One of the biggest hits of True/False 2013 premieres tonight on HBO Documentary Films. The Crash Reel is at once a pulse-pounding sports doc and a powerful look at the importance of family. In it we meet champion snow-boarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a terrible, life-altering accident while training to compete in the Olympics. His remarkable comeback raises difficult questions and forcefully demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit.
In an interview with HBO, filmmaker Lucy Walker talked about the contradictions involved in documenting extreme sports.
It’s so thrilling to watch the sport evolve before our very eyes. A generation ago no one was even doing this, and now it’s in the Olympics. These tricks are incredible to watch. It certainly beats other sports in terms of thrills, but hand in hand with that are the spills, which are very much worth thinking about too. This film raises that question for the first time. There are so many glamourized, slick films or crash reels, where people edit the crashes together, and it all looks like a really great, fun, pain-free visual feast. But there’s real pain and changed lives behind these crashes.
In connection with the film’s release, the team at The Crash Reel has launched the #loveyourbrain campaign to spark discussion about traumatic brain injury. The film’s website hosts numerous TBI related resources, including this infograph on what to do in case of a head trauma.
The Crash Reel plays tonight on HBO at 9 Eastern/8 Central and will be available afterwards on HBO On Demand and HBO Go. Director Lucy Walker’s earlier T/F hit, Waste Land (T/F 2010), is available streaming through Hulu.