Disclaimer: we’re totally biased. elephant journal proudly sponsored the world premiere of 23 Feet, because it’s all wonderful and inspiring and…well, just watch it.
A sea of people seated on blankets and folding chairs fill the parking lot behind the climbing gym. Flannel-clad men are tapping kegs and filling cups with micro-brewed beer.
Everyone seated is facing the same, unique setup. A vintage silver-bullet Airstream trailer sits in a corner of the lot, and directly in front of it is a movie screen, strung with white holiday lights. As the sun sets, the lights shine brighter and brighter until finally it’s dark enough that we’ll be able to see the film on the screen.
The movie starts to play, and the striking cinematography combined with a quirky, upbeat soundtrack is instantly transportative.
23 Feet takes place throughout the continental U.S., but off of its beaten path. Allie Bombach, the film’s creator and narrator asks what life would look like if we abandoned the comforts of cubicles and white picket fences for an alternative lifestyle.
23 Feet is a study of living simply, and of humans and nature. Most of us Americans have an adversarial relationship with the natural world. The homes we return to every day signify our need to feel protected from the world outside, and we work 9-5 jobs for the sense of security they provide. One of the movie’s subjects has an interesting take on this notion. To paraphrase,
Being in direct contact with nature is humbling; it puts things into perspective. Cell phones, Facebook, airplanes, and the internet all trick us into thinking the world is a manageable place where humans have ultimate control. Visiting Yosemite, for example, we can’t help but see our place in the natural order.
Throughout 23 Feet, we meet several dynamic characters who have abandoned the (perhaps false sense of) security of a conventional existence, in the hopes of attaining a more fulfilling life. One of the film’s subjects says that she knew she had to change her lifestyle when she realized that in essence, all she was doing in her current day-to-day was, “turning pages on a calendar.” I was definitely able to relate to that feeling.
A seasonal river guide knows he made the right life choice living in a bus, and without modern conveniences like running water (aside from, of course, the rapids he navigates every day) because,
A bad day on the river is better than a good day in the office.
When the film is over, the crew packs up and hits the road once again. In perfect harmony with the film’s message, 23 Feet is a traveling show, moving from place to place in the Airstream and spreading the word of living life to the fullest, serving as an firsthand example all the while.
For you and me, there’s no better start than curling up on a blanket, surrounded by friends and like-minded people, and enjoying a film amidst the great outdoors.
23 Feet is likely on its way to your neck of the woods:
Stay tuned for more specific locations here.
Watch the trailer:
Photos (unless otherwise noted): Sasha Aronson
Sasha Aronson has a degree in Literature from Colby College. She has worked for publishers in the Big Apple, but prefers living mindfully and adventurously in Boulder, Colorado.