Adventure Film Picks Flicks for 2012

Adventure Film founder Jonny Copp

After several weeks of an arduous selection process the Adventure Film Festival released its 2012 line-up of movies to be presented at the Boulder Theater and other venues October 4-6. Continuing the high standards of excellence set by festival creator Jonny Copp, the annual fall celebration of the active lifestyle promises an exciting weekend of outdoor inspired art and culture with an ambitious roster of 38 films that represent the very best the genre has to offer.

“This is making our film festival set apart from everyone else, because we’re involving these different amazing people that are creating the most beautiful artwork and photography and live music and live performance and even dance,” said Festival Director Aimee Copp. “It’s definitely taken a direction I think my brother would be so proud of.”

Three years after his tragic death in avalanche while on expedition in China with fellow climber Micah Dash and cameraman Wade Johnson, Copp’s Adventure Film vision continues under the leadership of his sister. The three-day program, expanded to include a variety of live entertainment and education opportunities, aims to encourage the next generation of artists and explorers.

Here’s the complete list of the films selected. More information on tickets and showtimes visit

Baseball in the Time of Cholera
(28 minutes; 2011)
David Darg and Bryn Mooser As a Cholera epidemic rages in Haiti, the United Nations denies responsibility for introducing the disease despite glaring evidence suggesting Nepalese peacekeepers are to blame. “Baseball in the Time of Cholera” is the story of a young Haitian boy who plays in Haiti’s first little league baseball team and the Haitian Lawyer seeking action from the UN. As the epidemic spreads, the two stories intersect in the struggle for survival and justice.

The Beauty of the Irrational
(6 minutes; 2012)

The African Attachment
Human beings donʼt always make rational decisions. But making irrational decisions is precisely what makes us human. These decisions, based on an impulse or a feeling, often lead us to those perfect moments when it feels great to be alive. “The Beauty of the Irrational” follows Ryan Sandes, a South African Ultra-Runner, as he returns to the Fish River Canyon to run the 5-day, 84km Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail in the fastest time possible. He completes the run, self-supported, in a record time of 6 hours and 57minutes.

Blue Obsession
(8 minutes; 2011)
Alan Gordon
Every excursion he makes is a first ascent. That’s because the tipping icebergs and calving face of the Juneau Ice field are melting—exposing new surfaces almost more quickly than filmmaker and climber Aaron Gordon can document them. With awesome cinematography amidst the blue-glowing light of ice caves, ridges, and floes, Gordon examines the effect that global warming is having on his own backyard—and he conquers some epic lines in the process.

The Equation
(20:25 minutes; 2012)
Jeremy Collins
In this film visual art, mythical adventure and existential philosophy collide to tell the tale of Dr. Julianne Devreau’s quest to find the breathing orchid. As his journey takes him farther and deeper, and ultimately into the depths of the human condition, the doctor unsuspectingly discovers an equation for new life. “The Equation” in its simple beauty expresses the relationships between given quantities (the known) and the quantities yet to be determined (the unknown)…and it may just reveal the unknown within you.

Hanuman Airlines: Fly over Everest
(29 minutes; 2012)
Hamilton Pevec
Hanuman Airlines is about a pair of Everest ʻlocalsʼ who think it would be cool to climb Everest and launch from the top. This short documentary explores the bonds that are created among the men who work on Mount Everest and the impromptu adventuring of two Nepalis as they set a new free flight world record.

Honor the Treaties
(14:08 minutes; 2012)
Eric Becker
Photographic Journalist Aaron Huey finds himself in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation with the last remaining Lakota Sioux Indians in South Dakota. Horrified by the 90% poverty rate, gang violence and extreme suffering he is allowed to photograph, the Indians tales unravel a dark and troubling history of oppression and broken treaties impossible to simply document. Crossing the line between journalism and activism, Aaron teams with famed street artist Shepard Fairy and Ernesto Yerena to create a poster campaign exposing the Indians plight through photographs. Aaronʼs work quickly becomes a cover story for National Geographic with an online community project where the Lakotaʼs share their stories with the world. In this emotionally charged expose of extreme hardships in our own backyard, filmmaker Eric Becker inspires a call to action through collaboration and activism under the banner of human rights as a fundamental right to all.

