Sharp End Wins Best Adventure Film at X-Dance

Sender’s latest release takes down surf, ski, and skate films for first place

If you’ve got a couple hours to spare, The Sharp End will deliver more adrenaline than military-grade epinephrine and you don’t even have to get off the couch. The film, which premiered September 10th of last year, is a heart-stopping compilation of athletes pushing the bleeding edge of what climbing can be, from 20-yard runouts on sketchy trad to Dean Potter’s new personal experiment, BASE soloing. Expect 45-foot highballs in the Buttermilks, alpine pioneers sinking ice tools into hoary glaze thinner than your fingernail, and a whole lot of enormous, screaming, gear-popping whippers.

The Sharp End won the title of Best Adventure Film at the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. X-Dance, a week-long exhibition of the world’s hottest new action sport films set to coincide with Sundance Film Festival, has been chiefly dominated by more mainstream, high-speed, adrenaline-crazed sports like snowboarding, surfing, and dirt biking, but this year was different. The film had “just enough adrenaline to resonate” in the world of heavy metal soundtracks, said Nick Rosen of Sender Films. “I was glad to see that climbing was making a mark in the action sports world.” 

In the eight years since the festival’s inauguration, X-Dance has brought together the best producers, filmmakers and athletes in the business for film screenings, open forums, and a closing party/awards ceremony that has grown to legendary status. Last year the judges added the Adventure Film category to acknowledge the increasing overlap between action and adventure, and that a film didn’t need non-stop action to be worth recognizing. Sender’s last film King Lines was entered into the category in 2008, but was beaten out by a big-mountain snowboarding flick, Let It Ride.

Sender Films is the company that brought you classics like Return 2 Sender and Front Range Freaks (featuring Biscuit the climbing dog) as well as the more recent First Ascents and Chris Sharma’s tour-de-force King Lines. Peter Mortimer started the company with the film Scary Faces in 2001, cranking out two more films until 2006, when Rosen joined the company to work on First Ascents. Rosen, who at the time was a print journalist and consultant on Latin American politics in New York City, decided to stay on in Boulder, and worked his way up to producer on King Lines and co-creator on the most recent release, The Sharp End. “Technically I’m fifty percent creator,” says Rosen, “but Peter’s still the man around here.”

What’s in the future for Sender? The Sharp End’s tour with Reel Rock is finished now, but Reel Rock ’09 is already gearing up. Rosen tells us that Sender will not be submitting another full-length film, instead opting to supplement the entry from Josh Lowell. Lowell, who started the Dosage series out of his home office, contributed parts to The Sharp End for the ’08 tour and Sender plans to return the favor for ’09. Rosen told Rock and Ice that the company has had a Yosemite film on the back burner for the past few years, but hints at a much bigger, multi-part project with huge international sponsors. We’ll keep you posted.

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