When a crew of filmmakers and kayakers head to the Mexican jungle to hunt big waterfalls, they find a place of unrelenting rain, heinous insects, thick mud, scary viruses and utter perfection. Cascada, another gorgeous short film by Forge Motion Pictures, follows the crew as they explore a world beyond expectations, where biting flies, tangled vines and shoddy hotel rooms can’t detract from the unrivaled waterfalls and powerful rapids they discover.
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.
Last winter, if you had happened upon a particular isolated and frigid beach north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, you might have been surprised to find two young men, two surfboards and a pile of garbage. Inge Wegge (age 25) and Jørn Ranum (age 22) spent nine months of the year — of which all could arguably be considered winter in the frozen north — testing a hypothesis that they could live happily, and even comfortably, off the waste of others. They chose this beach because it held a well-kept secret: some of the world’s finest undiscovered surfing waves. Bringing only their surfboards and their enthusiasm for adventure, the duo picked up driftwood to build a shelter, found a barrel to use as a stove, hiked to a nearby town to collect free expired food from a grocery store, caught fish and also caught waves. Almost as an aside, Wegge and Ranum piled washed-up garbage (despite its remoteness, the beach seems to collect a lot human detritus) to remove at the end of their stay. The location of their makeshift home will remain a secret, but they are generous enough to share the story of their winter North of the Sun with us.
Did these men and women travel here, to the windswept and starkly beautiful grasslands of Spioenkop, South Africa, to fight on historic battlegrounds, or did they come for celebration? Both, it would seem. Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding,” this short film tells the story of the 2012 Single Speed World Championships, the first held in Africa. With dreamlike shots and oblique narration, it follows mountain bikers as they fight, struggle and rediscover their love for the bike. As the film puts it, “Dust in the air suspended. The beauty vanquished. They paw the ground. They snort the air. But the hurt they deliver is unto themselves.”