Boulder director’s documentary follows Isreali, Muslim friends who set new climbing route in Jordan

Boulder’s Henna Taylor, whose “The Valley of the Moon” will be featured at the Reel Rock traveling festival of climbing movies next week at the Oriental Theater, didn’t start out wanting to be a filmmaker.

Since she was a teenager, she has wanted to become a midwife, and in her 20s she spent three months in Cambodia studying midwives there. That began her roundabout route to documentary filmmaking.

“I brought a super old Mac Book with iMovie on it and a camcorder and decided I would document my time there (visually) instead of writing about it because I’m a little dyslexic,” said Taylor, 32. “I fell in love with the documentary part.”

Her documentary debut, one of four films being shown on the Reel Rock tour, is the story of two Israeli climbers developing a new route on a mountain in Jordan’s Wadi Rum national park, along with Boulder climber Madaleine Sorkin, who is Taylor’s partner. The team was supported by a local Bedouin guide, Mohammad Hussein, a Muslim who has had a long friendship with one of the Israeli climbers, Elad Omer. The other Israeli, Eli Nissan, lives in Boulder.

Taylor dropped out of Fairview High School in Boulder after her sophomore year, got a GED and moved to Canada.

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“I was getting straight As and I couldn’t remember what I had learned,” Taylor said of her reasons for quitting high school halfway through. “It wasn’t trying to get away from school; it just at the time felt like a waste of my time. I actually dropped out for a love of learning, I think. When you drop out of school and move to a different country, that’s like the most learning you can do. You’re fully engaged and fully awake and fully terrified. That was really exciting.”

She spent five years living on Vancouver Island, working as an Outward Bound instructor and a sea kayak guide before moving back to Boulder. Last summer, Taylor spoke with The Denver Post about “The Valley of the Moon.”

Q. So how did this movie come about?

A. The marriage between rock climbing and filmmaking makes sense technically. I’ve been climbing since I was 9. I knew how to make films and I could handle myself in vertical spaces. Madaleine is a pro climber. She and Eli were talking at our house one day and Eli said, “Please come …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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