Profile: Lucy Walker - director of The Crash Reel
Documentary looks at near-death of professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce
An Oxford graduate, Walker won a Fulbright Scholarship to study film at New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. She made her debut documentary feature in 2002 with Devil’s Playground, exploring the romantic experiences of Amish teenagers. She has since directed the acclaimed documentaries Blindsight, Countdown to Zero, and the Oscar-nominated Waste Land, charting the creative collaboration between Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and a group of Rio refuse pickers at the world’s largest garbage dump.
On Kevin Pearce
‘I first met Kevin in the summer of 2010 after his crash, when I was mentoring at a retreat for extreme sports athletes. It was one of his first excursions from hospital and because of his brain injury, he couldn’t remember very much. He kept introducing himself to me and saying, "hi, I’m Kevin”’.
On extreme sports
‘The world of extreme sports is also one of big business. Kids might think that snowboarding is the ultimate freedom, but this freedom is being marketed to them by commercial sponsors. What amazed me was that Kevin was desperate to get back to snowboarding, even though if he hit his head again, he might die.’
On film titles
‘I find titles the hardest thing. I was worried that Waste Land was too much of a downer. For me, The Crash Reel confronts what the film is about: it’s not just about the reality of a crash, it’s about the extremity we all face, and what happens when life crashes on you.’
On a golden age for documentary filmmaking
'With portable cameras and affordable data and non-linear digital editing, I think this is a golden age of documentary filmmaking. These new technologies mean we can make complicated, beautifully crafted and cinematic films about real-life stories.’
Walker supported herself at film school by DJing in New York.
The Crash Reel will screen on Sky Atlantic in November.