2021 Film Competition Finalists
A Dog's Tale
There’s something primal about the feeling of the forest floor under your paws and smelling a thousand different smells all at once. The freedom of the trail is what we long for.
Aguilucho: Dance of the Harpy Eagle
In the remote Darién Gap rainforest, indigenous communities face the advance of loggers and cattle ranchers, an existential threat to their way of life and the ecosystem upon which they rely. When a rare Harpy Eagle nest is discovered near their community, the Emberá tribe of Playa Muerto find an unlikely ally.
Lysanne Richard is one of the world’s best international competition high divers. But the 39 year-old Canadian mother of three is ready to focus on personal projects of her own. First on the list is a 22 meter high dive in the dead of winter over a frozen lake, a feat that has never been done. But will it be enough?
The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness
Imagine a place in the far north of Alaska that is vast, wild, and magical – where one of earth’s greatest natural spectacles unfolds. Princess Daazhraii Johnson of the Gwich’in tribe reveals the land that has sustained her people for untold generations. Journey with National Geographic photographer Florian Schulz on his five-year quest to film the elusive 200,000 strong Porcupine Caribou herd as it migrates to the Arctic Coastal Plain, one of the longest animal migrations on earth.
Camille and Antoine, two French slackliners and alpinists have a dream, to walk between two iconic rock towers. Arves-En-Ciel tells the story of an amazing project, which required a huge team of invested people to be fulfilled.
ASCEND: Reframing Disability in the Outdoors
Vasu Sojitra is not trying to inspire you to feel good. His trauma doesn’t exist solely to benefit the education of others. He is seeking to inspire you to move mountains. To take action. Skiing is the method, but the real mountains are the “isms” that fail to support Disabled communities, communities of color and so many others for whom access has not been a right.
Balandrau, Hell Frozen Over
On the morning of December 30th, 2000, Josep Maria Vilà, a 27-year-old biochemist, ski toured to the top of Balandrau in the Pyrenees with his girlfriend and three friends hoping to enjoy one more beatiful snow day before the end of the season. At midday a sudden 100km gust of wind blasted the group and they became part of a tragedy that would change their lives forever. Rather than just survive, they were reborn that day.
In spring 2019 gigantic walls of snow piled up along the high mountain road to the Timmelsjoch, Austria. Johanna Bolanos Cabrera and Jasmijn Hanegraef grabbed their longboards and took the opportunity to ride through this stunning scenery. Speed is what the girls live for!
Experience a mountain bike trail coming to life before your eyes and explore the motivations behind the builders' creative expression.
Borealis is a unique cinematic documentary that goes deep into Canada’s iconic snow forest to understand how black spruce and birch experience life, talk to each other and decide when the time is right to burn themselves down.
As Covid-19 surges amidst ongoing civil unrest, Emily Ford sets out with a borrowed sled dog named Diggins to become the first woman and person of color to thru-hike the 1900 km Ice Age Trail in winter. As the 69-day journey through subzero temperatures tests her physical and mental endurance, Emily and her canine protector develop an unbreakable bond as they embrace the unexpected kindness of strangers.
Buddha of the Chadar
A father and son from the Indian Himalaya embark on a winter pilgrimage along an ancient trail to deliver a heavy bronze Buddha statue to a remote mountain monastery along a route that follows the frozen surface of the Zanskar River through its challenging gorges.
The story of an unprecedented avalanche that devastated a small mountain community and the anguish of the forecaster responsible for predicting it.
Can't Beat This Place For Fun
This film is a small vignette of Fretwater Boatworks, a very unique boat crafting shop that keeps the tradition of wooden dory building alive whilst honoring the dreams of Grand Canyon pioneer Martin Litton. These beautiful boats still represent advocacy toward wild places compromised and/or lost.
A glimpse into the spectacular world of giant strangler fig trees and the people who climb them.
