Behind the lens
The Unselfish Surfers
Not long after JONNO DURRANT and STEFAN HUNT—Australian surfers, filmmakers, and self-described "absolute kooks"—heard about Mission Mexico, an orphanage and surfing school run by fellow Aussies in Tapachula, Mexico, Hunt, 22, decided to volunteer. A week later, he was so moved by the experience that he sent an e-mail to Durrant, 28, with a simple message: "Bring the cameras." They finished Somewhere Near Tapachula this past February. With sponsors like Hurley and Global Surf Industries footing most of the film's bill, 100 percent of the profits are going to Mission Mexico's education fund. In July, Hunt and Durrant handed the nonprofit a check for $100,000. The next project for the childhood friends? Surfing the 28 states of India (inspired by their first film, Surfing 50 States). "Everyone says it is crazy, colorful, diverse, friendly, dangerous, warm, cold, cheap, fun, scary, and mind-blowing," Durrant says. "We hope it is all of that."
On Durrant: Soft Shirt by Dockers ($38; dockers.com); Double L Button-Front Cardigan by L.L.Bean ($40; llbean.com); Dane Reynolds Pants by Quiksilver ($55; quiksilver.com); Recyclus El N911 shoe by El Naturalista ($250; elnaturalista.com)
On Hunt: Rugger shirt ($125) and Rugger corduroy blazer ($498) by Gant (gant.com); Flathead tee by O'Neill ($20; oneill.com); Windowpane Khaki pants by Dockers ($58; dockers.com); Haberdashery Scarf by SmartWool ($50; smartwool.com); shoes his own
The River Keeper
From filming paddling expeditions to taking on environmental issues, filmmaker Trip Jennings is making a difference.
For 28-year-old TRIP JENNINGS, it's not that filming paddling expeditions in Papua New Guinea or first descents on the Congo River got old, but rather that the environmental devastation he witnessed began to matter more. His most recent short documentary, Flathead Wild, is about how one of the most intact ecosystems in North America, British Columbia's Flathead River, is being threatened by a large-scale mining project. "I wanted people to see that this place is beautiful and special," says the expedition kayaker and co-founder of multimedia company Epicocity Project. "I wanted them to feel what it would be like to lose it." So far his plan is working. In February, British Columbia and Montana signed a "Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation" to retire all mining claims in the area. Next up: an investigative documentary about elephant poaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Rope Guns
Filmmakers Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer have done the seemingly impossible: made climbing movies for the mainstream.
NICK ROSEN and PETER MORTIMER, the 36-year-old owners of Boulder, Colorado–based Sender Films, have done the seemingly impossible: made climbing movies for the mainstream. Since teaming up in 2006, the friends, who met while attending Colorado College, have focused on character-driven narratives rather than straight-up rock porn. The culmination of those efforts is First Ascent: The Series, a six-part series—available on DVD now and airing on the Travel Channel this winter—that includes a profile of free soloist Alex Honnold and the tragic story of friends Jonny Copp, Micah Dash, and Wade Johnson, who died last year on China's Mount Edgar. "What makes it great is the intensity," says Rosen. "But I don't know that we'll go rushing back out to repeat that." The pair are now working on a documentary about the history of climbing in Yosemite, due out next year.
On Rosen: Rugger twill plaid shirt ($125), Rugger flannel one-button blazer ($498), and Rugger vintage chinos ($138) by Gant (gant.com); Beartooth Hoody by SmartWool ($165; smartwool.com); sneakers his own
The Accidental Detective
When film director Josh Fox got letters from energy companies offering him almost $100,000 to drill for natural gas on his land, he became a natural-gas detective.
In the spring of 2008, when 38-year-old theater and film director JOSH FOX got letters from energy companies offering him almost $100,000 to drill for natural gas on his rural Pennsylvania land, he decided to look into the possible side effects himself. "Am I gonna become a natural-gas detective?" he asked. "I guess so." That decision led this engaging, banjo-playing filmmaker on an everyman's investigative journey from Dimock, Pennsylvania—where people living near wells reported dizzying headaches and suddenly hairless pets—to states like Wyoming and New Mexico, where the boom is biggest and the health scares are even worse. The resulting documentary, Gasland, produced by Fox's International WOW Company, is by turns horrifying and hilarious; it took the Special Jury Prize at Sundance last January and is slated for big-screen rollout this month.
Durban shirt by O'Neill ($50; oneill.com); Roundabout Crew by SmartWool ($85; smartwool.com); Swag jacket ($99) and Matador jeans ($60) by Quiksilver (quiksilver.com); 'Ohana Lace-Up shoe by OluKai ($90; olukai.com)