Introduction

YOUR BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT FILMS NOT COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU...This blog is dedicated to promoting the art of independent filmmaking. The films profiled here are conceived and created outside the studio system and are brought to you, the public, without the aid of a major distributor. Though they might experience a limited theatrical release, they will largely be available to wider audiences through outlets like Netflix, YouTube or by direct purchase.

Monday, July 4, 2011

RIDE THE DIVIDE

The next time you choose your evening viewing, don't just settle passively into your couch or recliner.  Decide to conquer Tour Divide, the world’s toughest mountain bike challenge, with the documentary RIDE THE DIVIDE.

RIDE THE DIVIDE draws from the talent of musicians and filmmakers throughout the intermountain west to document the physical and psychological demands of the nearly 2700-mile journey undertaken by Tour Divide’s intrepid participants.

The film focuses on the personal struggles and transformations of three principle characters who brave the treachery, isolation and exhilaration of the race for a multitude of reasons:  Mike, a 40-year-old family man – and also the film’s Executive Producer – who uses the challenge to chart a new course in life; Matthew, a leader in extreme endurance racing competing for the 5th time; and Mary, the first female competitor to attempt the 200,000 ft. vertical climb through the Rocky Mountains.

RIDE THE DIVIDE’s intimate portrayal of each character’s uniquely engaging story sets it apart from the typical “bike porn” to which many extreme sports documentary enthusiasts are accustomed.  Instead, RIDE THE DIVIDE draws viewers into an intense experience that quickly emerges as a metaphor for living life to the fullest.

As these bikers test the limits of human physical and emotional endurance, they continually find rejuvenation in the breathtaking landscapes and beauty of small town mountain culture that envelope them.  It is this lesson, too – learning to draw inspiration from our encounters with the people and places in our lives – that audiences inevitably take away from their viewing experience.

"It's kind of the Wild West," says star and Executive Producer Mike Dion. "It's purposely off the beaten path, and you're finding fantastic places, and the people that you're running into in some of these towns."


On the surface, it's a film about the toughest mountain-bike race in the world, but what really comes through, what's underlying, is the adventure and the journey in the Rocky Mountains.


The desolation and harsh terrain struck director Hunter Weeks as particularly worrisome as he undertook the difficult task of filming this stunning feat of athleticism.  Never was this more real than in New Mexico when, while waiting for a rider to enter the scene, a bear wandered into sight.

“I can load my stuff into the Jeep," he said. "As a cyclist doing that race, you're going to be a lot more vulnerable."
Weeks himself is certainly no stranger to life-altering adventure.  His previous film, 10 MPH, is a comical road trip documentary chronicling friend and fellow filmmaker Josh Caldwell as he takes off from Seattle on a Segway scooter which transports him – at a mere 10 miles per hour – all the way to Boston.

This spontaneous journey became the launching pad for an expanding foray into the world of independent filmmaking.  Since then, Weeks has completed work on the films 10 YARDS and this, his latest.

In his efforts to bypass more traditional forms of theatrical release and distribution, Weeks has become a maverick in independent film marketing and pr, creating a DIY guide for aspiring filmmakers based on his own success.

His revolutionary incorporation of social media platforms and online marketing have earned him speaking forums at such prestigious marketplaces as the Sundance and London Film Festivals.

RIDE THE DIVIDE is currently in high demand at venues across the country and is also available for viewing through Netflix or by purchase through Amazon or the film's official website, accessible by clicking on the film title above.


Friday, July 1, 2011

A LIFE ASCENDING


Immerse yourself in the immense beauty and treachery of the natural world in A LIFE ASCENDING, an emotional portrait of life as a mountain guide in the wake of life-altering tragedy.

Acclaimed ski mountaineer and mountain guide Rudi Beglinger spent his youth exploring the Swiss Alps he called home. After a 3-month outdoor excursion in Yosemite National Park in the late 70’s, he headed north into Canada and never looked back.

Nestled in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, Rudi fulfilled his dream of opening an outdoor school. His mountain hut now attracts visitors worldwide who come to experience the majesty of the Selkirk Mountains under his careful watch.

His wife, Nicoline, came to Rudi’s mountain school during a 2-week break from work. The two fell in love instantly and settled into an existence exposed to the dangers of the natural world but sheltered from those of civilization.

The life they share with their two daughters, a life filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, outdoor adventure and the close company of kindred spirits, forms the narrative for this intimate tale of the light and dark consequences of inhabiting space on the edge of the earth.

“So beautiful and emotional, about family and purpose.” - Writer David Weissman
“A cinematic spectacle.” - Elliot Kolek, Moving Pictures Magazine

A LIFE ASCENDING is a truly life-affirming cinematic experience. It bears witness to the healing power of the natural elements and the resilience of the human spirit to prevail through even the darkest hours.

Denver-born director Stephen Grynberg navigates this emotional terrain effortlessly amidst the grandeur of the film’s stunning visual backdrop.

Breathtaking cinematography and a dramatic original score add emotional impact to this story of a life lived in the shadow of ever-present danger.

A LIFE ASCENDING is Grynberg’s first feature-length documentary film in the wake of a series of successful short films and an acclaimed feature-length narrative.

Prior to life as a filmmaker, Grynberg test-drove careers as both a chemical engineer and television executive before attending the American Film Institute’s director’s program.

In addition to making films he teaches personal story writing and lives with his wife and 7-year old twins in Santa Monica.

A LIFE ASCENDING is currently touring the film festival circuit where it continues to garner awards. For more information, visit the film's official website by clicking on the title above.