Flatlander Films, LLC

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Tom Seawell, is a two-time Emmy nominated and award-winning Director/Photographer, based in San Francisco, CA. For two decades Seawell worked personally as a photographer with Tom Frost—a visionary in the photography world and co-founder of Chimera Lighting Equipment (an industry leader that changed the landscape of movies and photography). Hearing only piecemeal stories from others about Mr. Frost’s badass history, Seawell approached accomplished cinematographer Bill Holshevnikoff to learn more. And that was the beginning of a 7 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 (and fellow Brooks Institute of Photography alumni), Jeff Wiant to partner with him on the project. Wiant, is an award-winning portrait Photographer whose video production company in San Diego is a well-known, go-to shop when projects need some sizzle. Together, they realized they had a amazing opportunity on their hands when they approached Tom Frost and he entrusted them with his exclusive and personal support.

Telling stories on film is what Tom and Jeff do on a daily basis in their careers. They own 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. They are frugal, small and capable of creating the illusion of a great production. Jeff & his sister designed the Tom Frost patch and sticker. Seawell’s mother has transcribed 60 hours of interviews and is their bookkeeper. Everyone on their team has been a volunteer to date. Every athlete interviewed has crossed the sponsor line and that allows them to create a movie that celebrates all.

For the first 3 years, Tom and Jeff crisscrossed the country seeking out the greatest rock climbers to speak on film about Mr. Frost. Why would a bunch of flatlanders (non-climbers) be so inspired to do this? The obvious goal is to create a film about the legendary climber, photographer, & engineer Tom Frost.  But this story goes way beyond climbing. This film will inspire people to get outside, be safe, be honorable and be courteous to Mother Earth.

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 a much needed addition to the team.

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 true gift to Tom, Jeff and Craig.

THE PHILOSOPHY:

The cleanest line to the top is to try to have this film 100% community funded. Because Tom’s impact is industry-wide, Flatlander Films has been clear to corporate brands that all athletes and all logos belong in the film. Every single climber interviewed has taken time away from their family, friends & climbing to to contribute to the film. They gave regardless of their sponsors, which is extremely rare—and in such “good style.” A true reflection on how Tom Frost lived his life. 

In addition Seawell emphasizes, “We have been given a gift to tell this life story and we will not profit from it.” As such, all proceeds will be donated to a charity of Tom Frost’s choosing (well actually two charities, the Yosemite Climbing Association and the North American Climbing History Archives).

WHY DOES THIS MOVIE NEED TO BE MADE?

“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 and all of his contributions:

  • Tom Frost revolutionized the climbing world. He engineered better products, which led to improved safety, and also lead to the “clean” climbing movement inspiring legions of outdoor enthusiasts to care for their playgrounds.
  • As a unique photographer, he captured some of the most iconic and recognizable images of the Golden Age of Climbing when first ascents were being made. Without Tom’s photos, our connection and understanding of the historic era would be considerably less complete.
  • Tom Frost personally funded a campaign to save Yosemite’s Camp 4, which led to its designation in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Not to mention, a great American hero, successful businessman and climbing legend.

CASH MONEY AND THE NEED FOR MORE HELP:

For the first 3 years of their 7 year journey, Flatlander Films self-funded the project and filmed over 40 interviews. Since then, they successfully carried out a crowdfunding campaign and brought on-board some incredible sponsors. Many friends of the Outdoor Industry gave product liberally to offer as perks for the campaign—including Osprey, evolv, Clif and Patagonia. The Yosemite Conservancy, adidas outdoor, The North Face and Mesa Rim Climbing Gyms, have all been extremely generous with their small but generous cash sponsorships.

The film is currently in Post Production with a completion goal of February 2019. And this is the part that takes money. Money means the film can be finished on schedule. Tom and Jeff own their production companies, they have the knowledge and experience required to get this production completed, but they can’t finish the project alone.

Independent Filmmakers aren’t unlike dirtbag climbers, they find a way to work on their passion with very little funding. But some things simply can’t get done on cat food (as delicious as it may be). Additional cash funds are needed for tangible expenses such as travel, post-production costs, writing, a music score, attorney fees, festival fees and more.

 

CONTRIBUTORS

Tom Seawell
Producer & Director

Jeff Wiant
Producer, Creative Director & Editor

Craig Flax
Producer

Steve Grossman
Historian

Lisa Lees
Associate Producer, Non-profit Coordinator & Grants

Natalie Kelleher
Associate Producer, IndieGogo Fundraising

Pam Maynard Seawell
Associate Producer, Talent Acquisition & Employment

Jenn Flax
Team Mom

Jeannette Boudreau
Lawyer

Stenly Song
Accountant

 

SPECIAL THANKS

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, Ken Yager, 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 Allenstein, 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.