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A gorgeous day during Mountainfilm which takes place in Telluride, Colorado over Memorial Day weekend; Photograph Courtesy Mountainfilm Festival

Ten Reasons to Love Mountainfilm in Telluride

Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado, is our favorite weekend of the year. Its mix of provocative films, big-thinking filmmakers, photographers, writers, and adventurers in attendance, old and new friends, and incredible access to outdoor adventures over Memorial Day weekend (May 25 to 30, 2016) in the uber-beautiful San Juans just can’t be beat. Today the fest announced its impressive list of films—spanning mountain culture, human rights, the environment, and adventure—that will screen at the 37th annual soiree. As a sponsor, we at Nat Geo couldn’t be more excited get back to the breathtaking box canyon (it’s gorgeous and located at 8,750 feet).

Tickets for this year’s National Parks Centennial-themed festival are already selling out, so get yours soon. Or attend the many free events involving an impressive mix of the world’s most innovative thinkers who are motivated to change the world.

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David Holkbrooke, the esteemed Festival Director of Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado; Photograph courtesy Ben Moon

With just a few weeks more to wait, we asked festival director David Holbrooke to share with us ten things we should look forward to this year. (Read his recent piece on mountain biking with memories of his father, the late Richard Holbrooke, in Bosnia.)

1) Free movies in the park, starting Wednesday, May 25, and going through Sunday, including the Adrenaline lineup of some of the most rad adventure films out there. There is also a lot of other free events, including a dazzling Gallery Walk, an array of Town Talks, and so much more—which is good because passes for the festival are almost sold out. If you are interested in attending, go to to see what is still available.

2) The Moving Mountains Symposium on the National Parks Centennial, featuring a terrific roster of adventurers and artists, writers and rangers, who will tell us why “America’s Best Idea” needs to be both celebrated and also reimagined in some ways, since it is under threat.

3) A record number of world premieres of films that will move and inspire you in a panoply of ways, including Almost Sunrise about a pair of veterans who walk across America to heal themselves after their harrowing service in Iraq and Sea Gypsies, a nautical documentary about a rambunctious crew of wanderers who sail through some of the most challenging waters on the planet.

4) The special guests who are coming to town from as far away as Nepal (Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, the National Geographic Adventure People’s Choice of the Year) and as close by as Basalt, Colorado (Nat Geo photographer Pete McBride, who walked with author Kevin Fedarko [The Emerald Mile] through a remarkable amount of the Grand Canyon). There will also be a tribute to the great Doug Tompkins, who died in a kayaking accident in Patagonia last December.

5) The Free Range Programming, which is free and gets the audience outside into the environs around Telluride. We are particularly excited about having our audience engage in shinrin-yoku, which translates to forest bathing, something explained beautifully in the National Geographic article, This is Your Brain on Nature by Florence Williams who will lead this outing. We are also looking forward to working with National Geographic on the Your Shot program that gets our audience into the woods with professional photographers from the magazine.

6) The Reading Frenzy (aka, the Mountainfilm book fair), which gathers some of the best and most eloquent minds together. Some of the authors in attendance this year include Arctic photographer Paul Nicklen, historian Douglas Brinkley, and writer Terry Tempest Williams, who will be here with her new book called The Hour of Land, which will only be available in Telluride at that point.

7) Exciting spring weather. Last year, it snowed like crazy during the festival, something that snowboarder Jeremy Jones took full advantage of by hiking up and riding down some of the biggest backcountry lines in the Telluride area. This year, Jeremy can’t come, but snowboarder Travis Rice will be here, giving us a preview of his new film, The Fourth Phase, and pro skier Sierra Quitiquit will be in attendance as well with her new film, Sierra Quitiquit, How Did I Get Here.

8) The Kidz Kino program, which happens Monday morning and brings out a bunch of rambunctious young ones who get to be inspired by Mountainfilm programming.

9) A remarkable amount of ridiculously good short films that were made by many young filmmakers who were inspired to do so by coming to the festival and thinking, “Hell, I can do that.” And it turns out they can because the craftsmanship and surefootedness of these talented people is nothing but awe-inspiring. Don’t miss the premieres of Mile 19, Edges, 1-800-Give-Us-Your-Kidney, and so many more.

10) This list is really just beginning as there is SO much more on tap, including what will be a terrific Saturday night party thrown by Nat Geo Adventure, our VR Studio put together by the good people of RYOT films and countless friendships formed, unforgettable surprises and indelible moments.