Climber and filmmaker Cedar Wright brought his latest film, Sufferfest to our Radical Reels screening for the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. In the film, he and pal Alex Honnold attempt to ride bikes through California, climbing all the state’s 14,000-foot peaks (often without a map). The result: epic sunburn, realization that they have no bike trip experience, and a descent into what Wright calls “the pain cave.”
I asked Wright, an alum of the Banff Centre Adventure Filmmakers’ Workshop, if he felt pressure to follow through with the film, even when it was clear that a) it wasn’t fun, and b) the entire project was becoming a mammoth task.
Once things get really shit, that’s when you know you have a good story. I’ve been climbing professionally for over ten years on the North Face team and so I think I’ve come to terms with balancing motivation vs Kodak courage. It’s a very similar dynamic in a sense because it’s all about being honest with yourself and not putting yourself in mortal danger. It’s one thing to go out of your comfort zone and feel like you might injure yourself and another thing to kill yourself. You just have to know where that line is, with being honest with yourself. Certainly there was a healthy amount of pressure, with the amount of people that were following us, for us to follow through with the project. It was good that we had that pressure. If anything in the future I’d be a little more prepared – like maybe thinking about bringing some of the basic stuff like maps and knowing bike trails for a start.