Into the Middle of Nowhere
(14:58 minutes; 2012)
Anna Ewert
“Giraffes like leaves. Lions like… like… prowling around, so I give them prowling around lessons.” Ann Frances Ewert captures a unique fly on the wall perspective of a group of Scottish children set free to explore a local woodland with their own imaginations. Testing the boundaries of reality with a forest as their canvas, the children inspire a curious and comic nostalgia. The nursery believes in giving children the opportunity to develop curiosity and learning through engagement with nature, the seasons and the elements. Tag along on this quizzical journey of random collaboration, cooperation and rope swing wipeouts.

The Kyrgyzstan Project
(22 minutes; 2012)
James Aikman
“The Kyrgyzstan Project” follows three elite climbers on a restorative journey to the granite big walls of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia. Matt Segal, Eric Decaria and John Dickey each have a personal conflict at stake on their adventure, the most compelling of which is John’s, whose 2000 expedition to Kyrgyzstan ended in kidnapping by violent militants who held him and his partners at gunpoint for six days until they made a harrowing escape through the mountains. This film chronicles John’s return to Kyrgyzstan and his quest for resolution, as well as Matt and Eric’s first expedition since the loss of two of their closest friends to the mountains. In their adventure, we learn about the meaning of friendship and the healing power of climbing adventures through beautiful imagery and edge-of-your-seat action.

Lacon De Catalonia
(4:52 minutes; 2012) Antimedia Huge ramp + mountain bike + crazy Spanish guy = big air and enough adrenaline to fill a dump truck. Some time has passed since Antimedia pointed their lenses toward the world of mountain biking. The Antimedia boys figured that the best place to do this is Andreus new training compound in Llinars del Valles in the suburbs of Barcelona. In 2011 Andreu bought Edgar Torronteras ́ FMX compound, built a 13-meter tall run to compensate for his lack of horsepowers, and brought his A-game to his everyday life. As usual Andreus riding does not disappoint.

Last of the Great Unknown
(22:53 minutes; 2012)
Dan Ransom
The Grand Canyon is an immense place, almost unfathomable in scale, and one of the last places in the American West to be explored. Deep within this vast wilderness are secret and intimate tributaries rarely visited by man, hiding some of the Canyon’s most remarkable features. The barrier to entry is steep. To explore them, one must have knowledge of backpacking, pack rafting, rappelling, anchor building and off-trail navigation. “The Last of the Great Unknown” is the story of these slots, the canyoneers who systematically explored their drainages, and the secrets hidden deep within their walls.

The Love Competition
(15:17 minutes; 2011)
Brent Hoff
How hard can you love? Scientists challenged 10 contestants—an old man, a 10-year- old boy, a recently-dumped romantic, among them—to love someone as hard as they could for five minutes while a MRI machine monitored their chemical surges and brain activity. They made a contest of one of lifeʼs most powerful emotions. The result is an uplifting story that will leave you inspired to be more passionate, more emotive and more in love than youʼve ever been.

Mama Picchu
(19 minutes; 2012)
Ryan Van Duzer
Single mother of four Donna Jobert seeks her first adventure in 30 years. Heart issues and physical fitness are the obstacles standing between her and the summit of Machu Picchu. With two grown sons by her side, hereʼs a story of overcoming self-doubt and recapturing a zest for life, whether she makes the summit or not.

The Man Who Lived on His Bike
(3:02 minutes; 2012)
Guillaume Blanchet
Hands-free riding has never been so impressive—or hilarious. From showering to eating breakfast, sending e-mails to impressing a lady-friend, a Canadian cyclist lives out his entire day from his saddle. It’s whimsical, it’s fun, and it’s an impressive demonstration of core strength (and sense of humor) played out in Montreal.


(3:44 minutes; 2012)
Mikey Schaefer
With the full moon rising, Dean Potter walks a highline on Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne Meadows—unleashed.

The Mother
(6:14 Minutes; 2012)
Forge Motion Pictures
Do our mothers still have dreams, hopes and journeys to make? At age 67, Melody reflects on her life, her hopes, her failures and her dreams while exploring the magnificent waters and canyons of the Utah Desert. She is the Mother. An adventure above water that reflects a life well lived. From Forge Motion Pictures, makers of the award-winning films “Wild Water,” “Seasons,” and “Cold.”

