The town of Telluride has become a VentureWeb favourite since we teamed up with the Telluride Tourism Board back in 2008. And it was through that relationship that we were first started talking to the team at Mountainfilm last fall.
Mountainfilm in Telluride is an organization fueled by filmmaking, adventure and activism, and its flagship program is their legendary Mountainfilm Festival which they describe as a "one-of-a-kind combination film festival, ideas summit and jamboree." Stemming from that festival are the worldwide MF Tour, Outside Television programming, and its educational outreach initiative, Making Movies that Matter, among many other projects.
Mountainfilm is the oldest, longest running Mountain Film Festival in the world. Dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth sustaining. Up until very recently, their online presence was unable to demonstrate this passion or truly engage its audience.
Mountainfilm and VentureWeb partnered in late December with one goal in mind: growing Mountainfilm's year-round relevance worldwide and becoming more than just the festival. They saw a revitalized website as the primary engine to make that happen. Inspired by the organization's tagline—Celebrating Indomitable Spirit—we dove into the project in earnest.
At the onset we had an existing website, rich in content but lacking in user-friendly design. Re-branding was in progress with another agency and not due for completion until the beginning of February (delivery, in fact, turned out to be the end of that month). And the annual Festival, for which the site is an integral planning tool and source for ticket sales, takes place on the Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. Faced with a near 'indomitable' challenge to hit the pre-Festival delivery timeline, we hit the ground running when we kicked off the project in January.
No cutting corners during our Discovery and Planning phases - we need to really drill into our clents' requirements specs and understand the organization before we can design the build. But to expedite the process given the delayed Design assets, we chose to collaborate with the client on the wireframe process, typically an internal stage. Mountainfilm was especially engaged at this level, involving both the Executive and Festival Directors along with the dedicated project team to ensure their vision of a content-driven, TED.com news-style site was realized.
Development began with the decision to build on the newly released Drupal 7 and to create a custom-built Festival schedule and event mechanism to maximize the user experience and greatly improve the functionality and editability for the organization. Interlinking related content was a priority to best manage the large amount of content shared on the site, ranging from films to sponsors, events and ongoing initiatives, and in order to create an intuitive user experience. We were able to migrate their existing WordPress blog content to the new site, while Mountainfilm handled the epic task of uploading all of the films, personalities, and pages throughout.
Four months later, the new www.mountainfilm.org has been unveiled on schedule and our client recently addressed a note to our team that began with, "Hello Kings and Queens of Awesomeness" which we thought rather flattering. Mountainfilm Executive Director, Peter Kenworthy, announced the launch in a media release and also shared in an email to his Board that,"Our partners at VentureWeb were able to grasp David's [Holbrooke, Festival Director] creative vision and translate it into a very powerful medium that blends all that we are about: stories, pictures, exploration, events, issues and inspiration. The collaboration between Mountainfilm and VentureWeb was fluid and efficient."
The success of the new site will be measured by its ability to foster the growth of their online community, specifically through festival ticket sales and donations, increased time on site, and, a true measure of influence, through the sharing of content via social media. The challenge for Mountainfilm will be keeping the content fresh and engaging year-round so that the news-driven feel of the design continues to educate and inspire their audiences.
Tickets are still available for this year's Festival, or you can follow VentureWeb or Mountainfilm on Twitter for an ongoing report.