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‘Valley Uprising’ Raises the Bar

Yosemite Park cliff climbing docu to rock San Sebastian auds

“Valley Uprising” makes its debut outside of producer Sender Films’ Reel Rock Film Tour for the first time in the San Sebastian Savage Cinema sidebar. Written and directed by Sender Films’ Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer, “Valley Uprising” is a culmination of the company’s efforts to bring extreme rock climbing sports to the public. “We want to bring the subculture of rock climbing to the mainstream audience just as Stacy Peralta’s ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’ did for skateboarding,” said Rosen. Plans include the hiring of an international sales agent to secure further distribution worldwide for the feature-length docu.

Seven years in the making, “Valley Uprising” traces more than 50 years of rock climbing history at Northern California’s Yosemite Park where a motley group of explorers and bohemians went up against authorities and the sheer face of Yosemite Park’s granite cliffs. Narrated by Peter Sarsgaard, docu features three generations of climbers, from some in their 80s to a new set of extreme athletes who carry on the mad tradition at what is considered the mecca of rock climbing.

Now on its ninth year, the Reel Rock Film Tour is a distribution/promotional platform that Sender Films launched to disseminate its outdoor adventure films, mainly shorts. Tour goes to 400 to 500 cities worldwide every year, out of which around 200 are in the U.S. Events include personal appearances of the top climbers, prize giveaways, and fund-raising for non-profit orgs. Screenings comprise of four to six shorts combined but this year will only showcase “Valley Uprising,” said Mortimer, who founded Sender Films in 1999. Docu had its world premiere in Boulder, Colorado at a sold-out 2,800 seating capacity venue on September 11 and will go on to screen at least once in every city on its tour sked.

Sender Films also produces half-hour episodes of TV series “Reel Rock,” now entering its third season on Outside TV in the U.S., and sold across the world, per Mortimer.

Avid rock climbers themselves, Rosen and Mortimer have shot “everywhere where there are rocks,” said Rosen. This includes Chile, Spain, France, Japan and Borneo. For Reel Rock’s 10th year, they’re planning to shoot in Greenland, Patagonia and Oklahoma among other places. “We have generally used helicopters in the past, and people on the walls, mostly. We also use portable cranes, but we are now shifting to drones for some of the big aerial shots,” said Mortimer.

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