During the last week of the Minneapolis Film Festival, Radical Reels, an action and sports film festival hosted by Midwest Mountaineering came to town. Radical Reels stems from a film festival that happens every year in Banff National Park, Canada, but the festival first started traveling across the U.S and Canada in 2004. The event shares some of the best adventure and sport short films of the year. This tour, on the 25th of April, there were 8 films ranging from 2-31 minutes. Each film told a different story and were very inspiring for anyone who loves nature or extreme sports. Despite all films being entertaining, the stories in “Little Red Bus” and “Valley Uprising – The Stone Masters” stuck out the most.
“Little Red Bus” is a 22 minute film about a group of French men who rent a red bus and travel around performing extreme circus acts with the goal of mixing art and athleticism. The film is very artistic, but sticks to the night’s theme of action better than almost any other film at the festival. They do completely insane things like climb up cliffs, jump off, and pull their shoots just in time before they hit the ground, and they do it all dressed as clowns. The most death defying stunt in the video was when they climbed up to the peak of a mountain and suspended a highline. They walk across the rope like a tightrope in the circus, the only difference being that they do it thousands of feet above the ground.
Although the film was intense, the story itself was entertaining. These men decided to go out and do what they love, and make every day an adventure. That is something that most people respect and can tip their hats to. It was very artistic, and liberating, and it makes people question the sanity of the men performing the stunts.
“Valley Uprising – The Stone Masters” is a 31 minute film about the origins of free rock climbing. It profiles a group of extremely athletic hippies in Yosemite National Park during the 70’s as they try to prove they are the best rock climbers. The group calls themselves the Stone Masters, and are a mix of men and women in their late teens and early twenties, led by free climbing pioneer Jeff Birdwell. The group became a family, breaking records and creating a culture that remains intact to this day.
As protests and tensions build around the Vietnam War, a riot breaks out in Yosemite. The Stone Masters were not involved in the riot, but felt the backlash from the Park Rangers. They funded and fought for those who were the ones belonging at the park. As the climbers got pushed out of the park they started to do professional races and make money. The golden age of climbing in the park came to a close by 1980, but their love and passion for the sport made Yosemite an epicenter for climbers around the world, and the culture they created never disappeared from the sport.
Radical Reels is highly recommended to people who find passion in the outdoors. It highlights what it means to have a love for being in tune with yourself, and has a mix of entertaining and inspiring short films that make people want to explore the world and leave their comfort zones. Radical Reels will be back next year with equally exciting films that are well worth the $15 ticket price.