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Whistler climbers, filmmakers fuse spirit, adrenaline on celluloid

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Unyeilding rock. Antogonizing ice. Blistering heat. Numbing cold. Beyond Gravity is an adventure into the elements and into the souls of the people who challenge them.

The 52 minute climbing film is the sweat and tears of Aaron Black of Whistler and Sean White and Aaron Jackson, both from Vancouver. All three have yet to reach their 26 th birthdays, but already have established credentials with North America’s top outdoor publications.

Black’s work has been featured in TransWorld Snowboarding, Snowboard Canada and Mountain Bike Action, just to name a few. White’s photos have been picked up by National Geographic, Maclean’s , and his multimedia show "Himalayan High" has toured extensively across Canada and is displayed in museums and galleries. Jackson has been published in Climbing, Rock and Ice and Surfer . His latest work, 5 mm Canada, is the first Canadian surf film and has been nominated for Cinematography of the Year by Surfer Magazine.

The collaboration of these three extreme enthusiasts in Beyond Gravity could also establish a landmark and set new standards for Canadian climbing films.

"There are so many snowboard films out there, but nothing really on climbing in Canada," says Black. "At first we just set out to film our friends climbing in Squamish."

But through a series of cold phone calls and chance meetings, the trio’s project began to gain momentum. Those familiar with the sport will recognize such names as Andrew Boyd, Katie Brown, Peter Croft and Steve House. Locals will recognize the faces of Jia Condon, Rich Prohaska and Conny Amelunxen. Climbing legend and author, Greg Child, narrates.

"When I made the suggestion of narration to tie the film together," says Jackson, "Sean and Aaron said ‘yeah, do you want to do it?’ I laughed and said ‘no.’"

They agreed they should have someone "prolific" to help lend credibility to the film. Child was the first choice.

"Aaron said ‘we can’t just call him!’ I was more worried about what he was going to charge," jokes Jackson.

Their quest to show genuine climbers outside the glamourized element of Hollywood must have been obvious. Child immediately agreed to narrate the low-budget film for a reasonable fee.

Whistler climber Prohaska agrees that genuine quality shines through in the finished product.

"It’s definitely more modest. Like how they would’ve made films 20 years ago. Grades aren’t involved. Skill isn’t really mentioned. It’s about why you climb. Most ski, snowboard and climbing movies out there show the name of the athlete, what they’re doing and it’s almost like a commercial."

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