Category Archives: Mountainfilm

Must-see “Limited Screening” Baato Begins the 2020 Mountainfilm Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Nothing quite like leaping into uncharted waters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Mountainfilm Festival re-imagined this year’s edition into a virtual experience. And boy, am I glad they did. With over 100 on-demand films and presentations over that I can watch on my time and from the comforts of my home theatre, I sprang out of bed, logged into my newly created account to access my festival (thank you, Nora Bernard), I spied Baato, a limited screening feature.

Without further adieu, I settled myself into a magnificent journey to a mountain peak in Nepal. And, it wasn’t by helicopter. Filmmakers Lucas Millard and Kate Stryker managed to capture an intimate portrait of a family in remote eastern Nepal collecting medicinal herbs, before making an annual 300-kilometer trek, partly on foot and partly by ramshackle bus, to lowland, urban markets – the nearest economic marketplace for their harvested medicinal herbs.

And, like any major endeavor, this one begins with the first step of many as the group sets out by foot with the women carrying the traditional, cultural load while the men complain about how difficult this walking portion of the journey is as they down a simple, collegiate-style backpack. Along the way, however, a three-part narrative emerges as Nepal is undergoing national development and the filmmakers capture a major road project being undertaken to link this area of Nepal to the southern border of China promising less walking and perhaps a less arduous life in some distant future. The massive project has employed many manual laborers, allowed for heavy construction equipment imports, and has a detrimental effect on local farming patches.

Deftly, Baato illuminates developmental pratfalls as road engineers take bribes to avoid destroying homes. Meanwhile,  the herb collectors plot to avoid shakedowns by police and bus operators as they miraculously make their way to market. This is an observant film as the viewer witnesses a deep dive into a Himalayan culture engaged in a slow and chaotic, yet inexorable transition to modern life. Excellent cinematography, compelling narrative coupled with a mesmerizing soundtrack makes this documentary a “must-see!”

Stay tuned for more as 2020 Mountainfilm Festival is just beginning.

Baato limited Screening



Starting now. Mountainfilm. Put your seatbelt on!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2020 Mountainfilm Intro by Stephen Burns. I’m putting my seatbelt on!

As you’d expect from a film festival with a penchant to inspire audiences to create a better world, Mountainfilm, a documentary film festival that showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political, and social justice issues that matter, has gone virtual in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Mountainfilm edition is featuring over 100 on-demand films and presentations over that viewers can watch at their leisure from the comfort of home in an extended, 10-day festival. To experience Mountainfilm at home, all you really need is a pass and an adventurous heart.

This year’s Guest Director is Academy Award-winning filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, (The Cove (Mountainfilm 2009). His most recent film The Game Changers (Mountainfilm 2018) examines the health benefits of plant-based diets, particularly on elite athletes.

Listen as Psihoyos shares what makes Mountainfilm his “go-to” festival year after year.

Until next time, I look forward to seeing you at the movies!

HollywoodGlee in downtown Telluride, Colo., during the 2019 Telluride Film Festival. (Photo credit: Maya Altarac, Telluride Film Festival Production Staff)