On September 15th, Justice Outside hosted a private screening of the documentary EXPOSURE for alumnx of our Outdoor Educators Institute, Rising Leaders Fellowship, and Cultural Relevancy Series.
EXPOSURE is a film about eleven women from different backgrounds who embark on a journey together to the top of the world on the disappearing Arctic sea ice. This is a story about the many challenges of venturing on a treacherous expedition and the rewards of pushing past fear and building community in the outdoors.
Following the screening, there was a panel featuring Principal of JEDI Outdoors Humaira Falkenberg, Co-Founder of Unlikely Riders Abby Crisostomo, Film Director Holly Morris, and Justice Outside Program Associate Dylan Kennedy.
The discussion began with a few of the takeaways the panelists took from the documentary. One that spoke to Humaira was when Felicity Aston, one of the women on the expedition team, talked about team building, “…when a team works together it’s so ideal in high-consequence environments. When a team fails, it’s because an individual or individuals don’t feel valued.” One of the many universal messages throughout the film.
Aside from the key moments that resonated with them, the panelists also shared their thoughts on inclusivity in storytelling, the complexity of affinity spaces, and the transformative power of the outdoors.
“The benefits I’ve gotten from just being in the outdoors are exponential: happiness, mental health, I mean, everything,” said Abby. She’s always enjoyed the outdoors, but her love for it only grew deeper in college so much so that she moved to Vermont to be closer to the mountains.
Outdoor spaces can range from city parks to national parks to watching butterflies and bees in your own backyard, explained Humaira. “A connection to the outdoors is a civil right, it’s a human right… When that connection happens, material aspects of the world melt away and that connection to outdoor spaces is greater,” she said.
The outdoors fuels different parts of ourselves, and Holly describes the outdoors as the epicenter of her creativity. “…not just because I make films out there but being out there… sometimes it seems like the only place where I reach some sort of creative zone,” she explained.
The importance of community was a recurring theme throughout the conversation, and Dylan talked about how central it is to movement building. “Community building is really seeing yourself and seeing others, and seeing yourself in others and building that true organic belongingness.”