Educational Initiative Garners Praise, Support
Aug 27, 2009 | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Colorado Council on the Arts Approves Funding for Pioneering Program – ‘Making Movies That Matter’

TELLURIDE – “Making Movies That Matter,” an educational outreach program launched by Mountainfilm last year, has been approved for funding by The Colorado Council on the Arts. In a particularly competitive climate, the program received high marks from the state agency that receives its funds, in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts. Members of the CCA grant selection committee praised “Making Movies That Matter” for its “relevance, excellent teacher materials, strong implementation capacity, high quality of film artists and its impact on kids.”

The outreach program designed for middle and high school students is available free of charge from Mountainfilm. It introduces students to vital global issues through the medium of documentary films; the students are then taught basic editing techniques, with permission from the filmmakers, to distill the films they have studied into their own shortened renditions, adding graphics, music, voiceovers and other editorial elements of their choosing.

The best of these student films are then showcased at Mountainfilm’s annual festival.

“Our program reinforces core curriculum in a way that resonates particularly well with this age group,” says Mountainfilm’s Education Director Ellen Shelton. “At a critical juncture in their intellectual development, our program helps students make sense of the image-charged media they experience on a daily basis. And it gives them practical tools to make meaningful contributions to that media.”

The pilot stage of the program started in the spring of 2008 with two teachers and 20 students in the Ridgway and Ouray School districts.

In the spring of 2009 Shelton worked with seven teachers and 80 students in Seattle, Wash.; Santa Fe, N.M., Washington, D.C., Denver and the Telluride region. Shelton plans to continue expansion of the program both locally and nationwide over the coming year and will start the current cycle by training several teachers in her unique approach at a new technology-based charter school in Denver.

“Mountainfilm’s mission centers in education and inspiration,” says the organization’s Executive Director Peter Kenworthy. “To provide access to middle and high school students to some of the most powerful and important independent documentaries available, and to help them interpret and translate those works into their own creations, is exactly in line with that mission. We’re extremely excited by the success that Ellen’s program has enjoyed and by its tremendous potential. CCA’s approval of our grant request is really a great endorsement and validation of Ellen’s efforts.”

To learn more about “Making Movies That Matter,” contact Ellen Shelton at

About Mountainfilm: For 30 years, Mountainfilm has been committed to bringing ever-increasing levels of artistic excellence to its mission of educating and inspiring audiences about critical issues. The festival began as a venue to showcase climbing movies. It has grown to be a major proponent of adventure, awareness and activism. Celebrating indomitable spirit, Mountainfilm has the power to change lives. To learn more, visit
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