Sneak Peek: Mountainfilm in Telluride 2011

This week, Mountainfilm in Telluride promoters released the full program for the 32nd annual festival (May 25-30). Since there are more than 70 films on the schedule, we caught up with Mountainfilm's program director Emily Long to bring you a sneak peek at some of this year's most hotly anticipated movies (tune in next week, when we'll judge some of the other featured films by their trailers and highlight some of the action sports shorts).

Westword: Let's start with some of the biggies... Which films do you expect will be most popular this year?

Emily Long: If a Tree Falls is a documentary by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman about the Earth Liberation Front and the arrest of arsonist Daniel McGowan. It's a powerful look at extreme protest actions and some of the people on all sides of the ELF story. It premiered at Sundance, and I expect it's going to be one of the most talked-about films at Mountainfilm this year.

I also think Revenge of the Electric Car, from filmmaker Chris Paine, is exceptional. It's the follow-up to Who Killed the Electric Car , which was a big hit at Mountainfilm in 2006. Harry Shearer's Hurricane Katrina documentary The Big Uneasy will be another big one this year.

WW: Are there smaller films worth pointing out, films that might not be on peoples' radar but that you'd recommend?

EL: Every film on the program this year is outstanding, but for under-the-radar films I'd shout out The City Dark and Truck Farm, two films from director Ian Cheney, who is one of our symposium guests this year. Also: Roko Belik's new film Happy and Cindy Meehl's Buck, a beautiful film about a horsetrainer.  

The City Dark - Trailer from Wicked Delicate Films on Vimeo.

WW: Any others you'd like to give some extra attention to?

Mbambu and the Mountains of the Moon was one of five inaugural Mountainfilm Commitment Grant winners
Mbambu and the Mountains of the Moon was one of five inaugural Mountainfilm Commitment Grant winners
Photo courtesy

EL: One film I'm particularly excited about is Mbambu and the Mountains of the Moon, which is really special because it was made by Serbian filmmakers Lucian and Natasa Muntean, who won a $5,000 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant and an Apple computer last year to help get their film made. It's about a young girl in Uganda learning how to be a mountain guide, who also becomes part of this theater troupe in the community doing plays about poaching and ecotourism.

I'm also really partial to the climbing films, and this year we have a bunch of good ones, including Renan Ozturk's Towers of the Ennedi, about climbing in Chad, and Cold, Anson Fogel's film about the first successful winter ascent of Pakistan's Gasherbrum II.

COLD - TRAILER from Anson Fogel on Vimeo.

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