The latest films from filmmakers Rory Kennedy and Jennifer Peedom are among six films rounding up the fifth edition of Savage Cinema at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Savage Cinema is a non-competitive section in collaboration with Red Bull Media House, which specializes in sports and adventure films.
Peedom, BAFTA Best Documentary nominee for Sherpa in 2016, presents Mountain, a poetical film honoring the beauty of summits underlied with narration of Willem Dafoe and a special soundtrack, that will see its premiere in San Sebastian in collaboration with the Bilbao Mendi Film Festival. An ambitious project which, with Tout là-haut / To the Top, first fictional movie to appear in Savage Cinema, starring Bérénice Bejo and directed by Serge Hazanavicius, opens the section to new genres.
The search for paradise, a recurring theme in the Savage Cinema program, returns with Secrets of Desert Point, one of the few adventures of the 20th Century still to be told. Ira Opper, pioneer producer and distributor of action sports content, recovers images recorded by Bill Heick, lending shape to that savage surf discovery which has remained secret for 40 years.
Under an Arctic Sky, by photographer Chris Burkard, represents new forms of exploration, where imagination and technology are key to finding new nirvanas, this time in the freezing coastline of Iceland.
The final two films are biographical movies about exceptional lives. Take Every Wave (Sundance 2017) is a biopic signed by Rory Kennedy, director of Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (winner of an Emmy in 2007) and Last Days in Vietnam (nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award in 2015), documenting one of the few surfers to enter popular American imaginary Laird Hamilton. While the sport is developing, there are new icons evolving, one of them being Kai Lenny, multiple World Champion, whose progression and connectivity with the ocean is portrayed in Paradigm Lost.
2017 San Sebastian International Film Festival Savage Cinema
JENNIFER PEEDOM (AUSTRALIA)
A unique cinematic and musical collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom, Mountain is a dazzling exploration of our obsession with mountains. Only three centuries ago, climbing a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. The idea scarcely existed that wild landscapes might hold any sort of attraction. Peaks were places of peril, not beauty. Why, then, are we now drawn to mountains in our millions? Mountain shows us the spellbinding force of high places – and their ongoing power to shape our lives and our dreams.
JOHN DECESARE (USA)
For Kai Lenny, the ocean is a playground as long as you are having fun. Kai is continually challenging the notion of what a SURFER is, from riding huge waves to open ocean swells, on any means conceivable. Whether testing himself competitively or sharing the stoke of riding with friends, there are only waves and endless possibilities that come with a mind wide open.
SECRETS OF DESERT POINT
IRA OPPER (USA)
In the early eighties, while sailing in crude leaky boats off remote Lombok island in Indo, young California surfer Bill Heick and his friends stumbled across the perfect wave. As treacherous as it was beautiful, this motley crew of modern-day surf argonauts named it ‘Desert Point’. These pioneers kept their treasure off the map for more than a decade and made it their life’s mission to surf uncrowded Desert Point at the highest level possible…no matter the cost. Join us for a journey on one of the last great dirtbag adventures of the 20th Century. One passed through three generations. And learning that if want to keep paradise, you need to stand up for it.
TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON
RORY KENNEDY (USA)
An in-depth uncompromising portrait of a living surf legend, Take Every Wave examines the life of an extraordinary individual fuelled by fear, ambition and challenge. This rip-roaring account of his life gives us a rare and intimate glimpse into what drives an elite athlete to follow the rules or break them; revealing how he changed the face of the sport, the legacy he built, and the price an athlete pays for greatness.
TOUT LÀ-HAUT / TO THE TOP
SERGE HAZANAVICIUS (FRANCE)
Scott, a young gifted snowboarder, has one dream: to be number one. He wants to do what no one has ever done: climb mount Everest, and ride the ultimate descent down the Hornbein Couloir. Once in Chamonix, the riders Mecca, he crosses paths with Pierrick, a free-ride veteran turned mountain guide. Scott knows that this is the encounter that could take him to the top.
UNDER AN ARCTIC SKY
CHRIS BURKARD (ICELAND)
The film follows six surfers along with adventure photographer Chris Burkard and filmmaker Ben Weiland as they seek out unknown swell in the remote fjords of Iceland’s Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Chartering a boat, they depart from Isafjordur on the cusp of the largest storm to make landfall in twenty-five years. With the knowledge that storms bring legendary swell the crew are optimistic, but face failure when the storm forces them back to shore. Making the decision to carry the expedition on by road they experience the brutality of Iceland’s winter and begin to question if searching out the unknown is worth risking their lives for. Despite setbacks the team pushes on and finds that uncertainty is the best ingredient for discovering the unimaginable.