Moscow author Buddy Levy had a hand in the film that won the Grand Prize at the 2018 Banff Mountain Film Festival earlier this month in Alberta, Canada.
The film, “The Weight of Water,” draws from Levy’s book, “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon,” which he co-wrote with adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to kayak the canyon and to climb Mount Everest.
Levy traveled with Weihenmayer’s expedition through the canyon. Emmy-winning director Michael Brown also followed the trip with a film crew. The film had its world premier at the festival.
Levy helped write the original overview of the film, and material from the book is included in voice-overs, he said. Besides the grand prize, “The Weight of Water” also won Best Mountain Sports film.
“It was really cool, and I think a bit unexpected,” Levy said about the film winning the top prize. “Certainly you go into a film festival hoping things go well, but there’s a lot of great, incredible talent out there.”
While Levy’s book chronicled Weihenmayer’s life and trip through the canyon, the film focuses on the expedition and contrasts Weihenmayer with his friend Lonnie Bedwell, another blind man who trained for the journey, Levy said. “It’s a super intense and emotional movie.”
Levy said he hopes to bring the film to Moscow for a showing next spring. In the meantime it will travel to other film festivals around the world.
“It’s a really great study in the way people confront a similar challenge and why it’s so much harder for one than the other. Part of it is how you’re hardwired and part of it is how you confront fear and those things that are unknown to us.”