Show Report: REEL Rock 9 – Valley Uprising
(top photo sourced from http://reelrocktour.com/)
The REEL Rock film fest has been around since 2006 and tours around some of the best climbing and outdoor films in the industry. Sender Films and other production houses have consistently brought kickass adventures to the screen which inspire sweaty palms in audiences worldwide.
For an example of their handiwork check out this link for REEL Rock 2010, which I consider one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.
Although REEL Rock is normally a showcase of a number of short films, this year they have eschewed their traditional format and are presenting a single feature length piece: Valley Uprising.
Trailer is here:
Last week I had a chance to attend a screening of Valley Uprising, and I was pretty impressed by how awesome a job Sender Films has done weaving together over 60 years of climbing history into a coherent story that was interesting, funny, and visually captivating (especially the animated stills). This isn’t just a series of old climbing photos set to a boring voiceover. It’s a story about some big characters, Yvon Chouinard, Lynn Hill, Royal Robbins, Warren Harding (and many others) that doesn’t just focus on their roles in establishing new grades, but in their establishing of the sport that we all love. Valley Uprising gives small vignettes from the past up to the present exploring who these climbers were as people, how they fit into (or didn’t fit into) the surrounding culture at the time, and how that helped shaped the evolution of climbing as a whole. It goes from the old school to the new school of Honnold and Potter and leaves you wondering just how far people can keep pushing it to develop new and exciting ways to explore the vertical spaces of Yosemite.
A few non climbers were also in attendance at the screening and they reported enjoying it just as much as the dedicated. You’ll still get sweaty palms at a few parts, as you would with any good climbing movie, but you’ll also have a good laugh and learn a surprising amount about climbing history in general, not just climbing in the Yosemite Valley.
Definitely go and see it if you get a chance.
Also, can I just say for a minute how refreshing it was to see a climbing movie that was upbeat and funny? It was nice to not have a “slow focus in on icy peak as a sombre voice over talks about the nature of Risk… cut to fast motion clouds, cut to really close up of an eye looking at those clouds, fast motion night stars… stock footage of avalanche… voice over continues talking sombrely about finding oneself in the great challenge of climbing”.
We get it. Climbing is dangerous. No one is making you do it though, and it’s frequently entirely arbitrary and pointless which is what makes it really, really fun. It is nice for that to be shown in a film once in a while.