The winning applicants were chosen from a field of over one hundred contenders in the granting initiative, a program introduced last year as a means to help ensure that important stories are told – and heard. The five winning 2011 grantees are:
Suzan Beraza, whose feature-length documentary film, Uranium Drive In, is about a boom-bust uranium mining community in rural southwestern Colorado and the heated battle there over a new proposed uranium mill – the first, if approved, to be built in the United States in over 25 years. Beraza’s last film, Bag It, won the 2010 Mountainfilm Audience Choice Award.
Hal Clifford and Jason Houston’s Picture the Leviathan, a short documentary film about James Prosek, the author of 11 books, winner of a Peabody Award, and a well-established artist by the time he finished college. Prosek paints (in the tradition of the 19th-century naturalists) creatures that are vanishing; this film follows him on a quest to paint approximately 40 life-sized Atlantic fish after seeing them alive.
Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, the award-winning Felt Soul Media team, to go towards their next film, tentatively titled Amend, about a national movement to bring down dams across North America.
Drew Ludwig, a photographer who will travel the northeast coast of Japan by foot to explore the intersection between art and activism in the debris of this year’s tsunami. At Mountainfilm 2011, Ludwig exhibited memorable photographs of the gloves he found as he walked through Louisiana after the Gulf Oil spill.
Allison Otto and Carole Snow, whose documentary film, Keeper of the Mountains, is about the legendary Everest historian Elizabeth Hawley, now in her late 80s. Mountainfilm is excited to partner on this project with the American Alpine Club, which will fund the $5,000 grant. “The stories climbers tell influence safety, open new terrain and inspire us all,” said Alpine Club Executive Director Phil Powers. “The American Alpine Club is proud to support excellence in telling the climber’s story through a Mountainfilm Commitment Grant."