“Follow rising talent Brette Harrington on a global journey from her hometown granite in Squamish to the big wall proving ground of Yosemite’s El Capitan and onto a landmark free solo in Patagonia.”
Pete Mortimer and Nick Rosen are partners at Sender Films and REEL ROCK. I spent an afternoon at their Boulder, Colorado office/garden/compound chatting about the stories behind the films of REEL ROCK 11.
SD: How did you discover Brette’s story?
Pete: Many of the characters who we’ve discovered on Reel Rock, all come the same way. The guys who we think are badasses and are drinking with or whatever, they tell us. The jaded, core Yosemite guys told us about Alex. And this is also how we heard about Brette and Marc-Andre Leclerc. This whole Squamish scene from Matt Segal and Jenn Rapp to Jesse Huey were all like, “When are you going to do a film about Brette?”
SD: How do you think this one will resonate?
Pete: It could be flat for some people because it’s kind of a journey. But for others it will connect very deeply. I mean she’s a cute climber girl like you see 10,000 of in Boulder but then she’s free-soloing major routes and trying to free 5.13 her first time on El Cap. She’s hand drilling bolts, and the drill is half as big as she is.
Nick: What’s special here is that we captured the first year of full-time climbing of a woman who is probably going to be a legend. She’s on the trajectory of being the Steph Davis of her generation. We look back at a film like Alone on the Wall, and in that Alex Honnold hadn’t yet become who he is. In the same way, this is a platform to launch a personality.
Pete: We look back at a film like Alone on the Wall, and in that Alex Honnold hadn’t yet become who he is. In the same way, this is a platform to launch a personality.
SD: How do you detect that in a climber, that their climbing style and personality could have the potential to grow or change the culture of climbing or be, as you said Nick, legendary?
Pete: We don’t go into making films with that in mind. But after hours of stories about them, from people we really respect, I bought a ticket to go skiing with them for a few days and get to know them.
Nick: Another new way is social media. Before we got the word about Brette, we were following her on Facebook. This was not a polished professional climbing social media feed. It was totally personal and natural and that she was on an incredible tear. Her lifestyle was clearly inspiring.
Find background and commentary from each of the REEL ROCK 11 films here.