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"We as IAMF think, that it will be essential to continue to serve the audience’s desire and passion for adventures on the big screen"

Javier Barayazarra, President of the International Alliance for Mountain Film, on the importance of the Alliance, its goals, strengths, activities, and what the future holds for Mountain Film.

Q: What is the International Alliance for Mountain Film?

A: The International Alliance for Mountain Film is an institution whose primary goals are to promote, enhance, and preserve mountain cinema. The IAMF is the only expert center for professionals and organizations that work in the sector of Mountain Film and provides a globally operating network via its members, a museum, and 27 mountain film festivals, in 20 different countries and with events on 5 continents. 

Q: The Alliance is unique in its form in the Film Festival World and with 20 years in existence has a long history to look back at. What was the reason the Alliance was founded?

A: The IAMF was initiated through its founding members' passion for cinema and mountain culture. Inspired by the spirit of teamwork, they shared the vision of coming together to exchange ideas, experiences, and thinking of future projects, while strengthening their festivals and the Museum and promoting creatives, directors, producers, and the entire mountain community and its culture. Allow me to quote Sandra Tafner’s “A History of Passion: 2000-2020”, to summarize the IAMF: "the association was born as an impulse to look beyond borders and embrace new horizons."

Q: What are the main activities of the International Alliance for Mountain Film?

A: On the one hand, there is the work of strengthening ties of the union in the Mountain Culture Community. On the other hand, we encourage a conversation, the exchange of ideas, and collaboration among all members to share project ideas and activities. Under the umbrella of the IAMF, we promote initiatives such as the annual IAMF Grand Prize, the Days of Mountain Cinema – a Film directing master class – and the publication of books such as “Action Let's Climb! The history of mountaineering and climbing cinema” and “A History of Passion: 2000-2020”. “Action Let’s Climb” was published together with the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) and the Museum della Montagna de Turin. “A History of Passion: 2000-2020” is the latest release and reflects on 20 years of existence of the Alliance.

On an industry level, the IAMF promotes professional and creative exchanges and interchanges among filmmakers, athletes, the mountain community, and outdoor brands, facilitating the sharing of ideas and providing useful services to both the mountain film community and members of the Alliance.


Q: Mountain Films have gained a lot of popularity in the past years, what do you think how the genre will change in the coming years?

A: The Audience numbers from recent years show a strong trend towards Mountain cinema. The genre is evolving and expanding, while the love for mountain film and appreciation for mountain stories are as high as ever. What was significant in the past years, is that numerous creatives set their stories in the mountains, similar to filmmakers, that used the planet’s oceans and deserts to portray Shakespearian dramas or comedies. Not so long ago, mountain film was the documentation of exploits alone, but now it also is a vehicle for storytellers from outside the mountains to bring their narrative close to the campfire. A change also has appeared in how we consume media is developing: the expansion of new devices where you can enjoy inspiring or entertaining mountain stories anywhere and at any time are reaching a larger and more heterogeneous audience.

Also given the learning from the past year in a pandemic, we as IAMF think, that it will be essential to continue to serve the audience’s desire and passion for adventures on the big screen. The warmth and emotions that the viewers and the visitors of our festivals and exhibitions convey are our sources of energy, inspiration, and motivation to continue our in-person approach in a combination with online editions, when necessary.


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