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The 2008 Alpinist Film Festival

Snow night, the first night of the Alpinist Film Festival, was a sold out showing of six films. The People’s Choice winner for the evening was Let It Ride: The Craig Kelly Story, which chronicled snowboarding legend Craig Kelly’s life and his influence on snowboarding’s development. [Photo] David Swift

Four nights. Twenty-two films. Eight premieres. One Grand Prize winner.

The fourth annual Alpinist Film Festival showcased some of the world’s finest climbing, skiing and surfing films, from January 17-20 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. More than a hundred films were entered, and more than 2,500 people attended to watch those selected.

The Festival winners are listed below. On subsequent pages you’ll find a list of presenters and premieres (from all over the world), Alpinist’s green initiatives (which led to a single bag of trash over four nights of events), and our featured non-profit, Surf Aid International (and how the $7,000+ raised will go to save lives in the places of our inspiration).

Each evening the audience voted by ballot to choose their favorite film; the favorites of Snow, Surf and Stone nights each won the People’s Choice Award and were entered to win the 2008 Grand Prize, which again was selected by the audience at the People’s Choice Ceremonies on January 20th.

Peter Mortimer, whose recently completed short film, “Diamonds are Forever,” had its world premiere on Stone Night, Saturday, January 19. Mortimer had finished filming less than a week before; he finished the edits that morning. “Diamonds are Forever” won the People’s Choice Award for Stone Night. [Photo] David Swift

2008 Alpinist Film Festival Awards

GRAND PRIZE: Sliding Liberia

Let it Ride: The Craig Kelly Story (Canada/2007/84 minutes), directed by Jacques Russo and produced by Locomotion Films

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD (Surf): Sliding Liberia (United States/2007/48 minutes), directed by Britton Caillouette and Nicholai Lidow

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD (Stone): “Diamonds are Forever” (United States/2008/10 minutes), directed by Peter Mortimer of Sender Films

Thanks to Patagonia, the People’s Choice Award winners each received $750 gift certificates for Patagonia clothing. Sliding Liberia was awarded with an additional $1,500 gift certificate from Patagonia.

Yvon Chouinard presented the 1963 film Sentinel: The West Face on Stone Night, January 19. In the late 1960s climbing was in its formative years, and its crucible was Yosemite Valley. The film captured Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard’s ascent of the West Face of the Sentinel and the poetry of the nascent sport. Barry Corbet, the inspiration for The Alpinist Film Festival, wrote and directed the film. [Photo] David Swift

About twenty athletes, filmmakers and icons presented at the 2008 Alpinist Film Festival. Kicking off Snow Night were Jackson’s Mayor, Mark Barron, and recently injured hometown hero, Resi Stiegler. The Olympic skier received two standing ovations–one for taking the podium, the other for calling on stage ten other Jackson-based winter Olympians, nine of whom were present.

Snow Night featured a tribute to Jackson Hole’s many winter Olympians on Thursday, January 17. The winter Olympians were introduced by Resi Stiegler, that evening’s MC. The honored Olympians were Resi (2006), her father Pepi Stiegler (1960 and 1964), Pete Karns (1972), Mark Hagen (1976, 1980 and 1984), Hans and Nancy Johnstone (1988 and 1992, respectively), Erich Wilbrecht (1992), Jim Curran (1992), Tommy Moe (1992, 1994 and 1998) and Hannah Hardaway (2002).

[Photo] David Swift

Surf Night followed with an equally impressive line-up that included professional surfer Dan Malloy, filmmaker Dana Brown and his son–eventually–Wes, who had flown in from Peru just minutes before he presented. The entire Sliding Liberia crew also introduced their film and fielded questions about the nature of surfing in such an unusual, war-torn location.

And for all of us alpinists, Stone Night was perhaps the most exciting, with Yvon Chouinard’s stirring introduction to the 1963 film Sentinel: The West Face, in which he and Royal Robbins reenact their then-new route in Yosemite. Barry Corbet–whose passing was the inspiration for the Alpinist Film Festival–was the film’s narrator. Filmmaker Peter Mortimer and pro climber Steph Davis presented the world premiere of their new short, “Diamonds are Forever,” and spoke to the challenges of climbing ropeless and filming on the 900-foot Diamond. They had finished filming less than a week prior, and Mortimer was hot out of the editing studio (his hotel room), yet the film captivated the audience, who voted it to win that night’s People’s Choice Award.

Sliding Liberia director Nicholai Lidow sits next to Surf Night presenter Wes Brown. Wes flew from Peru the day before, and his flight into Jackson was delayed. He arrived just in time to join his father Dana in presenting footage of three generations of Brown family surf films, including an excerpt from their yet-to-be-released film High Water on Friday, January 18. [Photo] David Swift

2008 Alpinist Film Festival Presenters


Mark Barron, Mayor of Jackson and 2008 AFF Opening Speaker

Resi Stiegler, Olympic skier and Snow Night’s Keynote Speaker

Rob Kingwill, professional snowboarder and presenter of Let it Ride: The Craig Kelly Story

Darrell Miller and Matt Coombs of Storm Show Studios, presenters of “Speed Riding: Attack of the Gringos”

Frank Pickell, director and AFF presenter of “Mountain Town: The Grasshopper”


Dan Malloy, professional surfer, Surf Night’s Master of Ceremonies and presenter of the world premiere of Sliding Liberia

Dana and Wes Brown, surfing filmmakers and presenters of Step Into Liquid and High Water

Britton Caillouette, Nicholai Lidow and Chris Del Moro, film crew and presenters of the world premiere of Sliding Liberia