When celebrated professional skiers Lorraine Huber and Hedvig Wessel join forces to take on the Freeride World Tour, director Katie Burrell thinks this just might be a premise dreamt up in Girl-Boss heaven. With too perfect a setup and too high of expectations, Burrell exposes the impossible challenge that female athletes continually face in action sports.
Without any international races held in 2020, ultra-runner Mathieu Blanchard takes on the challenge of crossing the Gaspé Peninsula over the hinterland. From the Matapedia valley, via the Chic-Chocs, to the end of the world in Forillon, his goal is to run over 650km and 30,000m of elevation gain ... in one week.
Life can be beautiful. Life can be messy. Add in the struggles of addiction and life can often become overwhelming. Crux follows Harvey, a recovering addict who uses rock climbing to work through his ongoing struggle with mental health.
DURGA: Forging a New Trail
34-year-old Durga Rawal is the only guide of any gender from her village in northern Nepal. In a country where boys receive an education, men seek employment in larger cities and girls and women are often left to work on family farms, Durga’s is a story of defying cultural, societal and familial expectations to pursue an independent life.
Emilie Pellerin has spent most of her adult life travelling the world and living a dirtbag life. She has honed her skills on the rock and in the process has become one of the world’s best onsight climbers and now she’s ready to put onsighting aside and try pushing her level on her hardest trad route yet, La Zébrée, a spectacular 5.14a overhanging crack in Quebec.
Everest - The Hard Way
In 1988, four Slovak climbers wondered if it was possible to climb the hardest route on Mount Everest in Alpine style. Chris Bonington had nicknamed the route 'The Hard Way' and stated it is impossible. Thus the challenge was set and the Slovakians committed with no means of escape.
Exit the North Pole
Børge Ousland is one of the worlds most experienced polar explorers. He has been to the North Pole several times, solo and with others. On this journey he is joined by South African Mike Horn for an insane 1500km skiing journey across the polar ice cap in temperatures below -30C and mostly travelling in darkness. Not surprisingly, not everything goes as planned.
Farewell to Adventure
Farewell to Adventure follows the Reverend Captain Bob Shepton as his wife’s Alzheimer’s forces him to repay the presence she gave the family in his absence during his 50 years of sailing trips.
A local legend in the Wasatch Mountains, the Farmer spends his winters harvesting one of the most precious crops on earth: Powder.
Fathima the Oracle
Fathima is a young Muslim girl from a small village in Northern India, who is possessed by a Buddhist deity. As the family comes to terms with her fate, some people make an unsuccessful attempt on her life. After meeting several Buddhist spiritual masters, she becomes a recognized medium for a major deity that dates back to seventh century. But Fathima struggles in her personal life within her community of strong followers of the Shia school of Islam.
“Finding Gulo” follows Steph Williams, a ski guide and field biologist as she works with wildlife photographer Dave Moskowitz to capture images and data of an elusive population of wolverines near her home in Washington’s Methow Valley. As a backcountry skier, Steph knows that climate change is bad news, but as her connection deepens with gulo, so does her concern for the future of snowpack.
Follow The Light
From sunsets over dramatic landscapes to the illumination of hot air balloons and the warm ambience of Turkey, immerse yourself in this colorful adventure with riders Kilian Bron, Pierre Henni, Pierre Dupont and JB Liautard.
The Fortress Ghosts
When Fortress Mountain closed in 2004, the once vibrant ski resort slipped into a remnant of the past. Two decades later the far side chair, frontside chair and day lodge remain standing. While the guests have disappeared, ghosts remain.
The Fox of the Palmgrove
Frame of Mind
Born and raised in the Kootenays, a community filled with passionate skiers and downhome, throwback ski resorts, Sam Kuch is a product of his environment. From backyard jibs, to home-made ‘finger skis’, we reflect on Sam’s Frame of Mind, and look into what has taken Sam from small-town shredder to ski industry superstar.
From My Window
From her bedroom window, Melissa Simpson looks out at the highest peaks in Colorado. Despite being so close, the mountains have always been worlds away for Melissa, who was born with cerebral palsy. With the help of her friend and mentor, blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, Melissa sets out to conquer something far greater than a summit.
