A Rock Spot Climbing Film Fest Screened Local Mountaineers’ Adventures 

Enthusiasts share their peaks and valleys on film

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Last November, a unique competition was held at Rock Spot Climbing in Peace Dale. The Action Film Festival, an event held to spotlight the talents of those in the climbing community, welcomed over a dozen local submissions from amateur to semi-professional filmmakers.

“The festival was a great way to bring our community together,” says Heather DeSantis, a manager at Rock Spot. “It was a good way to showcase the cool things you can do in and outside of the gym, and kind of get to know what other people are up to. There are a lot of people that start climbing who have never climbed outdoors, so it's a window into that experience. It gets people excited to go outside and try new things.”

The festival has run on and off since 2017. “In the climbing community, a lot of people like to make films about specific climbs they do and share them to get things out into the world,” explains DeSantis. “There's an International Film Festival called Reel Rock, which has the best climbing feats of the season, along with notable stories in the climbing community. We are doing a mini-version of that.”

The submissions come from all over the region and this year included a couple of shorts filmed in New Hampshire and Vermont. “There was one from Colorado,” adds DeSantis. “People will submit their climbing trips, anything notable that they do.”

The 2022 festival showcased 12 submissions awarding prizes in five categories – Best Film, Best Soundtrack, Most Comedic, Most Action Packed, and Staff Pick. “Some were very casual … there was one submitted that announced ‘we only have 55 minutes to climb before we have to go to a meeting,’” resulting in a fast-paced comedy. “And there were professional videographers doing long-feature documentaries.”

The pace varies, much like the sport of rock climbing. “Climbing is one of those sports where GoPro footage isn't that interesting to watch, like a close up of a rock. It's not like mountain biking footage, which is very cool from a point-of-view perspective. Rock climbing is usually your friends getting footage of you doing cool things.” 

Several videos demonstrated the trial-and-error of reaching a peak. “We got a lot of submissions documenting someone's project of the season, showing the process of trying a climb several times before they get it,” DeSantis continues. “So they'll have all the footage leading up to it, maybe the five times they couldn't do a certain move, and then the one time they were successful.”

Channeling the energy of the filmmakers’ climbing feats, anyone bitten by the climbing bug can visit Rock Spot, whether experienced or novice, and carve their own niche. “We have a couple of different types of climbing in the gym,” says DeSantis. “We have bouldering which is ropeless climbing, and we have roped climbing. We have auto belays in the building which means you don’t have to have any climbing experience. You can start from day one and just get right into it.” Peace Dale, RockSpotClimbing.com

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