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When family is as treacherous as rock climbing: A documentary (Live @ Lithia Park)

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If you’re feeling a touch of wanderlust but dare not risk hopping on an airplane right now, the Ashland Independent Film Festival’s World Film Weeks has you covered. Starting on September 17, this jewel of the cultural calendar brings the far reaches of the world, with features arriving from Ethiopia, Malta, the Dominican Republic, and the Native communities of the U.S. In addition, WFW will be holding a special outdoor screening of Torn, a moving documentary about the death of celebrated mountaineer Alex Lowe, at the Butler Memorial Bandshell in Lithia Park.

Torn: September 18, Butler Memorial Bandshell (Lithia Park)

Filmmaker and photographer Max Lowe has spent his career focusing his various lenses outward, covering everything from a gaggle of thrillseekers who walk slacklines between huge rock formations in Utah or the effects of climate change on Easter Island. But for the feature documentary Torn, Lowe chose to point the camera at his own family. The director is the son of Alex Lowe, a famed mountaineer and rock climber who died in an avalanche on Tibet’s Mt. Shishapangma in 1999. Through heart wrenching interviews with his mother and siblings, as well as previously unseen footage of the fateful climb that killed his father, Max paints an impressively complex portrait of Alex, a man wrestling with the dual urges to explore the world and stay close to home. Torn takes on even more depth as Max deals with his own mixed emotions about his mother marrying Alex’s frequent climbing partner, Conrad Anker, and becoming a surrogate father to the family.

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