National Geographic Explorer, justice advocate and community organizer Juan D. Martinez Pineda; ecosystem disturbance researcher and film subject Nalini Nadkarni; and a festival wrap-up conversation with 2019 Guest Director Cheryl Strayed and renowned filmmaker Tom Shadyac.

Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. at locations throughout Telluride and Mountain Village, attendees can take part in Mountainfilm’s free Coffee Talks. These panels are informal discussions with experts and filmmakers highlighting engaging Q&A sessions on topics relevant to this year’s festival including freedom of the press, climate food solutions, artificial intelligence and social media, grassroots activism and how to tell stories of hope in times of crisis.

This year’s DocTalks fulfill the festival’s mission of bringing filmmaker support to the forefront, with five workshop sessions focused on career development and filmmaker support. Sessions will be hosted by various organizations, including Doc Society, The Redford Center, The New Yorker and The North Face.

“Mountainfilm remains steadfast in its commitment to showcasing some of this past year’s finest documentaries in the genres of environment and sustainability, social justice, culture, activism, and, of course, edge-or-your-seat adventure programming,” says Senior Programmer Lucy Lerner.

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