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My Week as a Filmmaker

Mountain View

When I last wrote, I was about to start running around the Teva Mountain Games in pursuit of a story. But, this time I was using a video camera – a much different and foreign tool than I am used to relying on to capture the essence of the people I meet and my surroundings.

I meant to write each day about my experience at the Outside Adventure Film School, but the fact that it is over and I am now just getting to recap the week is telling: it was an all-encompassing endeavor – creatively, energetically and time wise.

Four days of non-stop shooting (that involved running around the beautiful  mountain town of Vail tracking down some of the best pro and amateur athletes around) followed by a harried and hectic 48 hours in the editing room meant there was little time or space for anything else. I barely slept, didn’t really stop to eat , rarely got a run in and certainly didn’t have time to write…Such is the life of a filmmaker on deadline. I’m not complaining though; there was something energizing about creating in a flurry of chaos.

Chris Kassar

Film school culminated with a student film festival where the 14 of us showed our short films (each less than 5 minutes long) to a room full of instructors, friends, family, key people from the Vail Valley Foundation (sponsors of the Teva Mountain Games), the staff of the Antlers at Vail (who so graciously hosted us for the week) and  some random people who heard there would be free food.

It was surprisingly nerve-wracking to introduce my first attempt at making a film on my own and then stand there while people actually watched it. The whole crowd was supportive, of course, but still it is tough to put yourself out there like that.  I know the final product wasn’t award-winning, but I did put forth 100% effort and think it’s a respectable first attempt given that I had never before used a video camera or editing on my own.

The coolest part of seeing all the films was realizing how many different perspectives there could be on one event. We all spent four days cruising around the same Teva Mountain Games, but not one of our films was similar in its approach or style. Even films that covered similar topics (slack lining was a popular one) took totally different tacks, proving that the creative lens through which we each see things is very unique.   I was impressed with each of my colleague’s dedication and creativity and look forward to seeing what everyone does in the future.

All in all, what I realized by going through this week is that you don’t have to be an experienced videographer or filmmaker and you don’t have to have professional movie- making aspirations to get a ton out of Adventure Film School.  If you recognize the power of film to entertain people, inspire action and affect change and you have an interest in using film to tell stories that are important to you, then Outside Adventure Film School is for you.

The next one takes place in Colorado’s spectacular back country during the winter. Check it out – it should be amazing:

Here are a couple photos from the Teva Mountain Games.

A 14 year old member of the slack lining crew wows the crowd as he walks over the creek doing tricks and making it look easy.
Freeride Slopestyle
Freeride Slopestyle event was a big hit – attracting thousands of fans.
Mountain Bike
Sari Anderson at the start of the cross country mountain bike leg of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge (UMC). Anderson ended up taking home first in the UMC.


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