Anyone who knows Nelson, knows that it is a haven for winter sports. You could say that the documentary “This Mountain Life”, screening at the Civic Theatre on Feb 27th, got its start here.
Filmmaking duo Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer were first introduced to backcountry ski world riding out from Whitewater Ski Resort.
“We used to live here, and we have family here, so we come out as much as we can,” says Baldwin. Their love of the BC outdoors can be seen in this latest project that won Best Snow Sports at Banff and Best Visuals at the Kendal Mountain Film Fest.
The documentary artfully weaves together diverse portraits of people with a true passion for a BC mountain lifestyle: a mother-daughter team traversing the Coast Range mountains from Squamish to Alaska; a group of nuns inhabiting a mountain retreat to be closer to God; a seasoned alpinist (Barry Blanchard for those in the climbing community); a focused snow artist; a couple who has been living off grid for nearly 50 years. Ian Bezubiak, who will be in the audience in Nelson, tells a cautionary tale of the power of the mountains after he watched his friend, a photographer, get caught in an avalanche while out on a shoot.
As the film’s visuals beautifully depict, tough winter conditions also proved a challenge for Tania and Martina Halik, who spent 6 months living in a tent on their 2300km traverse along the Coast Range. This journey had only been accomplished once before in recorded history and never by an all-women team. Baldwin joined them for segments to document their epic trip. Filming the documentary in remote places was a momentous challenge “Keeping the gear working in -25c was a struggle, I spooned the main camera in my sleeping bag to bring it back to life on a few occasions,” admits Baldwin. “We got stuck in storms leading to unplanned nights in the alpine and found ourselves lost above an icefall on one shoot. Nobody was injured in the end; we were just a bit shaken.”
Despite the technical challenges, the film spectacularly captures the beauty of the mountains. “I've been filming recently with BBC Planet Earth team for the next landmark series” says Baldwin, “and I wanted to bring that cinematic quality to a BC location and story.” He’s quick to note that strong visuals alone are not enough to carry a feature documentary. “We also were incredibly lucky to find truly amazing subjects who were willing to let us share their stories on camera.”
This Mountain Life will be playing at the Civic Theatre at 7:15 p.m. on February 27th, 2019.
Tickets available: https://civictheatre.ca/