Go to a climbing gym in New York and people of colour will be missing. In a bid to boost minorities’ involvement in outdoor activities, Mikhail Martin started the organisation Brothers of Climbing to make a young black person feel at home on the rock wall. Filmmaker Duncan Sullivan, in the eponymous film, has captured how they challenge stereotypes in the climbing world. In Climbing Out of a Disaster, filmmaker Dominic Gill follows Bryant Huffman, who spent his days deep water soloing, sport climbing and bouldering, until Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island. Huffman with his climbing buddies put their skills to good use by morphing into emergency arborists. The two films are a part of the 10 that will be screened at ‘Mountainfilm on Tour’, a documentary film festival from Colorado, US, that is travelling to Delhi this week.
It showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, political and social justice issues. The festival is held every Memorial Day weekend since 1979 in the town of Telluride. To be held in Oddbird Theatre on April 11 and Boulderbox on April 12, it has been brought to the country by mountaineer Mandip Singh Soin’s Ibex Expeditions.
Closer home, there is a film that takes us to Nepal. Filmmaker Eric Crosland meets Apa Sherpa, who started working as a porter at the age of 12 after his father died, and has summited Everest 21 times. He is now devoted to providing educational opportunities to children in the Khumbu Valley, and questions the Everest industry that fuelled by Sherpa labour in Loved By All.
While Canadian filmmaker Anjali Nayar follows a risk-averse, non-athletic, native Rwandan DJ Jean-Aime Bigirimana, who finds the real meaning in his life by pedalling across Canada to its frozen Arctic Ocean shore, tells about his attempt to break the record for the longest, continuous, fixed-gear bike ride in Escape.
In Stumped, filmmakers Cedar Wright and Taylor Keating capture climber Maureen Beck, who wants to be good for being good, and not good for being a girl or for just having one arm. “We don’t climb to be special, we don’t climb to win some silly awards. We climb because we love climbing just like everybody else,” she says in the film.