When you think of filmmakers pushing the boundaries of film making the first thing that pops into your head is Hollywood. Big budgets big stages doing big things. Yet, how come every story seems to be something we've seen before with a touch better cgi. Shot on a new expensive camera and in front of a green screen.
In my opinion film making is pushed to its absolute limits in backcountry adventure filmmaking. In recent years the advances in camera technologies have allowed filmmakers to do more than they ever could before. One of the best films of the year Meru, which won best documentary at sundance, is one such film. While the cameras were nothing incredible, a 5d mkii and a point and shoot hd panasonic the journey they were able to capture was something completely different. Pushing themselves to the limit as well as their gear is what adventure filmmaking is all about.
This is where true filmmaking really comes into play. You can bring your fancy slider up the mountain with you but you may have to sacrifice bringing food. To survive and to succeed you need to be very particular with what you want to do. Life and death can be a matter weight when on a mountain. Also having the pure ability to film incredible footage while also climbing is a task for true adventurers. Losing focus for a second can be deadly. It is an intricate balance.
So is filmmaking progressing in Hollywood? Yes it is, but it is a completely different game from people literally risking their lives for their films. That is where the true essence of filmmaking lies. In the lines between life, death, nature, and art.
Here is a film that documents the tricky balance between packing gear and supplies all while telling an incredible story.