On the Cover:
Nick Rosen - Valley Uprising
Cover Date: February 12th, 2015
An Interview with Nick Rosen of Sender Films on the making of Valley Uprising
Editor: Thank you so much for spending some time with us and talking about Sender Films, Nick. We appreciate it.
Let me begin by asking you about the Sender Films mascot. What is the story behind using this adorable dog to represent Sender Films?
Nick Rosen: Ah yes, Biscuit. He predates me. My partner Peter Mortimer, who founded Sender Films, made a film called Front Range Freaks featuring a Jack Russel Terrier from Eldorado Canyon with mad climbing skills. He was an instant hit. A few years ago the poor guy was eaten by a mountain lion. Still to this day, Biscuit gets fan emails and requests for footage of his feats.
Editor: I had a feeling there was a legend behind this pup.
Nick you are Head of Creative at Sender Films. What drew you into becoming involved?
Nick Rosen: Well, Peter and I went to college together and stayed close friends after. In 2006, I was working as a sort of journalist in NYC when Pete called and asked if I wanted to help him work on a movie he was making, all about first ascents. My first test was to come up with a name for the film. “How about, ‘First Ascent?” I was hired.
Editor: Valley Uprising has been extremely popular and winning a number of prestigious awards. Every climber I interview gives it great reviews and loved it. It won the Grand Prize at Banff, Kendal, Danish, Krakow, Bovec, Mendi and Torello, amongst many other awards. It also won an award at the 13th Annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival for most inspiring adventure film.
When did the idea to make Valley Uprising germinate?
Nick Rosen: I think Pete was already thinking about the idea when I joined up. Pretty soon after we teamed up, we started working on it. We were inspired by Stacey Peralta’s sports documentaries like Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants. And the history of Yosemite climbing, with all those amazing stories and characters, was kind of an obvious story for us to do.
Editor: And why was it important to tell this amazing story?
Nick Rosen: Well, firstly because it is a good story, so it deserves to be told. But also, I think it is really cool that our climbing community has this colorful origins story, a philosophical tradition, and a sense that all climbers stand on the shoulders of those who came before. I mean, was there a Robbins and Harding of kite boarding? If so, someone should make that movie.
Editor: An NPR interview quote from you states that "This was really not only the birth of climbing but the birth of American counterculture, a lot of these early climbers were inspired by a book Jack Kerouac wrote in 1958 called The Dharma Bums."
These first, iconic climbers and their footage really bring the viewer into that powerful transformation. Was the archival footage difficult to obtain?
I ask because viewers were wowed by it, and it brought with it a feeling of true connectedness with the pioneering climbers.
Nick Rosen: In some cases it was fairly easy, and in others really difficult. Archivists like Ken Yager and Dean Fidelman had compiled a lot of photos, and photographers like Glen Denny and George Meyers had a known body of work.
But we really went beyond the known universe of Yosemite climbing archives, digging up a lot of unknown stuff. The discovery of the plane crash photos was particularly fun. They were just sitting there on an open Picasa site, but nobody had looked at them!
Editor: Pretty amazing treasure you guys found!
The clash between the climbing ethics of Royal Robbins and Warren Harding is particularly fascinating. If these 2 men had the gear and especially the shoes and ropes of today, one wonders about the kind of records they would have set.
What are your thoughts on that?
Nick Rosen: Indeed, these guys make all of us with our sticky rubber shoes and iPhone weather reports seem like wimps. But it’s cool that today folks like Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell are pushing into the unknown, to the limits of human ability, every bit as hard as Robbins and Harding did. Sure, they have better gear, but they aren’t taking it easy.
Editor: Agreed and well said. Thank you for talking with us Nick, and for being part of Sender Films, it has truly revolutionized the way mountain culture films should be made.
Nick Rosen: Thank you, Vera!
Order the iconic and award-winning film, Valley Uprising: http://senderfilms.com/
Watch the amazing Valley Uprising trailer:http://senderfilms.com/productions/details/809/Valley-Uprising
Sender Films Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/Senderfilms
Sender Films official website:http://senderfilms.com/
“Climbing is a great game—great not in spite of the demands it makes, but because of them. Great because it will not let us give half of ourselves—it demands all of us. It demands our best.”
– Royal Robbins
Nick Rosen Bio - Head of Creative at Sender Films
Nick Rosen is a partner, writer, and producer at Sender Films. He is co-creator of the Emmy-nominated National Geographic Television Series, 'First Ascent,' and co-director of the award-winning film, 'The Sharp End '.
Nick began working as a writer/producer/director with Sender Films in 2005, and since then has created feature films and TV programs for NBC, The Weather Channel, National Geographic Channels International and The New York Times Online.
Nick received his BA in political science from Colorado College, and his masters at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.
Nick has also developed a career as on-screen talent, starring in the yoga documentary, 'Enlighten Up!' (2008), and providing the voice-overs for The Sharp End and the First Ascent series.
Interview conducted by Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Editor of the Facebook Page: 'An Interview With'.
Editor-in-Chief of ClimbSkiBoulderMagazine.com
Interview © Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Photo Credit: All the images used herein were given to us by Mr. Rosen.
Every image has been duly attributed to the appropriate photographer.