Mr. Toilet
(3:24 minutes; 2012)
Focus Forward Films
Toilets: theyʼre the new Louis Vuitton handbag. Or, at least, thatʼs what sanitation superhero Jack Sim, aka Mr. Toilet, hopes youʼll believe by the end of this film. Nearly three billion people in the world donʼt squat over a porcelain pot, and along with exposing the scary statistics and results of that reality, heʼs trying to change the way we manage and address water quality issues around the world. Mark your calendar; November 19 is World Toilet Day.


Murder Mouth
(17:24 minutes; 2012)
Projector Films
Maddie, a 21-year-old meat eater wants to experience a greater understanding of where her food comes from by killing and preparing her own meat. What is first a brave attempt to carry a fading family tradition and prove a noble ideal in our connection to food quickly becomes filled with unanticipated emotions. Maddieʼs quest starts small, but as she works her way up the food chain, she discovers a deeper relationship and morality to the process. She runs the gambit of heartache through a botched attempt and inexperience, but perseveres in an honest and thought-provoking tale.

The Nomad
(7:16 minutes; 2012)
Forge Motion Pictures
Why does he wander? What is he seeking? Traveling by foot, skis and kayak, Erik moves through the world and his life in a way few others do. He is The Nomad. This short film features National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Erik Boomer as he explores the extreme arctic north, the seas and deserts of Baja, the streets of D.C. and the waterfalls of the Northwest.

The Old Breed
(26:02 minutes; 2012)
Rufus Lusk
“The Old Breed” is a documentary short film about the first ascent of Saser Kangri II, located in the Eastern Karakoram. At 7518-meters high, SKII was the second-highest unclimbed mountain in the world. It was climbed on August 24th, 2011, by the American team of Mark Richey, Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson. Besides being one of the highest first peak ascents ever accomplished in alpine-style, the climb is notable for the fact that Richey and Swenson were 53 and 57 years old, respectively, at the time of the ascent.

Out Living It
(44:50 minutes; 2012)
Michael Brown, Serac Films
A group of young cancer survivors gather to share their stories of life, death and kinship during a week of outdoor adventure on the Colorado River. After miraculous recoveries against all odds, the friends discover new realms of beauty and appreciation for life through nature, community, and personal growth. With hearts on sleeves and nothing left to hide, the group forms uncommon bonds blooming with genuine love and acceptance. The challenges of learning to kayak and rock climb are full of courage and little fear in their potential. The raw realities of their dramatic experiences at such a young age give them a unique point of view that will leave you wondering if you are laughing or crying in this impassioned full-length film.

Outside the Box
(16 minutes; 2012)
Stefanie Brockhaus
When it comes to bouldering, Anna Stöhr and Juliane Wurm are hard to beat, but when they first try out crack climbing at the Castleton Tower, they can learn a few tricks from Lynn Hill. At Castleton Tower, two different generations of climbers meet each other. On the one side, there is Lynn, who has been placing gear before Juliane and Anna were even born. On the other side, Anna and Juliane are two of the worldʼs strongest boulderers who mostly climb indoors and have no experience traditional climbing. After learning to hand jam, Lynn takes the girls on their first trad climb.

(9:58 minutes; 2012)
Nadav Kurtz Three immigrant window cleaners risk their lives every day rappelling down some of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers. “Paraíso” reveals the danger of their job and what they see on the way down.

Passage 2011
(2:00 minutes; 2012)
This undertaking is driven by hope. Neo-romantic aspirations and Sisyphean exertion characterize the mission of two bare handed artists whom drag a self-made boat over the Alps. This route is arduous and will physically and mentally demand a great deal even from the experienced mountaineers. The major part of the four to five-week expedition will consist in traversing the main divide of the Alps on foot while dragging a large red boat. The art remains central, which is manifested on the one hand in the self- made boat in the sense of sculpture, and on the other hand in the act itself. Thereby it is only a metaphor for man’s aspiration to reach beyond his limitations, which can only end, sooner or later in catastrophe or salvation.

