For extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith, the line between going for it and going too far is often blurry—and you can experience it for yourself when Smith takes you on a journey to explore the Earth’s most remote environments on February 13 at The Lincoln Center. In this edge-of-your-seat presentation, Smith shows you what it means to adventure with purpose and why he believes the best expeditions are the ones with a healthy chance of failure.
In the span of just ten years, Smith went from a novice filmmaker, who bought his first camera at Wal-Mart, to one of the top adventure filmmakers in the world. His films have been shown at Banff and Telluride Mountain Film Festivals and are fan favorites on the National Geographic Channel. His passion for storytelling combined with his reputation for capturing the impossible makes for an unforgettable presentation.
But National Geographic Live: Capturing the Impossible is about more than photographing and filming extreme sports, it’s about sharing an experience that many won’t have the time or skills to see. “I think in a lot of ways,” says Smith, “we have an obligation to make sure we tell a better story than ‘Whoa, this was crazy’.” In this way, Smith’s films are a chance for people to see a different world; something outside of the box.
“When you travel specifically to take photos or film, you’re not on vacation. You’re fully immersed in an environment,” says Smith. “So if you go to South America, you’re not just hanging out on the beach, you’re living and breathing the culture and life of a place.” Even if you’re a well-seasoned traveler, it’s easy to get stuck in a bubble and not see what else there is. Smith is after that story that is beyond the bubble, and that is what he shows to audiences.
His search for a story has left him in difficult and interesting places. From suffering from frostbite during the first-ever ice climb of Niagara Falls to exploring the South Pacific’s deepest canyons, Smith will bring you behind the scenes and show you how he captured the impossible.
Although stressful and difficult, Smith says the hardest trips are the most memorable. “I have this theory about the types of fun. Type one fun is having a good time. Type two fun is the kind of thing you really don’t have fun doing in the moment, but it’s fun to talk about later. Type three is when you don’t have fun at all, but two or three years later, it makes a great story.”
Many of Smith’s stories are the second and third types of fun, which is why his stories are so memorable.
What makes Smith stand out as a filmmaker is that he uses his filmmaking craft to elevate important stories. He invigorates people to probe our limitations, entertain us in new ways, and do what National Geographic strives to do in all platforms—inspire us. “I want to bring forward this idea that we all have a little bit of the explorer in us and we all have the ability to do things on a daily basis that can massively impact our lives in terms of what we see around us,” says Smith.
“People look at imagery and think it’s extreme sports, it couldn’t be further from that,” continues Smith. “It’s about exploration and seeing places—not adrenaline. It’s about pushing yourself.”
Journey with Bryan Smith through all of his trials and successes in some of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet during National Geographic Live: Capturing the Impossible on February 13 at The Lincoln Center. Seats from $15 at LCtix.com.