The world of adventure is too often defined by the exceptional accomplishments of extraordinary people. Exploits on high mountains or epic ocean excursions mark the gold standard of compelling action narratives. But after decades now of first ascents and record-breaking conquests little remains to inspire the audience toward higher expressions of the human experience. Even stories and films that depict the journeys of those struggling against impossible odds and adversity leave much to be desired as characters make their way toward the forgone conclusion of a successful achievement. So imagine instead a journey whose every step is a major victory and the sheer force of will required to move is in itself remarkable to behold.
A new documentary under development from Encompass Films tells the latest story of quadriplegic adventure athlete Aaron Baker. Now in post production through a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter Coming to My Senses details every agonizing moment along a 20-mile walk through the blistering heat of Death Valley as Baker musters the conscious effort required, with the help of a specially outfitted stroller, just to put one foot in front of the other. Director and filmmaker Dominic Gill focuses his lens not on the goal Baker aims to achieve but rather on the strength of character and perseverance it takes to even to set this arduous plan in motion.
“The film’s mission is to encourage everyone to appreciate the gift of movement,” Gill said in an interview. “Whether it be psychological movement, physical movement this film encourages the breaking down of boundaries that perhaps don’t actually exist.”
Sixteen years after a motocross collision left Baker paralyzed with a traumatic spinal cord injury he continues to defy the odds of leading a normal life. Though his doctors believed he would never be able to feed himself, let alone walk Baker was determined to retrain his mind and body to function in the most dynamic ways possible. As every movement of his limbs demands tremendous concentration basic abilities most people take for granted push him to utter exhaustion. His journey illustrates the difficulties that each of us must overcome within the confines of our particular circumstances in order to make it through our daily lives. Baker aims to offer his story as an example to others of what is possible.
“We want to use this film as a source of hope for those in the earliest stages of injury,” Gill said. “Aaron went through periods of suicidal depression…In Aaron’s own words he thinks that stories like this at that stage of his recovery would have been incredibly instrumental in helping him through that low period.”
Gill wants to share this story in order to raise awareness for the daily challenges of the many who endure the consequences of a spinal cord injury. Despite paralysis or a profound disability the victims of accidents or veterans wounded in battle can still discover adventure in even the most simple undertakings. Though a long walk through Death Valley is nothing to be taken lightly those who see this film may be inspired to tap that same well of enthusiasm and confidence to find purpose in life through movement. And like Baker those who watch may come to recognize the importance of not merely surviving the outcome of a devastating injury but learn to thrive in the life that remains afterward.
You can support the final production stages of Coming to My Sense with a contribution through Kickstarter. The Joy Trip Project is proud to back this film
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