Ostensibly, Walled In is the story of a first descent of the rowdy Marble Fork of the Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park by kayakers Ben Stookesbury and Chris Korbulic, but this film poses bigger questions than whether the pair can send a river that flows from above 12,000 feet in elevation to near sea level in less than 30 miles. It asks why they choose to engage in a sport that carries the threat of death, which they witnessed when their partner Hendri Coetzee was eaten by a crocodile in the Congo in 2010 (Kadoma, Mountainfilm 2011).
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC YOUNG EXPLORERS
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 25, you can apply for a Young Explorers Grant from National Geographic Society. The monetary support maxes out at $5,000, but the stamp of approval from the Society is priceless. Many great and famous explorers received their first support from National Geographic.
Annie Agnone is a photographer who converted her car into a camper and drove over 20,000 miles through 36 states to document nocturnal culture in the United States. Along the way, she met all sorts of night owls, including Bigfoot enthusiasts who call themselves “Squatchers.”
Devlin Gandy grew up in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of Los Angeles. Living in mountains so close to a large urban environment helped him understand the complicated relationship between the two different areas. He’s now studying anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. For his Young Explorers Grant project, he photographed Chumash rock art in stunning and hard-to-reach corners of California.
Jeffrey Kerby is a photographer and Ph.D. student at Penn State. His photos of the remarkable interactions between the highly social gelada monkeys and Ethiopian wolves on the remote Guassa Plateau have been published in numerous academic journals, popular magazines and books.
Amber Valenti is a physician assistant who undertook a documentary expedition on one of the world’s least-known free flowing rivers, the Amur, where she documented sections from the remote Mongolian headwaters to a massive delta in Russia.
In Person: Annie AgnoneDevlin GandyJeffrey KerbyAmber Valenti