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A Look Inside the Outside Adventure Film School

Adventure Film School

Hollywood has nothing on the small mountain hamlet of Vail, Colorado…for this week, at least. Famous athletes with big personalities will tackle the mountains, creeks and streets as cinematographers and photographers vie for the perfect shot.  The town will buzz with a lively vibe as thousands of people descend on the Vail Valley to watch, document and enjoy the incredible athleticism and spirit that is the Teva Mountain Games.

teva kayak

For 6 years, acclaimed filmmaker, Michael Brown has used the Teva Mountain Games as an opportunity to bring together aspiring filmmakers from all over the country to participate in the Outside Adventure Film School. Their mission for the week: learn as much as possible from Brown and his power-packed team m of instructors and create a short movie that tells a compelling tale.


This year, the crazy folks at Adventure Film School have been gracious enough to let me – a woman who has never really used a video camera – join in on the fun. Against the unique backdrop of the Teva Mountain Games, Brown and company have started to teach us the technical aspects of filmmaking. We’ve learned to set up shots and capture crisp, powerful imagery and have just begun scratching the surface about how to whittle down hours of footage into an interesting 4-minute short.

These are important skills, but Brown wants students to be inspired and infused with passion. “Don’t get overwhelmed by all the technical details,” he has said a few times already. “We want you guys to walk away from this and say – I want to do this more because it’s the coolest thing ever.”  It’s awesome to see that such passion persists even though Brown’s been at this for more than 30 years.

Today, we covered the Steep Creek Championship kayak race – an awesome venue to test out our gear and our skills and to, as Brown said, “make all the mistakes you can so you won’t make them when it counts.” After only a day and a half, I still have  a lingering suspicion that I’m in over my head. But, thanks to enormous patience from our instructors, a couple brief classroom sessions and a solid day of shooting in the field – I feel like I’ve already learned a ton.

Tomorrow we will be unleashed on the games so we can track down the footie needed to tell the stories we hope to bring to life….Stay tuned.


Chris Kassar
Photo by Michael Brown
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