May 20, 2015

Telluride Mountainfilm 2015 Live Coverage.

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“All you really need is a pass (or a handful of tickets), the schedule and an adventurous heart. Here are a few details, however, that could make the experience even more enjoyable.” 


Rachel and Meredith—producer and videographer of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis—go to Mountainfilm to explore, learn and take notes for future projects: 

Live Daily Updates: 

May 25, 2015
8:33 am

I’d like to start today’s update with a quote. I heard this quote during the screening of Drawn yesterday and knew it was a keeper. These words sum up my Mountainfilm experience because they encourage me to push my boundaries and to conquer my summits, whatever they may be:

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” ~ René Daumal

This quote references the highs and lows of life—we must see the highs to get through the lows. The more summits we conquer, the more knowledge we receive, the more tools we have to apply to our life once we descend those “mountains.”

This tension between highs and lows is a theme throughout Drawn as Jeremy Collins, artist and climber, is caught between mourning the death of his best friend and celebrating the birth of his newborn daughter. The film is intricately woven with Jeremy’s artwork to create an evocative story about risk, family and the draw of the mountains.

At the end of the film, Jeremy did a live drawing in honor of the late Dean Potter.


Here is the Drawn trailer to give you a better idea of this unique story:

After Drawn, I was inspired to go play in the mountains. I went for a jog up the canyon while listening to the new Rising Appalachia album—these soulful, bluegrassy tunes went well with the mountain views along my path. I’ve embedded the full album below, if you’d like to give it a listen:

Next up on my Mountainfilm schedule was Racing Extinction. This was hands down my favorite film of the weekend and I’m voting for it with my audience choice award ballot. This film brilliantly demonstrates the ongoing sixth extinction—kind of a big deal—in a way that appeals to a younger crowd. Let’s just say that breathtaking underwater imagery, light shows on the United Nations Headquarters and Elon Musk all make an appearance. The film was created to engage ages 15 to 35, because this is the last generation that could potentially change the direction of climate change. Go see it and join the race.

After Racing Extinction ended, director Louie Psihoyos and crew did a Q&A (pictured below). When asked if Louie was a vegan, he responded with, “My stomach is no longer a cemetery. There is no trail of death behind it.” What a boss.

One more quote from Racing Extinction that stuck with me:

“Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” ~ ancient Chinese proverb


The last film I saw on Sunday was Landfill Harmonic. This real-life Cinderella story emphasizes our basic human need for culture and our desire to play and listen to music. No matter where we’re from, be it the slums of Paraguay or the Upper East Side of New York City, we are united by music.

This film gave me the chills—granted the air conditioning was cranking in the theater—but I’m pretty sure my chills stemmed from the moving story and beautiful music. I won’t give too much of the story away, but I’ve included a teaser of the film below:

Welp, that concludes my Mountainfilm live coverage. What a ride! This festival blew me away and I can’t wait to come back next year. I’m currently making a list of all of the films I didn’t get to see this weekend so that I can binge watch them when I get home. Thanks for following my journey over the last few days. Hopefully I’ve given you some new films to watch and maybe even a little inspiration to conquer your own dreams.

I’ll leave you with a few songs from the Adrenaline 2015 lineup that screened the other night. These songs encapsulate the feeling of my Mountainfilm experience, enjoy!

Jumping for joy in Telluride: 

Meredith Meeks

May 24, 2015
10:22 am

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve seen more movies in the last 48 hours than I’ve seen in the past year. I am taking full advantage of my Mountainfilm pass and loving every minute of it—even though my eyes have started twitching a bit from all of the flickering screens.

I’ve always enjoyed watching an occasional documentary, but after the past two days I’ve developed a new obsession with them. Some of my favorite films from yesterday were 1,000 Cuts, Afterglow, Gnarly in Pink, Sufferfest 2, View From a Pedal Buggy and What’s Motivating Hayes. Topics ranging from fracking to little girls on skateboards to pesticides to glowing neon light suits while skiing. It was a sensory overload and I couldn’t get enough. 

In the middle of the day I decided to take a break and walked around town checking out the different shops. It was nice to take a pause from everything I was learning and to process the new information. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the activities going on, but I think it’s important for festival attendees to take some time to breathe and understand what they are experiencing. 

Although I’ve enjoyed most of the films I’ve seen, I wasn’t a huge fan of Bikes vs Cars. I saw this one mid-day yesterday and it seemed really long and a bit all over the place. I agreed with the overall message, but thought it needed to have more focus. I’m noticing the editing and fluidity of the films I’m seeing more than usual because I’m seeing them back to back. I feel like a movie critic or something!

As for today, I’m looking forward to seeing Drawn, Landfill Harmonic and Racing Extinction. I’m gearing up for another full day but will make sure to take breaks, and maybe check out a presentation or go for a hike or jog—if it doesn’t snow! Speaking of snow, the weather here is nuts. One minute it’s sunny, the next it’s raining, the next it’s snowing. Luckily I brought all of the jackets I own—I’ve never been an efficient packer.

My goal for the next two days is to focus in on the causes that I connect with most and to figure out a way to incorporate them in my life after this weekend. More to come soon!

Some photos from yesterday:

I made a friend who took this photo of me and he ended up emailing it to me this morning. So thoughtful!

