Two Wheels Good

There’s a certain effervescent quality to this short film about some older Irish men and women who have a childlike love of bicycling. As one of the featured cyclists puts it, “It’s a great place to dream, a bicycle.”

TINY: A Story About Living Small

Here’s a climate solution: Reverse the trend that has doubled the size of the average American home over the last 40 years. This enlightening and fun documentary is about idealists who decide to live in small spaces, some no bigger than a single-car garage. The filmmakers are also the protagonists, and we follow the couple as they design and build their own tiny house, a process that is both exhilarating and frustrating as they encounter unexpected obstacles. But it’s a great journey, one filled with wisdom and insight into how to live a richer life — by living smaller.

Tempting Fear

Andreas Fransson is an extreme skier who has garnered attention for dicey first ascents in a half-dozen countries and a horrific accident that nearly killed him. On the outside, he’s an amazing skier who isn’t afraid to confront massive danger, and a deeper look reveals an inward-gazing individual whose musings about life on the edge are thoughtful and eloquent. “Could you get the thrill of your life and feel truly alive if you knew they were perfectly safe?” he asks. “Would your consciousness be completely in the moment if you didn’t know this was serious business?

Take Away Film: Uganda

Many terrific bands have been filmed by La Blogotheque for their Take Away Shows (check it out online, and you might find yourself immersed in this art for hours). Here, they team up with the human rights group Invisible Children in Uganda to capture a band called The Very Best on film.


On April 6, 2011, Roger Strong was skinning to one of his favorite backcountry runs on Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass with some friends when he triggered a violent avalanche. The slide tore through the couloir, leaving Strong and the other skiers badly injured. A year to the day after the tragedy, Strong — who spent three months in a wheelchair recovering — returns to ski the Slot Couloir and contemplate the fine balance between risk and passion. The film follows him as he reflects on his family, his love of the mountains and what he can learn from his mistakes.


How has John Kitchin found a way to connect physically to the center of the world and spiritually to the divine? By rollerblading. Sounds crazy, but before you write Kitchin off as certifiable, you should consider that his actual certifications are in neurology and psychiatry. If you’re someone who questions the sanity of daily life on the success treadmill, this film may push you to do what you want — and reap the rich psychic rewards that come with rolling through life.

The Sensei

Forty-six-year-old Yuji Hirayama is one of the great legends of climbing. Near retirement, he plans one big swan-song mission in the wild, mystical high-altitude jungles of Borneo. But he needs a worthy partner and finds Daniel Woods, a 21-year-old goofball skater kid who is arguably the strongest human being in the climbing world. In a classic story that crosses genres, Daniel-san travels to Japan to compete for the opportunity to work with Mr. Miyagi-like Hirayama.

The Secrets of the Mongolian Archers

Archery is in the Mongol blood. After all, Genghis Khan conquered half the world with it.

Sea of Rock

Four decades ago, a couple of young guys hauled a bicycle up Mont Simmerstein in a rugged pocket of the Austrian Alps and attempted to ride down. The mountain — known as the Sea of Rock for its jagged armor of boulders, stones and cliffs — destroyed the bike. Local mountain biker Harald Philipp has attempted the descent many times and failed — pits, technical sections and razor-sharp stones make it a nightmare. In Sea of Rock, Philipp recruits pro trails rider Thomas Ohler in the hope that, by combining their knowledge, they can successfully thread through the wicked terrain.


“Can we endure the things we do or not?” asks Wichan Chaona, a  poor trash picker who lives in Thailand. Reminiscent of Lucy Walker’s Waste Land (Mountainfilm 2010), this short film looks at the life of someone who has to work hard in tough conditions and still retains his dignity. Scavenger is a wonderfully spare film, telling the story of this simple and content man in a handsome, straightforward way.