About this project
Director's note (Craig Muderlak): For decades, Yosemite rock climbing has received significant media attention, and in recent years the spotlight has grown exponentially. However, the vast majority of these productions have followed similar narratives, elite climbers pushing the limits of their athleticism. These fail to illuminate some of the most poignant human experiences transpiring in Yosemite and the climbing community at-large. We are producing a film that addresses these shortcomings through a narrative about the potential compassion of the climbing community.
As a filmmaker, I have the honor of documenting powerful human experiences unfold. More often than not the narrative takes a detour, becoming something much greater than the original story. This is just what happened last year in Yosemite when dozens of climbers, mostly strangers, came out of the woodwork to help Enock.
Enock was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida rendering him paralyzed from the waist down. For the past few years, Enock has participated in the Paradox Sports adaptive climbing program, and with the help of Sean O’Neill, experienced sit-climber, and other Paradox Sports volunteers, guides, and participants, Enock has been training for his dream of climbing El Capitan. I first met Enock a few years ago at a Paradox Sports ice-climbing event. Since then, we have become friends, and along with so many others I have supported his journey to climb El Cap.
Enock would not be the first adaptive climber to ascend El Cap - there is a substantial history of disabled climbers doing astonishing climbs in Yosemite and beyond. However this is much more than a film about a paraplegic climber. This is about the extensive network behind an adaptive climb: the mentors, family, friends, and strangers committed to helping Enock reach his dream.
ENOCK'S MENTOR SEAN O'NEILL - offers perspective on climbing
With his first Yosemite trip under his belt and additional training over the past year, Enock is prepared to return to Yosemite this Fall for an attempt at El Cap. The climbing team has been chosen carefully. Christian Cattell, who has multiple El Cap ascents and was part of the team last year, will be joining the team again. Christian's positive attitude and excitement is a huge asset to the success of this project. He will be leading much of the climb and will be focused on getting the team up El Cap. Gary Dunn, who has guided and worked closely with Paradox Sports for years, is highly experienced with adaptive climbing techniques and will be Enock's main support. I will be climbing with the team and filming. As a film-maker with multiple El Cap ascents, I really enjoy being both a part of the climbing and the production. This can be a difficult balance but also affords me a unique perspective, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Enock will be doing what he came to do, get himself up El Cap as safely and efficiently as possible. The climbing team is ready to go and a large contingent of friends will be joining Enock in Yosemite to offer support. Surely, strangers will once again come out of the woodwork!
ENOCK - his perspective on the challenges of asking for help
This Kickstarter campaign will help to fund a 30 minute film that captures the full depth of this compelling narrative. The film will include interviews sharing the perspectives of many of the individuals involved with this project, including the friends, family, and strangers who assisted Enock throughout his journey. First and foremost, we want to share this film with you, our supporters, through downloadable versions and DVD. We also anticipate submitting Enock to film festivals and plan to create shorter versions of the film to tell the story through social media and other channels.
Quite honestly, the amount of time and resources we have dedicated to the production up to this point already exceeds the funding we're asking for, and we still need to return to Yosemite this October for the climb followed by countless hours of post-production. To do this, we are asking for $10,000, the absolute minimum funding to make this production possible. Keep in mind that a significant part of this budget will go towards transportation, film permits, production costs and creating rewards. This leaves essentially nothing to cover our labor.
We will be completing this film regardless of the outcome of this campaign - Myself and the rest of the team are deeply committed to helping Enock succeed and also share this story. We have come so far, and we're not about to stop. However, going well above and beyond this funding goal will really help us do justice to this narrative. An increased budget will allow us to enhance the film and allocate additional funds towards interviews, soundtrack and music licensing as well as a variety of elements in post-production including color correction and motion graphics. We only have 30 days to raise this money so thank you for your support and please share with as many people as you can!
Because your support means so much, we have put a lot of thought into how we want to return the favor. We are offering some special rewards that we feel match the unique quality of this production. Many of these rewards are one-of-a kind, handmade works of art. Much of the imagery, including the DVD sleeves, and posters will be hand silk-screened by the team.
Here are some examples of your rewards:
Muderlak Art Prints and Original Illustrations
Risks and challenges
As with any adventure, producing a climbing narrative has risks and uncertainty. However, this is also what creates inspirational, compelling stories. I began this film thinking I would simply document Enock climbing El Cap. It has since transformed into a much richer narrative about this journey and the interpersonal relationships that were created and cultivated through this challenge. Whether or not Enock makes it up El Cap is essentially irrelevant because there is a much deeper narrative that transcends the climbing objective.
Climbing El Cap is a large undertaking even under normal circumstances. However, in our case it has additional challenges. For one, we must rely heavily on the help of others. Without the many hands required to carry Enock to the base and down from the top of El Cap, this objective is not even possible. Completing both this climbing objective and production will be a monumental feat requiring the generosity and support of dozens of individuals willing to lend a hand. While we plan on having as much help as possible organized prior to our arrival in Yosemite, there will undoubtedly be last minute adjustments and scrambling to secure this help. While this uncertainty is stressful, it is also the beauty of this story, and we will have the camera out to capture the process as it unfolds.
On that note, please spread the word. If you happen to be in Yosemite in October and want to lend a hand, please be in touch!
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