By Richard Rhinehart
Holbrook, New York, October 5, 2012 – This autumn, two documentary motion picture events bring the compelling adventure of World T.E.A.M. Sports to theaters nationally. From Aero Film, director Austin Smithard’s “Two Shining Seas” brings the viewer into the saddle for an epic cross-country journey by bicycle and hand cycle with 17 disabled veterans. From Stone Circle Pictures and Serac Adventure Films, veteran Disney Producer Don Hahn and director Michael Brown follow a team of disabled veterans on a dramatic climb of an ice and snow-covered Himalayan peak in “High Ground.”
Since 1993, the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports has created exciting sporting events involving disabled and able-bodied participants. Two of these events, the 2010 Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bicycle ride, and the 2010 Soldiers to the Summit expedition to Nepal, are currently featured in new documentary feature films.
Director Austin Smithard followed the Sea to Shining Sea team across the United States from San Francisco to Virginia Beach during the summer of 2010, creating “Two Shining Seas.” This new documentary will see its public premiere October 13 at the Inland Empire Biking Alliance Film Fest in Redlands, California.
Attending the premiere showing at Redlands’ Fox Theater is director Smithard, along with Air Force veterans Kevin Sullivan and Brian Petras. Sullivan is combating severe PTSD from his service in combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. He saw his participation in the cross-country ride as an opportunity to reach out to others who may also be suffering from PTSD.
Petras is an Iraq veteran who lost his lower right leg following discovery of a cancerous tumor in his foot. Determined to regain his status as a Flight Engineer, Petras signed onto the Sea to Shining Sea to accelerate his rehabilitation. He dedicated his ride to his fellow patients at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center.
This November 2, a limited national theatrical release of “High Ground” will bring the stirring documentary feature to a wider audience. Covering the successful October, 2010 climb of 20,075-foot Lobuche East in Nepal by disabled veterans, the documentary has held a successful festival circuit run during the spring and summer. Currently showing at selected theaters nationally through scheduled special screenings – many of which are sponsored by veterans and outdoor groups – the film has received high praise by critics and audiences.
The 2010 Nepal expedition from World T.E.A.M. Sports brought together a group of disabled veterans with the team of experienced mountaineers who led blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer to the summit of Mount Everest in 2001. World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Jeff Messner worked closely with Weihenmayer, climber Jeff Evans, and filmmaker Michael Brown in creating and documenting the expedition. The heroic story of the participating disabled veterans overcoming obstacles and challenges in their climb is captivating, encouraging the audience to better understand how disabilities can empower, rather than limit individuals.
For participants of these events, and those who watch their stories through these films, sports will change their lives.
Learn more about the Inland Empire Biking Alliance Film Fest and the October 13 premiere of “Two Shining Seas.”