An Accidental Life

An Accidental Life

An Accidental Life

Film Session(s)

Venue(s)

90 minutes, USA, 2021

 

 

When it comes to adventure sports it is common to elevate to fame those athletes who take the greatest risks and live to tell the tale. Similarly, we glorify and make into heroes those whose lives are lost in the trying. Rarely though do we take the time to look closely at those caught in the in between; those who take great risks, fail and suffer loss. This story shows the complexity of a whole human being in the midst of extraordinary change. It looks, unflinchingly, at the good, the bad and the ugly of Quinn's experience as she grapples with life after a near death rock climbing accident. Often popular media presents para-sports athlete stories, like Quinn's, as feel-good tales of epic human achievement with an invincible heroic protagonist at the center, but few films have the courage to look at the stories that could end in defeat. Fewer still are bold enough to look closely at the actual experiences of people adapting to and living with impairment. Having recently been one of North America's strongest and most accomplished athletes, Quinn's experience provides viewers with new insights on living with impairment. Her lived experience shared through film will challenge viewers to acknowledge stereotypes and perhaps face some of their own prejudices related to able-bodied privilege and profound transformation: On October 11, 2017 in Yosemite on El Capitan, while at the peak of her mountaineering prowess, Quinn Brett experienced one of the most traumatic accidents in the history of rock climbing. The lessons from such horror are only shared among those who survive and not only did Quinn astonishingly live to tell the tale but even more to endure the irreparable aftermath. Three months later she is scarred, paralyzed and disoriented yet fully engaged in PT with her therapists. One moment she is telling Henna Taylor (director and camera operator) raunchy jokes and the next she is waxing poetic. We see her longing and searching for any sign that the life she had will return as her playful optimism gives way to despair. The accident stripped Quinn of a meaningful career where she moved freely in the wilderness and also unintentionally formed a barrier between the people and purpose she loved. The same places where she voluntarily challenged her body now represent unavoidable mental obstacles - her past greatness mocks her present reality. She has only herself to blame for it. Two long years bring waves of loss and move Quinn through moments of fear, bitterness, self-deprecation, playfulness and ultimately discovery. She is on a personal and emotional journey deep into the process of grief. Can she foster joy in this new accidental life, even while mired in self-care and self-doubt? Over time and with great effort she finds different ways to move in the wilderness, a worthwhile job opportunity emerges and a spark of romance returns. To forgive herself for all that she's lost Quinn must return to her accident, confront her ghosts and reveal the beauty of what remains.

 

Director(s): Henna Taylor

Producer(s):