Yvon Chouinard, rock legend, founder of Patagonia and Black Diamond and presenter of Sentinel: The West Face

Steph Davis, professional rock climber and presenter of “Diamonds are Forever”

Peter Mortimer, filmmaker and presenter of “Diamonds are Forever”


Mark Barron, Mayor of Jackson and AFF Mountain Town Panelist

Jonathan Schecter, founder of 1 Percent for the Tetons and AFF Mountain Town Panelist

Frank Pickell, presenter of Mountain Town: Featuring Nick Devore and AFF Mountain Town Panelist

Andy Schwartz, Teton County Commissioner and AFF Mountain Town Panelist

Leslie Bahn, AFF producer (left) stands with Steph Davis, Stone Night presenter, during intermission. Davis’s free solos on the Diamond face of Long’s Peak were the subject of Diamonds are Forever. After the film’s world premiere Davis answered audience questions about the film and her mindset during the climbs. [Editor’s Note: See Davis’s article “Stripped” in Issue 23 to read her personal account of the solos.] [Photo] David Swift

2008 Alpinist Film Festival Premieres


“Mountain Town: The Grasshopper” [world premiere]

“Versus” [North American premiere]

“Speed Riding: Attack a Popow Land” [North American premiere]


Sliding Liberia [world premiere]


“Diamonds are Forever” [world premiere]

“Great White Fright” [North American premiere]

The Beckoning Silence [US premiere]

“Climber” [US premiere]

Thanks to composting and recycling, only one bag of trash (pictured here) went into a landfill after all four nights of Alpinist Film Festival events. Additionally, with funding from Patagonia, the AFF purchased thirty tons of carbon credits from NativeEnergy, which will apply them toward reducing the installation and sales costs of a wind-turbine project in the Midwest. [Photo] David Swift

In keeping with the commitment to take steps toward preserving the places in which adventure athletes play (Alpinist is published on 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper with custom soy-based inks), the 2008 Alpinist Film Festival began a series of green initiatives that reduced waste and offset the Festival’s entire estimated carbon footprint–thirty tons–with renewable energy credits. We could not have taken these steps without the support of Patagonia, the Official 2008 Green Sponosor, and the other companies listed below.

Perhaps most astounding was that–over four nights, with 2,500 attendees–only one bag of waste went to the landfill thanks to a composting and recycling campaign.

The Alpinist Film Festival selected Native Energy as the provider of carbon offset services. NativeEnergy provides offsets from small- and utility-scale wind projects as well as farm-methane-capture projects. They also help to design projects that create sustainable economic benefits for Native Americans, Alaska Native Villages and other local communities, and that help family farmers compete with large agribusiness interests. The AFF’s purchase of thirty tons of carbon credits from NativeEnergy will help support the sales and installations of German-designed wind turbines remanufactured and customized for Midwest conditions.

Christian Beckwith, AFF director, opens the 2008 Alpinist Film Festival at Walk Festival Hall. [Photo] David Swift

New Belgium Brewing–along with supplying dozens of kegs filled with delicious beer–supported our composting effort by providing biodegradable cups made from corn resin.

Teton Power provided the auditing services that determined the Alpinist Film Festival’s carbon footprint. That audit can be read in detail here. Teton Power also set up the Festival’s Relationship with Terra Firma Organics for our commercial-scale composting.

Jonathan Schechter, founder of 1 Percent for the Tetons, MCed the Mountain Town Matinee on Sunday, January 20. The Matinee premiered three films including The Lost People of Mountain Village, Resorting to Madness, and Mountain Town that explore the phenomenon of resort communities in transition. After the films, Schechter moderated a panel discussion aimed at what Teton County elected officials could do to help preserve Jackson Hole’s unique mountain town characteristics. The panel included Teton County Commission Chair Andy Schwartz, Jackson Mayor Mark Barron and Frank Pickell, the director of Mountain Town.
[Photo] David Swift

SurfAid Executive Assistant Elizabeth Ritter stands next to Dan Malloy, Surf Night MC, and explains how Surf Aid International helps educate Indonesia’s Mentawai people about malaria and other preventable diseases. More than $7,000 was raised for SurfAid International through the silent auctions held over the three nights and from donations. [Photo] David Swift

Knowing that the places of our athletic and spiritual inspiration often need our help, each year the Festival chooses one non-profit organization as its designated charity. Proceeds from the Festival are donated to the charity in the Festival’s name (nearly $20,000 to date), and the charity is showcased throughout the Festival to bring awareness to its cause. The 2008 Alpinist Film Festival supported SurfAid International as its featured non-profit.

SurfAid International was founded in 2000 by Dr. Dave Jenkins, who the year before had traveled to the islands off the western coast of Sumatra in search of perfect waves. What he found instead were people suffering and dying from the ravages of malaria and other preventable diseases, Dr. Dave founded SurfAid, an organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs. SurfAid currently features seven programs in 234 village that help the more than 100,000 residents overcome deadly, yet very preventable, diseases.

The mission of SurfAid is to improve the health of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. For more information about SurfAid, and to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit the SurfAid International website.

Last but not least: don’t forget that Tami Knight, one of our favorite climbing cartoonists and certainly our favorite eccentric Cannuck, rolled out a number of R-rated Alpinist Film Festival blogs. You can find them all in our AFF Blog Archives.

At the VIP Party before Snow Night, Yvon Chouinard–legendary climbing pioneer and founder of the clothing and gear company Patagonia–went through his presenter bag and returned items he did not need. The three volunteers laughed hardest when he pulled out a Patagonia catalog. [Photo] David Swift