Telluride Mountainfilm Festival returns to Laramie

(Photo courtesy of the Mountainfilm Festival coordinator) The film festival discusses important environmental and cultural issues over a two-day period.

For the sixth straight year, the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival will return to Laramie’s Gryphon Theatre for two nights of short documentaries centering around environmental and cultural issues as well as outdoor recreation. The festival, which started in Telluride, Colorado in 1979, is an annual event which takes place every memorial day week and showcases film, art and guest lectures that embody the mountain spirit.

An international film tour branches out from the festival and features hand-picked films specific to each stop on the tour. The Haub School of Environment and Natural resources is responsible for bringing the tour to Laramie every year. While most venues on the tour require paid admission, the Haub School strives to keep the event free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door for student-led environment and natural resources clubs.

The Haub School’s Courtney Carlson heads up the task of choosing the films for the festival.

“I try to pick a selection that represents a diversity of voices and perspectives. You’ll see films this year from an indigenous group in Alaska, films about sea levels rising in Bangladesh, you’ll see a story of a Pakistani refugee who’s come to the U.S.,” said Carlson.

Most of the films cover environmental issues and nature-society relations, however, Carlson says she always chooses several adventure-oriented films. For this festival, Carlson is aiming to incorporate an underrepresented demographic in outdoor recreation.

“This year we were being mindful about making sure that female mountain athletes are represented because historically they haven’t really been as well represented as men have,” said Carlson.

The festival will also be assisted by the school’s Zero Waste Program. In the past, the Zero Waste Program has sponsored the annual Sheppard Symposium, but this is the first year a university department has backed the program. Last week, the program held its kickoff event, a pancake breakfast held at the Kendall House.

Zero Waste Coordinator, Zayne Hebbler, discusses the success of the program.

“We made sure that no single-use plastics were involved, and that everything that could be recycled was recycled,” Hebbler said.

Despite serving approximately 75 people, the program’s ability to mitigate waste was quite impressive.

“The waste that went to the landfill was under a half pound, our compost was about five to six pounds and recycling totaled around two pounds,” said Hebbler. “Conversely from last year we filled two trash cans full of landfill waste.”

The Mountainfilm Festival will be selling beer and wine at a cash bar and in order to mitigate waste, the Zero Waste Program will provide student volunteers to oversee the recycling of cans and answering any questions about composting or recycling that any patrons may have. These student volunteers, dubbed “Trash Talkers,” are highly valuable to the program. Anyone interested in volunteering as a Trash Talker for Mountainfilm or any future Zero Waste event is encouraged to contact Mr. Hebbler at zhebbler@uwyo.edu.

The festival will be a two-night event kicking off on Thursday, Oct. 12 and again on Friday. There are several items being raffled off this year including lift tickets to the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area, gear donated by Cross Country Connections as well as gift certificates to Night Heron Books. Films begin at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Further information on the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival and tour can be found on their website, https://www.mountainfilm.org.

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