If you follow extreme sports/snowboarding at all you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with Kevin Pearce. Prior to this year, all I knew was that he was an American snowboarder who’d had a serious injury at some point. I think I picked up on this while watching some of the Winter X Games in 2011 where many snowboarders were using equipment plastered with “I Ride for Kevin” stickers. I didn’t really think too much about it at the time, or even afterwards, until Kevin’s story came up on an episode of RadioWest back in January.
January is the month of the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where RadioWest is based, and the host, Doug Fabrizio, was doing profiles of some of the films that were being shown. One of these profiles was of the film The Crash Reel, which tells the story of Kevin’s rise as a pro snowboarder, the catastrophic effects of his traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the challenges he and and his family faced (and still struggle with) during his ongoing recovery. The podcast is primarily an interview with the director of The Crash Reel and it’s star, Kevin Pearce. And it’s damn good. Doug is solid, as always, at leading the conversation down an interesting path; Kevin is endearing and thoughtful and not at all what you expect from a pro snowboarder; Lucy Walker (the director) is insightful and passionate.
I had the chance to see a screening of The Crash Reel at this year’s True/False Film Festival here in Columbia; it lived up to and surpassed the expectations I had based on the interview. It deals with truth and fantasy and tragedy and the most committed love. It is thrilling and funny, heart-wrenching and disturbing, and, maybe above all else, it leaves you with something almost tangible that you can turn over and over in your thoughts.
You can listen to the podcast on RadioWest’s website here (the interview was actually just rebroadcast a couple weeks ago) or subscribe in iTunes. And you can go to thecrashreel.com for a clip of the film, a list of screenings (minimal for now, but hopefully it will reach wider audiences soon), and info on Kevin’s TBI awareness campaign.
*I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Because I love to learn. Because it’s a medium unlike any other. And, mostly, because there are so many good stories being told through audio. Worth a Listen is my way of sharing things I’ve found that struck me as particularly thoughtful, or funny, or moving, or just…worth a listen. If you’ve heard something recently that’s sticking with you, please share!*