San Sebastian expands Savage Cinema

Festival showcases eight titles in its high adrenaline segment.

by Amber Wilkinson

Chasing Niagara will have its world premiere in San Sebastian
Chasing Niagara will have its world premiere in San Sebastian Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
San Sebastian has announced an expanded line-up for its Savage Cinema section for this year's 63rd edition, which this year features six features and two shorts.

Among the films screening are Jimmy Chin's mountain-shot Meru, which won a Best Documentary award at Sundance along with the world premiere of Guido Perrini's Degrees North, which explores the art of snowboarding across natural terrain, known as freeriding. Heavy Water/The Life and Times of Nathan Fletcher will also have its world premiere - charting the life of the 'big wave' surfer. Rush Sturges' Chasing Niagara - which tracks a journey through the rainforest rivers to the waterfalls of the US - will also have its world premiere.

The full list of titles are below (synopses provided by the festival):

Chasing Niagara Rush Sturges (Mexico/Canada/USA) world premiere

When pro kayaker Rafa Ortiz makes the decision to paddle over Niagara Falls, he sets in motion an incredible series of events that eventually takes on a life of its own. To prepare for this mission, Rafa enlists the help of world-renowned paddler Rush Sturges and a tight team of their friends. Together they go on a remarkable three-year journey from the rainforest rivers of Mexico to the towering waterfalls of the US Northwest. Their journey concludes in Canada where the team plays a cat-and-mouse game with local police before Rafa’s mission comes to a heart-stopping climax at the iconic Falls.

Degrees North Guido Perrini (Switzerland) world premiere

A film which mixes hair-raising action footage of leading freeriders with a story of adventure and discovery. World-renowned freeriders Xavier De Le Rue, Samuel Anthamatten and Ralph Backstrom progress the sport of freeriding through the use new technology to scope remote areas in order to show ski and snowboard action in a way never seen before.

Heavy Water/The Life And Times Of Nathan Fletcher Michael Oblowitz (US) world premiere

From his first sorties at big Waimea at 11 years of age, Nathan Fletcher showed a prodigious aptitude to big wave surfing. He grew into a professional surfer following in his father and grandfather footsetps, trying to conquer the giant surf of the Hawaiin Outer reefs. In Sion Milowsky, Nathan found an equally driven peer. Together they reignited the “big gun” style of paddle in surfing. Our story follows our modern day Big Wave adventures as they live out the drama in an arena that encounters life and death.

Meru Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin (US)

Three elite climbers struggle to find their way through obsession and loss as they attempt to climb Mount Meru, one of the most coveted prizes in the high stakes game of Himalayan big wall climbing.

The Search For Freedom Jon Long (Canada)

This is a story about the pursuit of freedom, seen through the eyes of a group of people who created a cultural phenomenon. It is about the freedom that is accessible to everyone; the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes you feel the most alive.

Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans John McKenna, Gabriel Clarke (UK)

By 1970, Steve McQueen ruled Hollywood. Now the aspiring mogul and racing fanatic could do the movie that was his life's passion. The making of the film changed his life forever. The film interweaves stunning newly discovered footage and voice recordings with original interviews. It is the true story of how a cinema legend would risk almost everything in pursuit of his dream.

Panaroma Short film Jon Herranz Hernández (Spain) world premiere

In July 2014, Edu Marín tackled the hardest challenge of his life: to scale with his 62 year-old father, Francisco Marín "Novato", the mythical "Panaroma" route opened by Alex Huber in 2007. Standing in the Tre Cime di Lavaredo National Park, the line is graded with a difficulty of 8c and has a height of 500 metres.

Paul Short film Victor van Vloten, Robert van Wingerden (Netherlands)

An inspiring story about Paul, a 13-year-old boy from the Dunoon township in Capetown, South Africa. Paul has a dream, a dream he thinks about all day long; he wants to become a surfer. But for boys from Dunoon it's not easy to surf. There's no transport to the beach and no money for equipment.

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