Girls Gotta Eat Dirt
The story of three best friends, roommates, and riding partners with a taste for the finer things. Namely plenty of dirt on their jorts and lighthearted, fun mountain bike action in the high alpine.
High Grounds is a documentary on the drivers and conductors who drive on the 'death roads' of the Spiti Valley in India. The film focuses on their lives and shows us how the government's transport system fails the locals residing in the valley as they embark on this arduous bus journey.
The High Road
Dwayne Wohlgemuth hikes 800 km across the barren lands of the Northwest Territories, following the world's longest esker pushing himself further than ever expected.
In the Darhat valley in northern Mongolia, the horses of nomadic tribes are disappearing. Bandits steal horses from their owners, and sell them for a few rubles in Russian slaughterhouses. But Shukhert, a vigilante Darhat horseman, pursues them relentlessly, all the way to the edge of Mongolian taiga, on the border with Siberia.
If You Give a Beach a Bottle
Inspired by a picture book, Max Romey heads to a remote beach on Alaska's coastline in search of marine debris. What he finds is a different story altogether.
INSIDE- A Hole New Ski Experience
After an amazing ski tour at the Grand Ferrand massive in France, where you can ski through stunning rock caves, a few skiers decide to take it to the next level in a huge cave in Slovenia.
This is the story of Romana, who is an Austrian biologist. Insects are her passion and she takes us on a trip to discover the home of the many endemic and endangered species that live in Gesäuse National Park.
Julia Chanourdie was twelve years old when she climbed 5.13. Today, at the age of 24, she is one of the very few women to have reached 5.15 and she is at the top of the game. For the past three years, Julia has been climbing incessantly, and has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. This is a story of minutes stolen from gravity, a singular story between a father and his gifted daughter.
The Kingline Project
Two climbers finding solace and expression through acts of struggle and problem solving, try to climb a hard boulder project in Manali, India. This is the story of two stalwarts vying to make a first ascent of this juggernaut where progress is measured in inches over repeated attempts.
La Liste: Everything or Nothing
In 2016, Jérémie Heitz made a list of The Alps’ most iconic descents and skied them faster than they’d ever been skied before. The feat represented a complete reimagining of classic ski descents and a progression into a whole other level of freeriding. But in the words of legendary ski mountaineer, Sylvain Saudan: “You’ve done it in Switzerland, now you must do it in the world”. The feature documentary follows Jérémie and his trusted mountain partner Sam Anthamatten as they seek out ski descents in the planet’s highest mountain ranges.
Learning To Drown
Jess Kimura, considered one of the most influential female snowboarders in the world was at the top of her career when she lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. Her grief led her in a direction she could have never anticipated.
Like a River
Artist and climber Jeremy Collins has had a long and loving relationship with the desert canyons of the American southwest. In this short film, he describes his passion for three canyons as he creates a new mural that combines them on paper.
Follow an elite American alpinist navigating his relationships and motivations while attempting to climb and survive one of the world’s most challenging unclimbed peaks: Link Sar, in the high mountains of Pakistan.
Log Drum of Pessao
Log Drum of Pessao tracks the making of a ceremonial log drum from ancient techniques involved in cutting and shaping the log, to carrying the log drum over many days to its final home in the Morung. The journey from forest to village, to final resting place in the Morung, abounds in rituals and traditional-style celebrations, beautifully captured on screen.
Long Live Chainsaw
Long Live Chainsaw reveals the true story of the meteoric rise, untimely death and long-lasting legacy of Canadian downhill mountain bike legend, Stevie Smith. Born into poverty and raised by a devoted single mom, Stevie's unwavering belief not only propelled him to become the best in world, it inspired everyone he touched to believe in their own impossible dreams.
In the shadow of global warming, Looking Forward is the charming and uplifting portrait of a community in search of meaning. This documentary tells the story of a group of people who get politically involved for the first time as they tackle the issues of climate crisis and democracy, which threaten their Alpine ski-resort, La Clusaz.
