As you may well already know, Alpkit are proudly supporting In The Frame, a film project by Dom Bush and featuring the journey of Joe Beaumont. We have always been confident that Dom will create a strong film that really captures the human spirit as Joe strives to complete this challenge and looks to the next chapter on his road to recovery. To help the project happen and happen to a level that everybody aspires for, they recently ran a Kickstarter campaign. Having secured all the funding, it now means things can really get motoring. We caught up with Dom and Joe again just before it all gets underway.
Hey Dom and Joe, please feel free to chip in at any point, even if the question is not directed at you.
Joe. The last time we caught up was just after you had completed a triathlon. With just over 2 weeks to go has it fully sunk in what lies ahead? Has there been any major changes in the plans at all on reflection of what you feel physically capable of doing?
The Triathlon in Liverpool was huge for me. It made me realize that I was capable of keeping on going, even when I’m exhausted. It was a grit and determination I hadn’t seen before and it proved to me that I can take on this type of physical challenge. It has however highlighted some important things for me. I have to train harder, sort out better nutrition and rest more!
I took a bit of a fall on the bike section of the Triathlon too and hurt my good elbow. Typical!
You've certainly been putting in the climbing training both indoors and out. Do you see Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis as the main obstacle?
Tower Ridge is a big deal! Climbing at Kendal Climbing Wall has helped my strength and confidence a lot but it is very different to climbing on rock. Having lost my tricep the strength and movement in my right arm is significantly reduced, so complex movements are difficult. The load bearing capabilities of my leg is also a little less than I hoped so scrambling is really tough, it’s much easier for me to climb on steep terrain. With all this in mind I need to stay open on the Tower Ridge thing, if I need to change my objective and get to the top of Ben Nevis another way I will. Obviously safety is the most important thing.
Back in December/January 2012, planning In the Frame from my hospital bed, I felt positive that I'd recover beyond expectations. I've done well but not as well as I’d hoped perhaps.
In terms of the filming challenges Dom is this similar?
There are lots of considerations for filming on terrain like this. We may have to fix ropes on parts of the ridge, to help Joe but also to make sure I’m secure when I’m concentrating on the camera work. Hopefully we can get some wide shots of the ridge as we pick our way up. I’m taking along an assistant so we can work together on these sequences.
Correct me if I'm wrong Joe, but the initial reasons for entering this journey was a very personal one. Something to focus on through your rehabilitation, a cathartic process that allowed you to really focus on who you are as a person, as well as a physical one to see what you can achieve. Then there seemed to be a shift somewhat towards how it affected other people, becoming somewhat of an inspirational figure. You have said that the frame bridged gaps and opened up a connection with others to share stories of their own traumatic experiences. Lots of people are calling you inspirational. Do you see yourself as an inspiration, and has the main underlying focus for you doing this changed at all, being less of a personal challenge and more of an inspirational one?
Fantastic question. I need focus, goals, short and long term.
Without them it can be easy to drift through without making the very best of the situation I've found myself in. Although it’s hard to see myself as disabled now, I can’t hide the frame on my leg and that has actually been one of the most powerful parts of my recovery. It acts as a visual aid to get people talking and to open up about their experiences. People can see I’ve had a serious injury, so when they come to me and tell me about their experiences it inspires me and if I can inspire them in turn then it can only be a good thing. I've been inspired as much as I've been an inspiration.
And Dom, of the film itself. Joe is the main protagonist of the film, the man quite literally in the frame, both around his leg and in front of your lens. I assume this is not changing but from your perspective has, or will, the focus shift at all whilst you are filming? Will it be less about Joe and his personal challenge and encompass these 'shared experiences'. Directly or as a reflection of what Joe called Togetherness through Trauma.
From the outset we were really keen to include other people’s experiences of injury and rehabilitation. Everyone deals with these things in a unique way and we felt that people would take more from the film if there were different perspectives represented. We have a special guest joining us who suffered a similar accident to Joe in 2012, she has an inspiring approach to her healing process too so we are so pleased to have her along to ride the tandem with Joe for part of his journey. I guess the other major ‘shared experience’ has been the film process itself. I didn’t know Joe before we agreed to embark on this journey. Naturally when you make a film about someone’s life you get to know them pretty well so that has been an added dimension for both of us and I’d like to include that in the film a little too.
Well you were keen to get people to join you along the way and share their own experiences, whether that was physically supporting you on the bike, or simply in spirit. The bike is fully sorted now, have you had lots of interest from people wanting to join you?
The response to this project has been incredible and has already surpassed both of our expectations. We both feel quite humbled by it. We will have some key people joining us along the way, some close to me, some who have similar stories to tell and some who are just excited to get involved in this.
I’m excited to get back to my little adventures, having them stop so suddenly has been tough. I can’t wait to get on the road now! See you on the other side!
So 2 weeks to go, we'll be setting up the tracker and letting people know the route very soon. It just leaves us to wish you a safe journey and see you down at lowest point of Holme Fen on the 8th. It's all up from there!
In The Frame is planned to premier atKendal Mountain Film Festival this year and after that will be available for download. All money raised through the sale of the film will go directly to Mountain Rescue and the BMC Access and Conservation Trust.