Breckenridge Film Fest: ‘Higher’ premier highlight of adventure films |

Breckenridge Film Fest: ‘Higher’ premier highlight of adventure films

Ryland Bell hikes for turns in Alaska in 'Higher.' The new Teton Gravity Research film tells the story of exciting ascents and descents in Alaska, Wyoming and Nepal.
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: Breckenridge Film Festival Adventure Reel

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19

• “Snows of the Nile”

• “Schnee Running”

• “Last Weekend”

• “Bryan and Kaia”

• “Beyond the Drop”

• “Killian Martin – India Within”


• “Roraima — Climbers of the Lost World”

After party: 9 p.m. at Cecilia’s Martini Bar & Nightclub, 520 S. Main St., Breckenridge; open to the public

What: Rocky Mountain premier of “Higher” at Breckenridge Film Festival

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20

After party: 8:30 p.m. at Blue Stag Saloon, 323 S. Main St., Breckenridge; open to the public

Where: Both screenings are held at the Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets for each showing are $20

More information: Visit, or call (970) 453-6200

With the winter adventure season quickly approaching, snow seekers are finding inspiration from films that share powder stashes and stories of shredding it, while travel-hungry viewers feed their wanderlust with tales of worldly expeditions.

The Breckenridge Film Festival, which runs Thursday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 21, on Friday night will feature the Adventure Reel, a series that launched at the festival last year.

“We wanted to open the doors for people to enjoy all types of films,” said Janice Kurbjun, executive director of the Breckenridge Film Festival. “And our goal with the Adventure Reel is to not only engage the people who want to see that type of film but also the types of people who would want to create that type of film.”

From 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, the Adventure Reel screening will project both short and long award-winning films, one after the other, including “Snows of the Nile,” on questing after glaciers in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains; “Beyond the Drop,” documenting kayaking in the rain forests of Southern Mexico; and after intermission, an epic first accent through dense rainforest and up the steep walls of Guyana’s Mount Roraima in “Roraima — Climbers of the Lost World.”

“we are out to engage people with the stories and give them something to talk about …”

“The film tells a universal story that anybody who is interested in climbing, the outdoors or just adventure films in general can relate to,” said Lisa Stolze, project manager of film festivals for Red Bull Media House, the production company behind the “Roraima” film. “It’s a story about friendship and breaking free from society that lets the characters tell their own story at times.”


On Saturday night at 6 p.m., the festival continues to share adventure with the Rocky Mountain premier of “Higher,” a Teton Gravity Research film that tells the story of exciting ascents and descents in Alaska, Wyoming and Nepal, as well as an introspective look into the life of a snowsports pioneer, Jeremy Jones — his life, his family and the balance of these passions.

“‘Higher’ is my story from growing up on Cape Cod and really following my passions, letting nothing get in the way of snowboarding,” Jeremy Jones says in the film. “Along the way, I realized it’s not about standing on the highest peak or not about the descent. It’s really the journey, the emotions, the people you meet along the way. It truly is, the journey is the reward.”

Kurbjun said she has seen the other two films that Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research have produced, and they stand out from other ski movies in their documentary focus.

“You see what Jeremy goes through to get up there and what the other athletes go through,” she said of “Higher.” “So it’s more of a documentary than it is just a pure entertainment piece. From a film festival perspective, we wanted to remain true to presenting a good story line, in addition to having excellent footage, sound and overall production.”

What’s captivating about the film, beyond the details of the journey, are the stories behind the faces and names; the elements “that go deeper than a ski line and landscapes,” Kurbjun said.

“Jeremy gets a chance to talk about the dynamics of his family life versus his professional life, so that’s what makes it such an engaging documentary,” she said. “You get to know him and get to know what he does and why he does what he does. For the festival, we are out to engage people with the stories and give them something to talk about afterwards — and this one really gets your heart pumping, too.”


Saturday night’s premier wraps up with the Blue Stag Party at the Blue Stag Saloon on Main Street in Breckenridge. It begins at 8:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

“Our goal with having as many gatherings as we do is to give people who have attended the films a chance to talk about them,” Kurbjun said, “because a lot of times film is kind of a lonely, subjective experience, and the whole idea of film festivals is to make it a communal experience.”

After seeing the Adventure Reel, “Higher,” or any other 6 p.m. showing on Friday or Saturday, or even before attending a 9 p.m. film, Kurbjun explained that the after-parties are the perfect chance to share experiences of taking in these international expeditions.

“These films will remind viewers of the art of taking in one’s surroundings and appreciating the minutia of the adventure,” she said.

The Breckenridge Film Festival’s Adventure Reel begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center, and tickets are $20 for the show, which includes access to the after-party. “Higher” is showing at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center. Ticket prices are $20, which includes access to the post-event party at Blue Stag. Pre-sale tickets and all-access festival passes with reserved seats can be purchased at

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