REEL ROCK film festival hits Incline Village
October 30, 2017
One of the biggest rock climbing events comes to High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village on Friday, Nov. 3.
REEL ROCK is a festival that showcases climbing's greatest stories, stars and sends during the premier of five, new short films that is said to deliver heart-thumping action, big laughs and pure inspiration.
"REEL ROCK is about fun, inspiration and community," said filmmaker, Nick Rosen.
"The films themselves are meant to deliver heart-stopping action in beautiful places that really inspire the audience to get out there and climb. But REEL ROCK films are not "climbing porn"; they are human stories, with a lot of character and humor. And REEL ROCK events are more than film screenings. They are gatherings of the local climbing community, and an opportunity to come together, party, and share the experience," he said.
Rosen described creating these kinds of films as a big undertaking. Sometimes they take years to come to fruition, while others take place over a short period of time.
He added that filming and producing films in far-flung places can be really difficult and requires a specific set of skills.
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"For instance, our cameramen are not just great shooters but skilled climbers. We work with the best in the business. Capturing the beautiful visuals and the dramatic moments is really important. Usually the longest and most arduous part of the process happens in the edit room, where our creative team shapes the final story," Rosen said.
From the climber's perspective, these films are an equally challenging task.
Maureen Beck is a one-handed climber who has been climbing since she was 12 years old at Girl Scout camp.
She got really into it in college, when she says she realized her parents couldn't stop her from skipping class to head out to the crag.
She moved to Colorado in 2012 and that was the end of trying to do anything that wasn't focused on climbing.
"At first [shooting the film] was really weird, having someone always literally hanging over you, and being told I wasn't allowed to go out without them if there was a chance I'd get the send," Beck recalled during shooting.
"Eventually I forgot about camera and really started to appreciate how these guys really wanted to capture the send, so it pushed me and forced me through the process. It was the good kind of pressure I needed to not give up when it got hard – it's really tempting to walk away when you're just not seeing progress. Now that I know I'm capable of pushing through when things get tough, I hope that I don't need the deadline of a film to keep me going anymore!" she said.
Rosen said the film crew is at the center of the climbing world and always tries to stay on top of potential characters and stories for filming.
It's important that those featured in the film have a compelling story or an impressive climbing accomplishment to highlight in the storyline, but also that they have the experience and camaraderie to keep filming fun and safe.
"For most climbers (setting aside free soloists) partnership is huge. You are joined by a rope and an important bond of trust. Beyond that, there is a lot of camaraderie in the climbing community: shared passions, relationships built by extraordinary circumstances. And when tragedy strikes some member of the tribe, that is when you feel it the most," Rosen said.
The experience is worth every heart-pounding moment for these filmmakers and athletes as they travel the world in search of breathtaking locales to present to the community.
"Even though I live in the front range of Colorado, which has the most crowded climbing areas on the planet, my favorite crags are the quiet ones," Beck said.
"I love the Adirondacks and climbing in the Keene Valley of New York. I can often be the only party at Vedauwoo in Wyoming. Still, nothing inspires awe like driving down the road through Bears Ear's National Monument that leads into Indian Creek. That is one of the few places I've been where my heart still stops when the cliffs come into view," she said.
When asked of Lake Tahoe's climbing bounty, Beck said it has a special place in her heart.
"It's amazing and under appreciated. So many folks travel to Colorado or Joshua Tree and Yosemite to go on their annual climbing trips and totally miss how incredible the Tahoe area is. I spent a week at Lover's Leap, staying right there in the Strawberry campground. To date, that is one of the most memorable climbing trips I've been on. Plus, all of those features are great for climbing with my stump!" she said.
Don't miss out on hearing the stories, witnessing the action and adventure during the REEL ROCK film premiere in Incline Village. A second showing takes place in South Lake Tahoe on Nov. 15. For more information visit http://www.reelrocktour.com.
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.