It seems every year a few films on the schedule for the Newport Beach Film Festival focus on the experience of people who overcome incredible obstacles against all odds. This year is no different. Two such films stood out: “Camino Skies,” the in-depth story of six pilgrims between the ages of 50 and 80 that hike the 900-kilometre Camino de Santiago trail in search of answers to many of life’s most difficult questions, and “Any One of Us,” the sobering story of Paul Basagoitia, a profession mountain biker who suffered a spinal injury after an accident and shares his story of living beyond his injury.
Camino Skies / Screens on Saturday, April 27
In “Camino Skies,” six New Zealanders and Australians ages 50 to 80 hike the Camino de Santiago trail seeking answers to some of the most difficult questions that at some point in our lives we may also ask ourselves.
One of the quotes from the movie that stood out to me was ‘the Camino is like life.’
What they mean is that while on the 40-day pilgrimage, people will face many challenges, some expected and some unlike real life. During this time, they may or may not find comfort from others, or find the strength within themselves to keep going or to stop and get help. Life is happening to them daily and they have to find ways to manage their struggles.
What was also interesting about these six pilgrims is that some of them had walked the trail before and had decided to do it again.
Because we all have a primitive need to work through and process our pain, our sense of why we are here and challenge that in our lives.
There are many ways we can accomplish this need in our lives, yet there is something special about being in nature, around other people who are also managing these challenges, along with the physical exertion and a goal in mind.
These experiences allow the pilgrims to grieve, scream, cry, and go inside themselves. This is not easy, yet seems to leave people feeling a sense of peace, a sense of starting again, of regrouping, of finding a new part of themselves that gives them a sense of purpose.
People report after hiking the Camino de Santiago, they are never the same.
Any One of Us / Screens on Saturday, April 27
“Any One of Us” is a very sobering film about professional mountain biker Paul Basagoitia who suffered a spinal cord injury and his journey back to recovery. Throughout the movie Paul shares stories of other people who have also suffered a spinal cord injury.
Paul shows day by day his process and the courage it takes to pick up the pieces and move forward in his life. It is raw and real, and sometimes even humorous.
What stood out to me was the courage of Paul and others including Paul’s girlfriend. Each day they had to ask themselves hard questions and explore options that were extremely difficult such as the idea of using stem cells, and finding new ways to be in a relationship with someone who is now in a wheel chair.
I found myself feeling such a mix of emotions as I watched Paul go through the tears, fears, his courage, his decision making, his successes, his determination through to his disappointments and setbacks.
This intimate look at the lives of people with a spinal cord injury left me contemplating my own life and how easily life can change. Paul’s courage, as with many of the others, inspired me to remind myself that it is always our choice how we see our life’s circumstances.
It takes me back to that idea of it is not what happens to us, but what we do with it. Paul’s courage and strength has left a mark on me that I don’t believe will go away. The film is so well titled, because it can happen to “Any One of Us.”
With both these movies we can see the courage people have when they put their minds to life’s challenges and find that part inside themselves to move forward, often beyond what we think we could even bare or do.
Both films are a must see and will leave you feeling mixed emotions of sadness and happiness, but most of all, inspired.
For tickets to either film, visit NewportBeachFilmFest.com.