TELLURIDE – Author, adventurer and photographer Wade Davis will host this year’s Mountainfilm winter fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 26, at the Sheridan Opera House. Five projects recently awarded $5,000 each will be highlighted.
A selection of clips and trailers from the projects – which range from a documentary about America’s consumption of computers and the resultant hazardous waste created in pursuit of the latest technology to a film about a 16-year-old girl from a small village at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, who wants to be the first in her family to complete secondary school – will be screened.
Davis will anchor the program as well as speak about another grant project, Sacred Headwaters, Sacred Journey, a photographic exposition by Paul Colangelo about the so-called Serengeti of the North.
The project is especially near and dear to Davis, a frequent visitor to this region that is also the shared birthplace of three of British Columbia’s great salmon-bearing rivers, the Stikine, Skeena and Nass, as well as one of the largest predator-prey ecosystems in North America that is now threatened by resource development.
“It’s hard to adequately or accurately capture Wade with a simple title like ‘author’ or ‘adventurer,’” said Mountainfilm Executive Director Peter Kenworthy. “The list of his titles is just too long – photographer, scholar, conservationist, filmmaker, anthropologist, ethnobotanist, professional speaker – he’s really something of a Renaissance man. Of all the fascinating and eloquent speakers we host at our festival every year, Wade is the one who has attracted the biggest, most dedicated Mountainfilm following.”
Mostly through his work with the Harvard Botanical Museum, Davis spent more than three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller that appeared in ten languages and was later released by Universal as a motion picture. His other books include Penan: Voice for the Borneo Rain Forest (1990), Shadows in the Sun (1993), Nomads of the Dawn (1995), The Clouded Leopard (1998), Rainforest (1998), Light at the Edge of the World (2001), The Lost Amazon (2004), Grand Canyon (2008), Book of Peoples of the World (ed. 2008), One River (1996), and, The Wayfinders, Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (2009).
Davis has written for National Geographic, Newsweek, Premiere, Outside, Omni, Harpers, Fortune, Men's Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, Natural History, Utne Reader, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Globe, and Mail.
His photographs have been featured in a number of exhibits and have been widely published, appearing in some 20 books and more than 80 magazines, journals, and newspapers. His research has been the subject of more than 700 media reports and interviews in Europe, North and South America, and the Far East, and has inspired numerous documentary films as well as three episodes of the television series The X Files.
A professional speaker for 20 years, Davis has lectured at the National Geographic Society, American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and California Academy of Sciences, as well as many other museums and some 200 universities, including Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Yale, and Stanford universities. He has spoken at the Aspen Institute, Bohemian Grove, Young President’s Organization, and TED Conference.
Along with Davis, Katie Mustard, one of the five grantees, will be a special guest and will speak about her film, Soul of the Sea, that profiles the unrelenting desire of one woman – Hayley Shephard – to solo kayak the most challenging waters on the planet for the sake of saving the Albatross – the world’s largest flying bird that is on the brink of extinction.
Kenworthy said the Opera House event on Dec. 26 will be “fun, fascinating and inspiring – so, classic Mountainfilm.” He urged anyone wishing to support Mountainfilm’s mission of educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, whether attending the Opera House event or not, to visit the nonprofit organization’s online auction and sale running through the end of the month at Mountainfilm.org.
“We have huge discounts on great sponsor merchandise – Wagner skis, Osprey and JanSport packs, First Ascent down jackets – and one-off opportunities like a lunch with Tom Shadyac, a kayak trip with Hayley Shephard and a day climbing with Steve House,” Kenworthy said. “There are amazing festival packages from our lodging partners, too. Get some great deals on worthwhile purchases and help Mountainfilm all at the same time.”
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. The theater presentation is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. Tickets are $100 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under and are available at mountaimnfilm.org or at the door.