Our favorite paddling films of 2022 took us to waterways far away and close to home. And they shared with us creative perspectives on how our beloved pastimes intersect with the world around us.
These 9 films are currently screening as part of the Paddling Film Festival, which has been showcasing the very best paddling films since 2006.
A Quality Of Imagination
In a culture seemingly full of adrenaline junkies and going bigger, Benny Marr contemplates the ultimate form of self-expression, and the subtle moments defining one’s style.
Director: Caleb Roberts[ A Quality Of Imagination is included in our Adrenaline 2022 Virtual Program. Click here to buy your virtual ticket. ]
Seeking a deeper encounter with the territory of the Inuit, six paddlers plan to make the first recorded descent of a little-known river in northern Quebec. Tradition survives in the life and language of the Inuit. Their knowledge of the physical world and the seasons guides the team in its journey. Set against an imposing background of snow, tundra and whitewater rapids, this documentary is a call to go beyond: out onto the land, and inward into ourselves.
Director & Producer: Francois Leger-Savard[ Following Lines is included in our Adventure 2022 Virtual Program. Click here to buy your virtual ticket. ]
Voice Above Water
This is the story of a 90-year-old Balinese fisherman, Wayan, who can no longer fish because of the vast amount of plastic pollution in the ocean. Wayan instead uses his fishing boat and net to collect trash from the ocean in hopes of one day being able to fish again. The story is a glimpse into how one human uses his resources to make a difference and a reminder that if we all play our part, we can accomplish something much greater than ourselves.
Director: Dana Frankoff
Producer: Dana Frankoff, Eric Ebner
Iceland is the land of fire and ice, and also one of the places with the highest concentration of waterfalls. This makes it one of the most popular places for extreme kayaking. Even so, given the inaccessibility of its rivers and the harsh climate, there is still a lot of territory left to explore. Three friends enter new valleys to explore rivers and waterfalls never descended before.
Director: Mikel Sarasola[ Jötunn is included in our Adrenaline 2022 Virtual Program. Click here to buy your virtual ticket. ]
Sheri Tingey defied the odds by starting a company at age 50 that revolutionized the outdoor industry. This film is about the hurdles she overcame to launch the company and how she hid from view so people would judge the boats and not her role in creating them. At this watershed moment of reckoning around equity and inclusion for the industry and paddling lifestyle, Sheri’s story will warm hearts while also challenging the audience to grapple with presumptions about who belongs.
Director: James Q Martin
Producer: Sheila Smithson
For whitewater dory lovers, there’s no better place than Idaho. The state’s miles of wild, free-flowing rivers are home to the country’s deepest gorges and some of the best big water rapids. In 1972, renowned conservationist and Grand Canyon Dories founder Martin Litton asked Curt Chang if he’d like to take some boats and a crew to Hells Canyon. After an initial scouting trip, Curt started up the Idaho operation. Since then, Curt has fostered a community of guides who care deeply about rivers, running good trips and the legacy of dories.
Director: Logan Bockrath[ Dory Land is included in our Voices 2022 Virtual Program. Click here to buy your virtual ticket. ]
The Commute: A Four Day Paddle To Work
Following two rivers, one drain, one sea and one creek, it turns out paddling to work—which ends up being mostly a drag over four full days—is bloody hard work. The Commute is an intimate view into the good and bad of humanity. Told with award-winning filmmaker Beau Miles’ trademark mix of humor and philosophy, what started as a stunt turns out to be the hardest, most insightful four days of travel he’s ever done.
Director: Beau Miles
Producers: Beau Miles, Mitch Drummond
Rumors emerged from Angola about a river the size of the Zambezi laden with rapids, but hidden behind an iron layer of bureaucracy and the aftermath of a 27-year civil war that raged across wild savannahs. Those rumors lured three expedition kayakers on the adventure of a lifetime. Kwanza is the story of Mike Dawson, Dewet Michau and Jake Holland, who embrace the challenge of the wild Kwanza River and race against time to kayak its mighty rapids before dams drown them.
Director: Mike Dawson
Producers: Mike Dawson, Jake Holland
American Whitewater River Safety Parts I & II
American Whitewater is proud to release a new series of river safety films. These films offer up-to-date and easily digestible tips to help keep you safe on the water. Designed to simply and effectively communicate the most basic elements of whitewater safety, these films provide a basis for essential, but not always readily available, river knowledge anyone wishing to spend time in a river environment should know.
Director: Brendan Wells
Producers: Evan Stafford, American Whitewater
2022 Film Festival Viewing
The 2022 Paddling Film Festival is brought to viewers with the support of our festival partners: Spectacular Northwest Territories, Aqua Bound, Black Feather, Aire, Kokatat, the Canadian Canoe Museum, Nova Craft Canoe, Ottawa Valley, Thomas Rivers University, Trak and the Water Sports Foundation.
Find more information on screening as well as how you can submit to next year’s Paddling Film Festival.