As the holiday movie season ramps up to full steam in theaters there are several new releases in the adventure film genre worth taking a look at online. Even with expanded cable TV options for your viewing pleasure there still doesn’t seem to be enough media to command our interest through the cold cruel months of winter or to inspire our best efforts in outdoor pursuits through the woods on skis, bikes, boots or boards. But every week I seem to get a new press release or media announcement telling me about some incredible adventure that’s been captured on film. And if you know where to look there is more than enough content available to satisfy even the most discriminating active lifestyle aficionado.
Over the next several weeks The Joy Trip Project is devoting some serious attention to feature films and shorts that are now available to watch via online download or works in progress that you should keep an eye on. Some still in various stages of production it’s a good idea to stay current on initiatives that aren’t just entertaining and inspiring, but might also provide you with opportunities to become directly engaged in real-world issues that are shaping the course of our very lives. So to help keep you up to speed on the projects that I’m following today I’m introducing a new column called the Watch List.
Many of us believe that we all have an inherent desire to spend time in nature. Even those of us who through preference or circumstance dwell most of our lives in cities can benefit from the healing power of the world outside and bring ourselves back to the center of what it means to be truly human. But for Anthony DeJesus there were few opportunities to experience the outdoors in a meaningful way, and having endured many of the hardships of poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and incarceration his life was desperately in need a new direction.
Rewilding is an initiative to give people like Anthony the tools they need to get a fresh start through transformative experiences in nature. I originally reported on this project earlier this summer as this young man from New York City began a wonderful journey through some of the most iconic adventure destinations across the American west. Filmmakers Jesse Spiegel and Vitek Linhart took Anthony into the natural world so that he might discover within himself the power to transform his life toward better, more positive outcomes in the future. A social movement illustrated through this amazing film Rewilding, due out in 2016, aims to help put an end to the negative influences that prey upon our youth and drives them directly into the criminal justice system. By providing a positive alternative in natural and the encouragement to pursue it we help those with limited options to avoid the cycle of despair, hopelessness, criminal behavior and prison. Returning to his community instead of jail Anthony aims to share a message of hope that can help others find their way into the wild where they too can tame their inner turmoil.
Alaska Changing Lives
Gulf War veteran and avid angler Chad Brown wants to change the world through fly fishing. Having overcome the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder through a communion with nature on trout streams near his home in Portland Oregon, Brown has taken his love for the outdoors and turned it into an inspiring program. Alaska Changing Lives is a documentary short that details the effort to get kids outside under the mentorship of returning soldiers. Men and women who had served their country are now eager to share a philosophy of peace and environmental stewardship with a new generation of young people in need of a little guidance. Set on the exquisite Kenai Peninsula of western Alaska this film gives viewers a little glimpse into a remarkable experience. Spending time in nature brings new meaning to the role veterans can play in protecting the safety and security of our nation’s future. By nurturing the growth and development of our youth these warriors work to preserve the liberty for which they fought to defend.
In the latest feature from Sweetgrass Productions filmmaker Nick Waggoner pushes his passion for big mountain skiing in a new direction. Best known for his groundbreaking action shots and stunning cinematography Waggoner plies his storytelling skills to the complex narrative behind the development of a controversial ski resort in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Jumbo Wild is a documentary that takes a hard look at the fine line between progress and preservation as the business interests of a remote mountain community are pitted against the ancient heritage of native people and the shrinking habitat of the largest population of grizzly bears in North America.
Despite the logic of making the great natural wonder of Jumbo Mountain available to more people through recreation, local residents resist the advancement of plans to build a world-class ski destination. Waggoner tunnels down into the critical issues on both side of the argument to make the case for leaving the mountain just they way it is. Opposing developer and architect Oberto Oberti is a growing number of activists who want instead to keep Jumbo wild. And in his classic style of stimulating emotion against the back drop of colossal landscape s of epic scale Waggoner makes a clear distinction between the human desire to conquer mountains and the notion of protecting them for generations yet to come.
Professional climber Majka Burhardt has built her career blending adventure with activism. After many years working to tell the story of communities on the African continent she has set her sites on the nation of Mozambique and the protection of its highest mountain. Her new film Namuli shares the efforts of her nonprofit Additive Adventure and its local partner LUPA to boost awareness for the preservation science and social entrepreneurship that aims to implement the Mount Namuli Conservation and Development Plan. This grassroots initiative aspires to create positive incentives for local residents and visitors to invest in the long term success and prosperity of this mountain preserve. Burhardt hopes to create an enduring legacy of conservation for the people of Mozambique that can duplicated in other parts of the country and around the world. This legacy or Legado as translated into the native language of Portuguese may very well serve as a practical model of wilderness protection even here in the United States.
What's on your Watch List? Share your recommendations for media projects worth following at i[email protected]