The Magnitude of All Things
The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. Stories from the frontlines of climate change merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
Sämi Ortlieb has quietly been producing some of the most creative segments in skiing over the past few years, taking his über-well-rounded skill set from the streets to the backcountry and everything in between. For the 2019 season he rounded up a motley crew of riders to create a segment unlike anything that’s been seen before.
83 year old Vidyadutt Sharma holds the record for growing the heaviest radish in India weighing 23 kgs and he now aims to beat the world record of 31 kgs. Over the last five decades, he has built up Moti Bagh, his 5 acre farm in a small Himalayan village in northern India. All around him lie ghost villages, left to die, with no one to till the land – a chilling testimony to large scale migration by locals in search of employment in the cities.
Never in the Way
Chicago-based bike messenger, Nico Deportago-Cabrera, sees city maps like a central nervous system. Everything’s connected. Roads and buses and people and cars, all carrying bits of information around a giant organism and making it live and breathe. ‘The point,’ he says, ‘is to never be in the way
After an ice climbing avalanche takes the life of her friend, professional athlete and alpine guide Sarah Hueniken finds herself questioning everything about her life in the mountains.
The Ocean Solution
Farming under the sea? Meet Bren Smith, the ocean farming pioneer whose vertical kelp and shellfish farms can transform the way food is produced. Unwilling to tether himself to land, he took the hard lessons learned and returned to the sea with a new method of restorative ocean farming.
Adventure unfolds across four continents as an eagle hunter, a hawk whisperer, and a falcon racer awaken an ancient art to connect to the wild that is fading out of sight and out of mind.
Three friends from Canmore Alberta set out to paddle board the headwaters of the North Saskatchewan, one of Canada’s longest rivers. To get there they will have to bike, hike, ski and snowboard their way across two glaciers and 3300m mountain...all in one epic day.
Precious Leader Woman
Hailing from the remote village of Alert Bay, British Columbia snowboarder Spencer O’Brien dedicated her life to becoming a world champion. But, being driven to win came at a cost. Snowboarding at the elite level was taking Spencer further from her Indigenous heritage than she realized. Precious Leader Woman tells Spencer’s story from childhood to the world stage, to coming full circle to embrace her identity as she pushes forward bringing her heart and soul to her next challenge, the backcountry.
REEL ROCK 15: Black Ice
A crew of aspiring ice climbers from the Memphis Rox gym travels to the frozen wilds of Montana, where mentors Manoah Ainuu, Conrad Anker and Fred Campbell share their love of winter adventure in the mountains.
When 12 young soccer players and their coach were trapped by monsoon floods inside a cave in Thailand, the world watched for 16 days as reporters gave updates from outside the rescue zone. Now we gain a perspective that no reporter could ever capture, through the eyes of the Thai and international rescue divers and never-before-seen footage from their cameras.
Resilience traces the story of Kevin Rolland during his world record attempt on a quarter pipe at a very important time in his life. He puts all his cards on the table hoping for the best possible outcome.
The River Runner
The River Runner follows legendary expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren’s 20-year quest to be the first person to paddle the four great rivers that originate from Tibet’s sacred Mount Kailash. The film is not simply a jaw-dropping adventure, but also an intimate portrait of Lindgren as he navigates the terrifying terrain of trauma, addiction, and a life-threatening brain tumor.
A team of Indigenous and settler artists race to capture a disappearing landscape as climate change threatens the future of glacial environments in the Canadian Rockies.
The Second Summit
Veteran British mountaineers Mick Fowler and Victor Saunders reunite to tackle an unclimbed Himalayan summit, having overcome cancer, ageing bodies and a thirty-year falling out.
Sidik and the Panther
For 25 long years Sidik has been searching for a snow leopard in the war-scarred mountains of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq. Once there were many leopards here and if they return, Sidik believes his people and his homeland will survive. If he can capture one of the magical creatures on film, the region will be declared a national park and he hopes that bombs will never fall again in this war-torn region.