Racing the End
(10:40 minutes; 2012)
Warren Kommers This bike race is everything a hipster could dream of: itʼs urban, thereʼs a fixed-gear category, and itʼs underground—meaning illegal. What makes it even cooler? The winners are hammering hipsters vying for local bragging rights, and they leave pros and X-game medalists in the dust. This edgy short by Warren Kommers follows 400-plus spandex-clad cyclists as they crash the L.A. Marathonʼs cross-town course in one of the worldʼs largest, fastest and most intense clandestine bike races.

Ray: A Life Underwater
(14:36 minutes; 2011)
Danny Cooke
A modern-day treasure hunter, Ray Ives has gathered more than just old coins and bottles, he’s collected an appreciation for the water-bent views of the world from underneath the ocean. This masterpiece of cinematography offers a glimpse at the 75- year-old’s treasure chest and follows his reminiscences about a passion for deep-sea diving.

Ready To Fly
(78 minutes: 2012)
William A. Kerig
Since childhood, as a wide-eyed 7-year-old ski jumper with a dream of Olympic flight, Lindsey Van has been an outsider in a manʼs world. Thrust into a fight thatʼs far bigger than her dreams, larger than ski jumping or even sport, Lindsey and her ad hoc womenʼs ski jumping family battle entrenched attitudes and seemingly omnipotent gatekeepers to prove that women deserve to compete at the highest level: in the Winter Olympics. This powerful true story tells a tale of sacrifice and determination, of pluck and tragedy, as a very special group of unlikely heroes triumphs over massive obstacles to achieve a dream and change the world for other women in the process.

Shannon Galpin, A MoveShake Story
(13 minutes; 2012)
Alexandria Bombach
Her mission: to listen to and share the stories of women in conflict zones. Breckenridge local Shannon Galpin says, “I’m inspired by people who say ‘I’ll put my drop in the bucket,’ instead of people who are overwhelmed by the world’s massive problems.” In 2006 Galpin, inspired to make the planet a better place for her infant daughter, started Mountain2Mountain by building two schools in Afghanistan. Today, the nonprofit is helping break down barriers for women in conflict zones. And by riding her bike in Afghanistan—where women aren’t allowed to do so—she’s changing gender stereotypes and using her influence as a westerner to improve people’s lives.

Silvia—Winter Trails with Matt Hunter
(5:21 minutes; 2012)
Silvia Films What’s better than shredding pow? Doing it on a bike. This visually stunning motion picture pushes the boundaries of cool when it comes to mountain biking. Downhiller Matt Hunter will inspire you to add spikes to your fat tires this winter as he dominates the snow-covered trails of his native Kamloops, British Columbia.

Skiing the Void
(7:16 minutes; 2012)
Sweetgrass Productions
The latest installment from Sweetgrass Productions “On the Road With Solitaire” series. Deep in the South American backcountry, a group of skiers attempt carving a steep Peruvian peak they have dreamed about for a decade. A film of deep introspection and poetic narration, the skiers mourn the loss of two dear friends who died on previous expeditions. They acclimatize, train and labor through the rigors of preparation under stunning whitewashed peaks. Honest reflections of a dangerous life lived chasing mysterious salvation under the shadow of death are mirrored by the ramifications of voluntary risk. Loved ones, memories, responsibilities, ego and fulfillment are a few of the underlying conditions brewing beyond the unpredictable weather. A philosophical journey through the minds of ski mountaineers facing their most difficult of lifeʼs questions: “To ski or not to ski?”

Song of the Spindle
(4:03 minutes; 2012)
Drew Christie
Can songs save the world? This short animated film presents a conversation between a whale and a human, discussing the most powerful of all similarities among them. Song. The spindle neuron is well-developed in both whale and human brains, and is responsible for compassion and understanding, as well as pitch in regards to sound and song. Follow this clever and humorous insight into the world of neurons and melodies where rhythm and harmony may hold unique links to our happiness and quite possibly human salvation.

Sportlife: Water
(8:12 minutes; 2012)

Enter the world of one of the best free divers, Guillaume Nery. As he breaks world records and demonstrates underwater flight in his backyard, Guillaume explains the danger and beauty behind his chosen path that keeps him inspired to continually push his limits. The mind will fail before the body does, leaving the door open for constant improvement and exploration into what is possible and impossible under the deep blue.

