2018 was a busy year for me. I made two SheLift films – both of which can be seen here – but by far, the highlight of the year was telling the remarkable story of Kaitlin Heatherly’s trip to the Paraclimbing World Championships.
It was a cool culmination of the hard work Sarah Herron has put into SheLift. Because, well, Kaitlin is a SheLift alumna. She attended SheLift Goes to Moab, and after nearly vomiting before her first rappel in Moab, she went home and started climbing. Her story is why Sarah Herron started SheLift.
Sarah saw the potential of Kaitlin’s story and came to me to make the film. We had made three SheLift retreat films at the point of production, so it was an obvious evolution. Plus, I love the story telling opportunity of documentaries!
We met up with Kaitlin in Atlanta, where we filmed her in her gym, at home, and at work. From there, we hopped the pond and traveled to Innsbruck, Austria, where we filmed Kaitlin compete in the Paraclimbing World Championships.
As the name would imply, she got DEAD LAST, but left with so much more than a place on the podium could ever have given her! (You’ll have to watch to find out what!).
Fast forward 6 months and the film took off! After it’s premiere at 5Point film festival, it was licensed by REI, receiving over 500k views! Since its inaugural showing, DEAD LAST has now been shown in four countries around the world and has been shown at more than half a dozen film festivals.
When Sarah and I set out to tell Kaitlin’s story, we just wanted to share a SheLift success story. But after 500k views and countless emails, shares, and comments, it’s really become a story way beyond what we could have imagined.
I’m honored to have had the opportunity to tell this story, and to get to know the paraclimbing community. Keep at Kaitlin! You’re an inspiration for us all!
To no avail, please enjoy!