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The Crash Reel - Film Review
by Karen Pecota

"Don't forget your helmet!" is an infamous shout-out from mothers of bikers (cycle and motor), skateboarders and snowboarders. Fortunately, today many sports where there is potential for head injuries a helmet for protection is part of the attire. Thankfully extreme sports require the special head gear.

I'm a wife and mother of snowboarders. For years it wasn't cool to wear a helmet and my words of shout-out fell on deaf ears. If we had a chat with Snowboarder Champion Kevin Pearce and his family about how to love your brain by wearing a helmet; their words would be cause for deep soul searching regarding the quality of life.

The latest documentary from twice Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker The Crash Reel is all about the reel of film that forever changed the career path of Snowboarding Champion, Kevin Pearce.

Twenty years as a sport fanatic and master of the slick board made to glide across any snow covered base, Kevin Pearce was unstoppable. Five years earlier, at the age of eighteen, Kevin achieved professional snowboarding status. In the years to follow, Kevin Pearce became a household name within the snowboarding world. Kevin would be known for his brave and courageous skill to take the art of sport tricks and the complicated techniques to a whole new level. He was in the thick of a rapidly evolving sport and raising the bar to where few feared to tread--except multi-award winning contender Shawn White.

In 2007 and 2008, Kevin experienced some of the highest victories the sport had to offer from competitions such as: The Oakley Artic and The Air & Style Challenges. In 2009, Kevin brought home the Silver Medal for Superpipe at the Winter X Games. White brought home the Gold. Both would be strong contenders for the Gold Medal in the 2010 Vancover Winter Olympics.

New Year's Eve, December 31, 2009, while training in Park City, Utah, Kevin practices a one-of-a kind trick on the half-pipe. If successfully executed this would guarantee him an Olympic Medal. Kevin takes a horrific fall. While Kevin was wearing a helmet his fall coming out of the maneuver left him in a serious state. Suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Kevin was in a coma.

Walker's storytelling with film par excellence is revealed in The Crash Reel. Her use of archival film footage of Kevin's early days of snowboarding (just-for-fun), his competitions (good & not-so-good), and personal home-movies collaborates with special film footage at the onset coming out of the coma to his journey toward recovery. Walker's narrative never forgets to celebrate Kevin’s passion for the extreme sport of snowboarding, one determined to overcome the tragedy, and his desire to share his journey with others. The most celebrated fact was that he never could have come through the accident without the love and support of his family and friendship circle. Kevin celebrates their love and his thankfulness in Walker's feature documentary--especially to Kevin's brother David. David Pearce, born with Down syndrome has been an important influence in his life and career.

"Don't leave home without it!" is simply not only a tagline for an insurance company but also for those who love their brain and will wear a helmet for head protection when sporting. Though a helmet may not be the only thing that could save a life from TBI it just might be the attire to assist accident victims to live a productive altered lifestyle. The Crash Reel's story of inspiration with electrifying visuals of snowboarding performance is an impressionable narrative. Every viewer will have a take-away (something to be learned) from its message.

The Crash Reel aires in the USA on July 15th at 9:00 pm ET. The documentary will be released in theaters in December 2013 with DVDs and On-Demand to follow in 2014.  It will also be released internationally--go to the regional schedule on the The Crash Reel website for details.