I spent the last weekend up at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. There was an incredible array of outdoor oriented films and many of them were big budget productions with hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown towards plane tickets, helicopters and post production editing. When all was said and done though, a small budget/big hearted film from Canada won out becoming the first film to win the People’s Choice and the jury-selected Grand Prize. I was into this. I was cheering like a madman when Leanne Alison and Karsten Heuer walked to the stage took one award and then the next for their film Finding Farley. I hate resorting to lists, but when it comes to Karsten and Leanne I get a little emotional. Here’s why I dug it.
1. Finding Farley is what true adventure is all about. Farley Mowat is Canadian naturalist writer who has written dozens of natural history, adventure and childrens books. Many of us know his most famous work Never Cry Wolf which was made into a Disney movie with Richard Dreyfuss. In Finding Farley, Karsten and Leanne retraced Mowat’s steps.They paddled, sailed, hiked and rowed from the home in Canmore, Alberta all the way to Mowat’s home in Eastern Canada. They did it with their two year old son Zev. They didn’t manufacture an adventure to film it. They took six months — adventure was bound to happen.
2. They almost didn’t come to the awards ceremony because they were having trouble finding a baby sitter. Fortunately that worked out.
3. They’re more bad ass than all the North Face athletes combined. Anyway, after several incredible human-powered trips under their belts Karsten and Leanne had a Zev. The epic trips were over. Right? Wrong. So many people told them this was ridiculous — Mowat was one of the few who thought they were on to something. They just believed in themselves. They shape their lives so that they can take trips like this. Karsten works as a park warden in the summer. Leanne films, edits and takes care of Zev and she happens to be my wife’s hero. Anyone who says trips like this would be impossible with kids needs to see this film.
4. They’re also my friends and I am so very proud to know these two. Karsten book and Leanne’s film — both titled Being Caribou — are some of the finest environmental arguments ever made. They’re voices are filled with wonder rather than preachiness. They make movies with passion, duct tape, sweat and will power. Anyway, I could go on like this for hours. Here is the trailer.
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