Danny Macaskill tests the limits of mountain biking, riding down the infamous Dubh Slabs on the Isle of Skye.
During Nepal’s 2015 earthquake, Canadians Kathy and Bruce Macmillan perished in a landslide that devastated a small village in the remote Langtang Valley. Three years later, their son Jay Macmillan travels to Langtang to reconcile his trauma, by retracing his parents' footsteps, their relationship and by exploring the land where they passed.
Swissway to Heaven
Switzerland is a true paradise for multi-pitch climbing and is where climber Cedric Lachat was born and raised. Through his unique sense of humor and unbridled enthusiasm, we experience the beauty and awe of five iconic peaks and ranges: the Eiger, Gastlosen, Wendenstöcke, Lauterbrunnen, and Rätikon.
Tatum Monod // Passage
Tatum’s career has held doors of every kind. Doors that reach back as far as her Grandfather, and have carried on through the generations to Tatum. Her career, successes, losses, injuries, have all shaped the skier into the person she is today. This short film will open these doorways and uncover the sources of her inspiration.
The North Face Presents: Facets
Each of us are part of a greater whole, a community that grows stronger together especially when it’s open to all. Leanne Pelosi, Jess Kimura, Marion Haerty, Mary Rand, and Amanda Hankison show us just that. A unique look at these inspiring athletes that make up one hell of a portfolio. This one is for the next generation of riders carving their own paths.
For Lor Sabourin, climbing is more than a sport; it’s a way of exploring identity and building resilience in the face of adversity. They/Them follows Lor, a trans climber, into the sandstone canyons of northern Arizona, on a journey to piece together one of the hardest and most inspiring routes of their life. By embracing the strength in vulnerability, Lor has found the space to thrive and build a climbing community that others like themself can call home.
A Bolivian park ranger and a young Hong Kongese journalist risk their lives to go undercover and investigate a new, deadly jaguar trade that’s sweeping South America. Along the way, they grapple with questions of empathy, responsibility, and bridging a cultural gap to prevent the jaguar trade from spiraling out of control.
On Oct. 5, 1999, legendary climber Alex Lowe was tragically lost in a deadly avalanche on Shishapangma. Miraculously surviving the avalanche was Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, Conrad Anker, who went on to marry Alex’s widow and help raise his three sons. Now, Alex’s son, filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer Max Lowe, turns the lens on his own family as the body of his father is uncovered 17 years after his death.
Facing some of the most challenging terrain in the world, Valentine Fabre and Hillary Gerardi, two world class athletes, attempt to be the first women to ski the Haute Route non-stop from Chamonix to Zermatt. Together they set out on this 100km traverse, climbing 8000m over some the most beautiful high mountain terrain in the world. Will their months of training prove to be enough for these women to establish the record?
A world class duo of wingsuit flyers attempts to complete a routine of moves meant for an altitude of 3000m from a mountainside that is half the height. The large walls that surround them on all sides and a tiny window for success make this dangerous, uncharted territory.
Walking With Plants
Styawat/Leigh Joseph is a S?wxw_ú7mesh Nation ethnobotanist. She grew up away from her traditional territory of Squamish, B.C. but in her search for a deeper understanding of her identity as a S?wxw_ú7mesh woman, she navigates walking between academic and cultural worlds. She contemplates her relationship with plants and their role as teachers on the very land where her ancestors have harvested them since time beyond memory and her life purpose is awakened.
Weaving The Path
For centuries, weaving has formed an integral part of the Coast Salish communities' culture. Yet for around 82 years the tradition of weaving lay dormant. Debra Sparrow, Chief Janice George and Angela George, among other Coast Salish weavers have since revived these lost traditions.
West Highland Way: Rab Wardell's Record Attempt
Stretching from just outside the hustle of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, to the iconic highland town of Fort William, the 153km West Highland Way is a world-famous, multi-day traverse loved by walkers from around the world. What is less well known, is that a hardy band of mountain bikers have been vying for record times along the way for the last 10 years.