Natural Obsession

Tracking Fell Runner Finlay Wild's Primitive Ascent Up Britain’s Highest Mountain

Filmed over a brisk late September weekend, David Goldman’s new short follows champion fell runner Finlay Wild as he navigates the foothills of Ben Nevis in Scotland. “You can be alone with your thoughts in the mountains, or enjoy them with friends,” says Wild, winner of the last four consecutive annual races across the mountainside. “It’s about being free, light and fast in spectacular places.” The landscape of today’s film holds particular significance for the Fort William-based athlete, who grew up in the area as the son of a mountain guide. “The sport is childlike in its simplicity,” says filmmaker Goldman, who took it up himself after reading Richard Askwith’s Feet in Clouds: A Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession. “You can easily imagine it [first started] as a group of guys standing at the bottom of a mountain, wondering how to run to the top and straight down again. It’s very primal.”

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Conversations (1)

  • Tim Walker
    Beautiful and elemental. Great work David, Finlay and all who made this great piece of film.

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    Sharif Hamza: Dreams of Levitation

    A Soaring Portrait of Daredevil Motocross Riders High Above the Nevada Desert

    “As a sport that involves great personal risk, freestyle motocross is a perfect way to create a sense of story and proved a beautiful way to look at menswear,” says NOWNESS contributor Sharif Hamza. The V, Vogue and W photographer's black-and-white portrait of professional motorcycle riders Tim O’Brien and Greg Garrison captures the duo revving across a barren Nevada plain. “I love spectating people who are able to do something with their bodies and minds that I understand but couldn’t be capable of.” With the stuntmen flying overhead, Dreams of Levitation features model Shaun de Wet clad in metallic, biker-inspired gear by up-and-coming New York-based designer Tim Coppens, and a hypnotic voiceover written by Laura Albert and read by De Wet. “The voice she created is that of the rider in his later years, washed up and living a normal life,” adds Hamza of the contribution of Albert, who under the pseudonym JT LeRoy became the provocative voice of the literary counter culture in 1999. “She helped me to think about who the man is beyond his sport. He’s a roadside mechanic, reminiscing on a peak in his life, a time when he was capable of anything.”

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    Sasha Cohen: Rite of Spring

    The Figure Skating Champion Shares a Private Moment on the Ice

    Renowned American figure skater Sasha Cohen, clad in pale Nina Ricci, glides and spins in this lyrical short film from Jake Sumner. Currently studying at Columbia University, Cohen grew up in California and competed at the top level of skating for more than a decade, winning a gold medal in the US Figure Skating Championships and silver medals at the Winter Olympics and the World Figure Skating Championships. “We wanted to explore the transformation that happens when she’s on the ice,” explains Sumner, who collaborated with stylist Emily Barnes for this film. “When we met, she told me that she tries to become part of the music to deal with the pressure and we thought this would be an interesting focus.” Cohen’s off-the-rink star turns include appearances in Blades of Glory and Project Runway, as well as a collaboration with Klingbeil on a line of skating boots. “When you see her perform, it’s like watching something superhuman,” says Sumner. And if she wasn’t a skater-student-designer, she’d be...

    If I were an animal, I would be… a monkey.

    If I were a season, I would be… spring.

    If I were a dish, I would be… a cupcake.

    If I were a film, I would be… My Fair Lady

    If I were a writer, I would be… Vladimir Nabokov. 

    If I were a mythological being, I would be… Athena.

    If I were a work of art, I would be… “The Kiss” by Klimt.

    If I were a song, I would be… “Girl from North Country” by Bob Dylan. 

    If I were a natural phenomenon, I would be… a rainbow. 

    If I were a cocktail, I would be… a bellini. 

    If I were a fruit I would be ... a pineapple.

    If I were an object, I would be… a seashell.

    If I were a quality, I would be… passion.

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