Gus Gusciora

Telluride’s Farmers’ Market: 


Crazy snow and funny lookin’ bicycles!


May 23, 2015
9:37 am

I went into this weekend not really knowing what to expect and so far my senses have been rocked.

There is so much to do and see and so many interesting conversations to be had. Before I dove into the madness yesterday, I went for a run along the San Miguel River Trail. My dad taught me that running is the best way to get the lay of the land, so it’s become a tradition of mine. After my run I strolled through the gallery walk and saw the work of several talented artists. My favorites were Jeremey Collins and Massoud Hossaini.

Around 5:30 pm it was finally time to get in line to see my first film! Meredith and I went to get our queue at the Sheridan Opera House for the two films Denali and Meru. Denali is a seven minute film exploring the relationship between man and dog and it’s actually narrated by the dog. It might sound corny, but somehow it’s not. It reminded me that the relationships we have with our animals can be more vulnerable than the relationships we have with humans. My favorite line from the film talked about what it would be like if humans acted more like dogs. The line went something like, “We should all go absolutely nuts with excitement every single time our loved ones walk through the door.” Could be a fun/awkward experiment. Overall, this film warmed my heart and I highly recommend it.

Next up was Meru, a film about three climbers attempting a first ascent up an insanely jagged peak in India. First of all, this film is gorgeous to watch. There are these long exposure shots that made me feel like I was perched on the mountain. The three climbers each have their own struggles to deal with throughout the film—including head injuries and avalanches, yikes—and their perseverance is truly inspirational. I’ve never been that into climbing, but you don’t need to be to see this film. It’s about human triumph, cultural intersection and the possessed focus it takes to tackle our craziest dreams.

After Meru I saw Cartel Land which is pretty much one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It’s intense, intimate, shocking and depressing. I can’t really put this film into words, I just hope you’ll take the time to see this film when it’s released over the next year.

After a long day, Meredith and I had a local brewski from Telluride Brewing Company at the Last Dollar Saloon. The bar was buzzing with people in town for the festival and everyone was talking about the films they’d seen that night. I got some good recommendations for films I should see and added them to my schedule for the next couple of days.

Now that I’ve made it through my first day, I understand the flow of this festival and am suddenly obsessed with my schedule on the Mountainfilm app. I can’t wait to take advantage of all of the activities today and to continue to learn about things that are completely foreign to me. Will be back later with updates!

A photo from my run along the San Miguel River:

Rachel Nussbaum

May 22, 2015
10:15 am

Meredith Meeks

Rise and shine Mountain Film! We’re ready for ya!

Meredith and I got to Telluride late last night around 1:00 am. I kept saying to Meredith that I couldn’t wait for the morning because I knew how gorgeous the mountains would look. We woke up this morning to breathtaking views and that fresh pine smell that seems to linger in the air here. We downloaded the Mountainfilm app and made a rough plan for the day. Our day looks something like this: symposium, luncheon, run/hike, gallery walk and then lots of movies to choose from!

Right now I’m updating this blog from a cafe in town called The Butcher & The Baker. They make an excellent Americano—much needed after our long drive last night. There is a buzz of excitement in here from all of the people in town for the weekend. Everyone looks so glamorous in a mountainy, rugged kind of way. Next stop, symposium!


May 20, 2015
1:30 pm

I’ve never been to Mountainfilm, but I’m so friggin’ excited! Here are a few things I’m doing to prepare for the weekend:

1. Reviewing the list of 100 films.

I’m most looking forward to Japan by Van, Leave it as it is, Down to Nothing, Afterglow, and We are Fire. I’m sure I will be pleasantly surprised by the other films on the list.

2. Reading over the schedule.

I’m most looking forward to the SymposiumGallery WalkTown Talks and free movies under the stars.

3. Checking out the maps to get my bearings:

mountain filmmountain film

4. Gathering my to-go cups and tableware.

Mountainfilm is a low impact festival. They’ve reduced their waste by 80 percent in recent years. I’m psyched to be a part of a festival that cares about our environment and walks its talk.

5. Putting together a rockin’ playlist for the seven hour roadtrip from Boulder to Telluride.

A few of my favorite playlists on elephant journal:

1. May this inspire a Summer Roadtrip.

2. A playlist to inspire change. 

3. Turn these tunes up loud and dance around.

4. Songs on Repeat: What we’re listening to over in elephantland.


Telluride Mountainfilm’s mission: Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, adventures worth pursuing and conversations worth sustaining.

Here’s a taste of what Mountainfilm looks like:




10 Reasons to Go to Mountainfilm in Telluride.

Mountainfilm Lesson #1: There’s a fine line between caring & caring too much…

A photo guide to the inside of Mountainfilm, in Telluride.


Photos: Mountainfilm, Rachel Nussbaum, Meredith Meeks, Gus Gusciora 



Meredith Meeks is elephant journal’s video guru. When she’s not obsessing about the shot, she can be found riding her bike through the mountains, climbing gnarly routes (5.9 please), yoga-ing it up or daydreaming about whitewater kayaking (even though it scares her!). A southern belle from New Orleans, Meredith enjoys good food and dancing to the beat of her own drum. She lives for the spontaneous adventure and is always ready to take on whatever comes her way. Life is good. Simple as that.

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