Tempting Fear
(25 minutes; 2012)
Switchback Entertainment
This film goes inside the mind of extreme skier Andreas Fransson. Andrea has been called the boldest extreme skier in a generation. Over the past the years heʼs logged first descents in a half-dozen countries, battled back to life from an accident that nearly killed him, and become the most talked about skier in the epicenter of all things extreme – Chamonix, France. What makes Andreas most intriguing, however, are his thoughtful musings on the meaning from a life on the edge – a willingness to enter mental spaces that few have ever experienced. In “Tempting Fear” Swedenʼs soft-spoken ʻAdventurer of the Yearʼ explores a place in which fear overwhelms all emotions, playing both friend and enemy in a pas de deux where death lays just one misstep away.

Tent Bound in Devilʼs Bay
(9:06 minutes; 2012)
Camp 4 Collective The idea started off as a good one: to establish new trad climbs on the amazing 1,200- foot granite big-wall rocketing directly out of the ocean in Devilʼs Bay, Newfoundland. But for climbers Hazel Findlay, Alex Honnold, James Pearson and Mark Synnott, the great idea soon became something much different then planned. Though Newfoundland is relatively close to Mark Synnottʼs home in upstate New Hampshire, in reality, it would be easier to reach some Himalayan basecamps than get to Devilʼs Bay. Five days of travel by car and boat into this land forgotten by modern time, the team finally arrived only to discover adverse conditions and suffering. Expeditions are remembered for being either great successes or grand failures. But the reality is that most of the time, they are neither. For the climbers, their experience became as much an inward exploration of their own hopes, anxieties and fears as it was an exploration of the vertical walls. “Tentbound in Devilʼs Bay” is a portrait of the darker side of an expedition, a side that you rarely hear about.

Unicorn Sashimi
(5:23 minutes; 2012)
Felt Soul Media Felt Soul Media teamed up with Nick Waggoner and Yuki Miyazaki of Sweetgrass Productions in January 2012 to hunt the mythical Hokkaido Unicorn. The creature proved difficult to capture on film, so they just decided to do a little skiing. Enough said.

Wait for Rain (14 minutes; 2012)

Welcome to the Jungle
(4:54 minutes; 2012)
Sweetgrass Productions
“After nearly five years of making films on the road, we have become connoisseurs of the weird.” Episode VII of their “On the Road With Solitaire” series, the Sweetgrass fam heads deep into the Peruvian Amazon with Ptor Spricenieks and Trevor Hunt, where naked cannibals and bear-sized ants threaten to steal their cameras and their lunch money. In a small, leaky boat the crew makes their way up the remote Rio Abiseo en route to the headwaters of the Cordillera Huayhuash, the mountains they hope to ski. Highlighting the hazards and trivialities of jungle life, the inexperienced men lament on the slow torture of bodies, minds and boats in the tropical twilight zone.

Wild Love: Sara Close
(6:55 minutes; 2012)
Emily Nuchols, Jenny Nichols and Andy Maser
Have you ever been madly, passionately, head over heels in love with somebody? Do you believe in ‘one love’? This film provides a candid look at a young woman’s experience with the beauty of one great love, the tragedy of losing it in an instant, the resiliency of the human heart, and the power love has to change us in positive ways we never could have imagined.

Wild Love: Timmy OʼNeill
(6:51 minutes; 2012) Emily Nuchols, Jenny Nichols and Andy Maser
“I am love. In order for me to perceive love, I have to be love, I have to emanate love,” says Timmy OʼNeill. Love is a force that binds each and every one of us in this global community. At the end of the day, itʼs all about love: it may be a wild love for adventure, love for each other or an insatiable love for living that keeps us going. This short film is about the passion for living told by people who push their bodies, minds and lives to the limit. A warming planet has made water scarce, food a rarity, and wearing plants like jewelry fashionable. James, a hapless office worker, becomes obsessed with nurturing his plant in order to obtain the respect of his peers and risks everything to not wait for rain. This film is a futuristic comedy about James, the pitiful office worker who must sacrifice himself to get the attention of the girl he desires.

The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the support sponsors Patagonia, Rayovac and the New Belgium Brewing Company


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I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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