April 13, 2011

The Love Letter: Not Your Typical Adventure Film.

Photo: Christian Frausto Bernal

Now this is an Adventure Film.

My life is one adventure after another. My ski days, my climbing days, the trials and tribulations of life as a smart, independent single girl… all, adventures. My marriage and divorce was an adventure. My continuing struggles with fear and stubbornness in the outdoors. My career and play and life are all adventures, every day, in learning about being humble and living with abundance and passion.

So, to spend about 12 minutes getting a glimpse into two lovely souls’ life together, during a long-dreamed-of 45 day human-powered trip through the Sierra is a treat. Fitz and Becca Cahall backpacked and climbed their way through wild, scenic places and have shared a part of the story in a short film called The Love Letter, and in a more extended version through the Dirtbag Diaries podcast titled Unseen but Felt.

(Photo: The Love Letter’s Facebook Page)

Why do I love these stories? In part, because Fitz and Becca choose to tell the more scary, epic, dangerous parts of the story via podcast, rather than sensationalize them in video. They share the “whole” story in a lovely, honest, not-always-easy-to-listen-to podcast—where the nearly unbelievable details are left to the interpretation of the individual listener. And they share the beauty of the sierras and the simplicity of their adventure together via video. By choosing to tell their story two different ways, the filmmaking team has bucked the trend of the typical adventure video. And I love it.

I can watch epic drops and massive lead falls and tumbling avalanches and cascades of cursing in just about any adventure film, anywhere. What I don’t get to see much of in adventure filmmaking is plain, simple, pure love. And The Love Letter is full of love, from start to finish.

Aside from the film itself, the project spawned an online contest asking viewers to share their own Love Letters. I don’t give a rat’s ass that it’s a contest; I could care less that there are corporate sponsors and prizes. I am in love with the viewer submissions. I dare you to get past the third one without getting choked up.

For so many of us—especially those of us who live our lives as an adventure—finding love is easy. It is in the places we play, and the people we play with; in the scenery we gaze upon and the sweat and work we expend to earn those views. But for so many of us, who live with such passion, finding romantic love, finding a partner in life… is elusive.

To see love on film, to hear it in a podcast, read viewers’ stories and see their faces… some in love with their play, like I am—others in love with their partners, like I will someday be, is an absolute gift.

Now that—having the balls to love openly and in the imperfectly human way that it’s done in the real world instead of in fairytales—that is an adventure film. To portray the complicated reality of dreams realized—to share the beauty and the darkness—that is bold, epic, brave, and adventurous. And I love it.
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