2021 Gunks Climbing Film Festival Program

Film poster for Makatea.

Makatea Vertical Adventure, 28 minutes
Director: Guillaume Broust
Country: France

The Sailing Boat Maewan arrives in 2018 in Makatea, a unique island of Polynesia. A circle of coral raised a hundred meters above a turquoise sea, a large variety of fauna and flora, a dream landscape…. But also an exploited and abandoned island in the middle of the remains of phosphate mines. As Erwan Le Lann and Marion Courtois discover the incredible limestone cliffs that the island offers right beside the sea, they discuss the possibilities of equipment and development of the site with the locals. Six month later they come back with a team of twenty enthusiasts, climbers, speleologists, rescuers, educational and environmental managers, mediamen…. to set up the “Makatea Vertical Adventure” project. The goal being to develop eco-responsible tourism, which respectful of the biodiversity of the atoll and its inhabitants through the practice of climbing.

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Pathfinder: Life Beyond Fear, 10 minutes
Directors: Adam Rubin, Dan Lior
Country: USA

Pathfinder is a tale about the human spirit.
The film follows six world-class slackliners (Highliners) on a mission deep into the Norwegian mountains to attempt something that’s never been seen before: Walking a thin line, elevated in the vastness between two colossal cliffs, illuminated only by the mystical northern lights.

The yearning that drives adventurers and explorers to climb the highest peaks, sail endless oceans, and cross vast deserts in the name of progress, is the same passion that drives these slack-liners to attempt what has still been unclaimed.

Through the extreme conditions and endless challenges, we learn about their elemental desire to explore the limits of humankind.

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Film poster for Not Inspirational

Not/Inspirational, 25 minutes
Directors: Trevin Smith, Mia Hariz
Country: USA

Not/Inspirational is a documentary film following Denny Kowska, the founder of a para-climbing non-profit in New York City. Directors Mia Hariz and Trevin Smith follow Denny as her team, The Para Cliffhangers, train for the National Paraclimbing Championships in San Diego.

What was supposed to be their debut on the national stage is cut short, as COVID-19 changes the world, forcing Denny and the Para Cliffhangers into strict quarantine. Now, the group must fight to stay alive and keep their team together.

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Intermission Sign


T-shirt for the #notinspirational film

Panel Discussion

Join us for a film/accessibility discussion following the film Not/Inspirational. Arielle Rausin from ParaCliffHangers will be joining Marian Perez from Brown Girls Climb and Rise Outside Collective as our panelists.

Film poster for About Our Skyline.

Along Our Skyline, 26 Minutes
Directors: Damiano Levati, Matteo Vettorel
Country: Italy

It’s just a line. But one you have seen for your entire life. They are just mountains. But the ones where you were born and bred. It’s just history. But rooted deeply in your heritage. He’s just a friend. But one to whom you entrust your life.
In the heart of winter, François and Francesco pursue a long-sought dream: to caress every scale of the dragon’s back they see every morning. To link up every peak of their own skyline, from Plateau Rosà to Château des Dames, up in Valtournenche.
Along our skyline: a humble and powerful story of long-sought dreams coming true.

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Film poster for Desert Uprising.

Desert Uprising, 20 Minutes
Director: Cullen Hamblen
Country: USA

A historical adventure documentary about friendship…and the origins of rock climbing in Southern Arizona.

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Film poster for Lady First.

Lady First, 20 Minutes

Director: Tony Cheung
Country: China

“Lady First” is talking about Jun Bao, she is the first Chinese women who did the 5.14.

From the Director: “When I first met Jun Bao, she walked to the crag alone and try to climb without any climbing partner. She is brave, and works so hard to complete her goal. I have followed her for around 1 year to see her climbing life in China.”

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