Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies

An experimental short documenting the life of the alpine landscape through time-lapse photography.

In an effort to highlight the wildness of these mountain places and how they have inspired explorers of the past, present and future, sequences were painstakingly gathered from exposed summits; by glacial lakes; and under aurora-filled skies.

This 100% human-powered film combines time-lapse photography with an original story and musical score to bring the landscape centre-stage, offering a thrilling new perspective that re-establishes the Canadian Rockies among the finest mountains in the world.

Creative team

Writer: Meghan J. Ward
Co-director: Paul Zizka
Co-director/producer: Doug Urquhart

Filmmaker’s statement

Co-director Paul Zizka says:

Mountains in Motion is intended to be a celebration of exploration in the Canadian Rockies, and of the beauty of this amazing mountainous region.

We wanted to create something that would not only highlight the Rockies in a new way but also pay tribute to the explorers of the past and remind people that, even today, exploration is possible with the right frame of mind.

On a personal level, as a stills landscape photographer I am used to struggling to do justice to what I see in the wilderness. Even though there will never be a medium that comes close to portraying what it was actually like to be there, I find that time-lapse at least gets one step closer to that experience. The addition of a ‘time’ aspect to the photography provides more of a dynamic sense of place than a still photograph would.

Despite all the challenges we faced along the way, including the geographical distance of team members and the fact this was a first film experience for many of us, I am thrilled with the result. It certainly helped me see my beloved Canadian Rockies in a completely different way, appreciate how challenging time-lapse photography can be and made me more aware of how ever-changing these mountains are.

I now know what happens long after I have left the scene.

In addition to the original music and soundscape, I think our choice to include an original story in our film has brought time lapse to a new level. The combination of all these mediums creates an immersive, and hopefully more impactful, experience for the viewer.

My hope is that the film will inspire viewers to get out and explore, and to preserve what is left of those wild places.

About Paul Zizka

Paul-Zizka

Paul Zizka can often be found in the wilderness with a camera bag slung over his shoulder, a tripod in one hand and an ice axe in the other.

Fully dedicated to his photography and pursuing adventures in the wilderness, Paul strives for a delicate balance between capturing the outdoors and simply experiencing it. He will enthusiastically scoot ahead of his hiking or climbing party, anticipating his photo opportunities and setting them up with expert precision.

He has been granted titles such as ‘mountain goat’ and ‘sherpa’ by reputation and it’s not uncommon to see him poised precariously on a ledge or lying in the grass to get the shot he envisions.

In the Rockies, Paul has climbed dozens of peaks and explored hundreds of kilometres of local and backcountry trails. His adventures have also taken him overseas where he’s ventured off on a 1,400 km unsupported double-crossing of Iceland on foot, and a 1,488 km solo-crossing of the South Island of New Zealand.

Recent adventures have taken him backpacking in the Caribbean, exploring tiny insular nations of the Pacific, trekking in remote corners of Scandinavia and Nepal and ski touring in Nunavut.

Paul is currently based in Banff, Alberta, where he enjoys easy access to the mountains of the Canadian Rockies and makes the most of the weather windows.

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