The Laramie community is invited to join a free online screening of a new climbing film that premiered in January.
“Pretty Strong” follows five female climbers to climbing locations around the world, making it the first climbing film with female main characters created by an all-woman team.
“That’s a thing that hasn’t happened in the climbing media world,” said co-director Julie Ellison.
A live screening had been planned at the University of Wyoming before it became an online event, courtesy of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Outdoor Program. Viewers must register at uwyo.edu/rec/outdoor-program/events.html.
Ellison, who directed the film together with Colette McInerney, is part of an all-woman production company called the Never Not Collective, consisting of outdoor media veterans. When they formed in 2016, they wanted to do a mix of commercial work and passion projects. “Pretty Strong” became their first big project.
“We’d never seen this (type of) film before,” she said. “It was something we’d wanted from the time we started climbing.”
According to Ellison, no high-production climbing narrative has ever been made about women. Most segments that even show women climbing use them to supplement a story about male climbers.
By contrast, “Pretty Strong” follows five of the best female climbers in the world as they work on everything from bouldering projects to big wall climbs.
Ellison said they started with a long list of potential climbers to feature and gradually narrowed the list depending on who was available, what they were working on and other factors.
“We wanted to try to cast a wide net as far as the style of climbing and also their backgrounds, ages and where they’re from,” she said.
The production team used a crowd-funding platform for their initial funding push before finding corporate sponsors to fill in the rest of their budget. They quickly met their initial funding goal and were excited about the support they were gaining.
“What was most important was to see the overwhelming support of the film idea itself,” she said.
Ellison said climbers and non-climbers alike might be able to find inspiration from watching the stars of “Pretty Strong” go after big goals, failing repeatedly in the process.
“There’s no harm in trying — finding motivation to tackle projects that you’ve been putting off because you’re afraid of failure,” she said.
The film premiered in Boulder, Colorado, in January before making about 100 stops to begin a national film tour that was cut short in mid-March. Another 200 screenings were on the calendar through the rest of spring, which have been either cancelled, postponed or moved online.
The film is also available to rent at nevernotcollective.com.