June 3, 2011
Goldman Prize winners Hilton Kelley (2011) and Maria Gunnoe (2009) spent Memorial Day weekend at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado. Mountainfilm has been “Celebrating the Indomitable Spirit” for 32 years, and is dedicated to shedding light on important issues, cultures, and ideas all over the world. Kelley and Gunnoe were showcased at this year’s event for defending the environment.
At the symposium, Kelley spoke about the campaign he leads in Port Arthur, Texas, against eight petrochemical plants that have poisoned the air and compromised the health of his community. The short film about Kelley’s experience, My Toxic Reality was screened at the festival. Ursula Sladek, another 2011 Goldman Prize winner, was also featured in the short film The Grid.
Kelley had this to say about his experience at Mountainfilm:
“Telluride was a once in a life time experience. Never before have I been in such a beautiful place and in the company of so many people who were of like minds when it comes to protecting the environment. This experience help me understand there are many people that really do care about this planet on which we live and are willing to work hard to protect it.
At the Telluride “Mountain Film” fest I was able to share my reasons for taking a stand to help protect the environment and the health of humans. After doing so, the audiences were very pleased and wanted to know how they could help. They thanked me for telling my story and for helping them become inspired to take action.”
Also a symposium speaker, Gunnoe spoke against mountaintop removal coal mining, a practice which has devastated many communities in Appalachia. Gunnoe, a native West Virginian, is featured prominently in the new documentary film The Last Mountain. Check out the trailer below and find showtimes in a city near you.