Tom Seawell, Director, worked with Tom Frost for two decades as a photographer for the Chimera company. Hearing only piecemeal stories from others about Mr. Frost’s badass history, Seawell decided to approach accomplished cinematographer Bill Holshevnikoff to learn more. And that was the beginning of a 6 year (so far!) journey to create an autobiographical film of Tom Frost and the Golden Age of Climbing.
In order to create a film that was worthy of Tom Frost’s legacy, Seawell turned to longtime friend, well-known Sizzle Man and fellow Brooks Institute of Photography student Jeff Wiant to partner with him on the project. For the first 3 years, Tom and Jeff crisscrossed the country seeking out the greatest rock climbers to speak on film about Mr. Frost.
This is what they do on a daily basis. They own all their own gear and both love to be behind the camera. Tom loves to interview, produce and direct. Jeff loves to edit, art direct & write. We are very fortunate to be frugal, small and capable of creating the illusion of great production value. Jeff’s & his sister designed the patch and sticker. Seawell’s mother has transcribed 60 hours of interviews and is our bookkeeper. Everyone on our team has been a volunteer to date. Every athlete we have interviewed has crossed the sponsor line and allowed us to have a movie that celebrates all. Why would a bunch of flatlanders (non-climbers) be so inspired to do this? This story goes way beyond climbing. This film, if done correctly and with your help, has the ability to inspire people to get outside, be safe, and courteous to Mother Earth.
Filmmakers Tom Seawell and Jeff Wiant are both Santa Barbara Brooks Institute graduates. Seawell, based in San Francisco, is an award-winning photographer who expanded into film and motion in the past decade. Wiant is an award-winning portrait photographer whose video production company in San Diego is a go-to shop when a project needs some sizzle. Together, they thought they had a neat little project on their hands when they approached Tom Frost, founder of Chimera Lighting Equipment, a man that they worked with in the world of photography. Chimera is an industry leader and a brand that changed the movie and photography landscape.
Producer Craig Flax, part of the Flax art supply family and longtime friend of Tom Seawell came aboard in 2014 to become the guy that harasses Alex Honnold for two months to set up an interview. His eclectic background of marketing, environmental consulting to the Outdoor Industry and relentless optimism has been an…addition to the team.
Seawell was lucky enough to have worked with Tom Frost in the past, and this working relationship lead to this project being born. The goal: to create a film about the legendary climber, photographer, & engineer Tom Frost.
Frost immediately started calling Seawell and Wiant (who had never been out of the housekeeping cabins in Yosemite) “flatlanders” and the production company name was born: Flatlander Films.
To be able to tell this story is a gift to Tom, Jeff and Craig. We are thrilled to count so many of you as a part of our team.
The cleanest line to the top is to try to have this film 100% community funded. We’ve been really clear to the big brands that everyone’s athlete’s and everyone’s logo belong in the film. Because Tom’s impact is industry-wide.This is the last and only shot we have to tell Tom’s story and the legend of the Golden Age of Climbing correctly because we have access to Tom Frost and his legacy of friends. 98% of the generous brands associated with the film to date have donated product only, zero cash. This is why it’s so important to spread the word.
Every single climber we have interviewed has taken time away from family, friends & climbing to help us achieve our goal. They gave to us regardless of sponsors. This is extremely rare… and in such “good style”. This is a reflection on how Tom Frost has lived his life. We feel that profiting from another person’s “Life Story” or “Brand” goes against Flatlander Film’s core values. We have been given a “gift” to tell a life story and we will not profit from it. Any and all profits will be donated to a charity of Tom Frost’s choosing.
“The film is a tribute to the visionary who redefined climbing style, the engineer who helped revolutionize climbing equipment, the artist whose iconic photography documented the most celebrated first ascents on Yosemite’s big walls, and the conservationist who lead the international effort to save historic Camp 4, the traditional home and meeting place for Yosemite climbers.” Steve Grossman
“Since beginning production, not one person approached has declined an interview” – Tom Seawell
The importance of this project is to recognize Tom Frost for all his contributions;
Revolutionizing the climbing world – not only focusing on better products, which led to improved safety, but also leading the “clean” climbing movement and inspiring legions of outdoor enthusiasts to care for their playgrounds.
Being a unique photographer and capturing some of the most recognizable images of the golden age of climbing. Without Tom’s photos, our connection to the Golden Age would be considerably less complete.
Personally funding a campaign to save Camp 4 at Yosemite, which led to its naming as a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Being a great American hero, successful businessman and climbing legend.
For the first 3 years, Flatlander Films has been self-funded and had already completed over 40 interviews. Since then, we’ve had a fairly successful Crowdfunding campaign and brought along some incredible sponsors. Many of our friends in the Outdoor Industry gave product liberally to offer as perks for the campaign. The Yosemite Conservancy, adidas outdoor, Mesa Rim Climbing Gyms, and evolv have all been extremely generous with their sponsorships. But much more is to be done. We leave for Nepal with Conrad Anker in April and post-production, including a musical score are all expensive endeavors. Time is of the essence as, unfortunately, nobody is getting any younger!
Regardless of whether or not the financial goal is met, we will complete this project. It just may take longer, being slowed down by having to stop and work on other (paying) projects. The goal of fundraising is to put aside all of our day jobs and get ‘er done!
Since Tom and Jeff own their production companies, they have the knowledge and experience required to get this production completed.
Independent Filmmakers aren’t unlike dirtbag climbers, we find a way to work on our passion with very little funding. But some things simply can’t get done on cat food. There are Tom Frost fans far and wide, and some of the most famous climbers in the world are, well, all around the world. We need to go to them to get their stories.
Funding will go towards expenses such as travel, post-production costs, a music score, attorney fees, festival fees and more. Extra funds will also allow Tom and Jeff the time to focus on this project uninterrupted.
Producer & Director
Producer, Creative Director & Editor
Associate Producer, Non-profit Coordinator & Grants
Associate Producer, IndieGogo Fundraising
Pam Maynard Seawell
Associate Producer, Talent Acquisition & Employment
Tom Frost, Joyce Frost, Tim and Lynn Chow, Jennifer Ankner-Edelstein, Eric Edelstein, Connie Lightner, Access Fund, Supertopo, Patagonia, American Alpine Club, Ann Krcik, Greg Thomsen, Chimera, Oakdale Climbers Festival, NACHA, Bob Klein, Chris McNamara, Mike Gauthier, Jim Zellers, Billy McCullough, Aurora Photos, Dogpatch Boulders, Mike Dunn, Chris Mathias, Corey Rich, Jim Aikman, Kristi Denton-Cohen, Randy Bloomfield, Douglas Allenstine, Deborah DeVries, Bill Holshevnikoff, Ron Hyatt, Matt Fitzsimons, Mark Lyon, Melissa Chow, Rebecca Hinden, Josh LaCunha, Jason Shepherd, Tracey Larvenz, Brad Rassler, Pam Maynard, Eileen Healy, Dick Duane, Kelly Duane, Ranger Blake Towarnicki, Jeff Deikis (AAC), Anneliese Thies, Amy & Martin Fierro, Kimberly Wong, Diane Micheletos & Gregory Markoulis, our families, friends & loyal clients.