On November 22, Revelstoke-based film director Lara Shea will be premiering a film centered around the story of Tyler Turner, a skydiver and all-around adventure sports athlete whose life was dramatically altered after what was meant to be a routine jump.
Sixty-Seconds follows Turner as he navigates not only the physical impacts of the accident, but the journey with his body, mind, and his perception of self.
On September 4, 2017, Turner’s life was cleaved into two segments: life prior to and after the sixty seconds during which the accident took place.
In his journey to recovery, Turner seeks the help of a psychologist in the hopes of coping and reconnecting to the sports that filled his life before the accident. A community of friends, family, and healthcare professionals provide the love and support that eventually leads to a shift in Turner’s mental state.
The film carefully documents the rollercoaster of his emotional, mental and physical wellbeing – and the ongoing balancing act between achieving personal independence and getting the support he needs from a huge professional and personal network.
The subject is one that hits close to home for Shea.
“We were friends, co-workers and shared a common mountain community. In the early stages of his recovery, I witnessed him unravel,” Shea explained in a statement.
“His identity began to slip away. It was hard to watch a friend suffer each day, with very little positive outlook for the future; there was simply too much uncertainty, too many unknowns.”
Shea also explained that she wanted to create a film that acknowledged emotional depth within individuals in sport communities and reflect on how their sense of self identity can become so closely linked to their sport that if ever the sport is taken away, they’re at a loss for methods to cope with the struggles they’re facing.
As someone close to Turner, Shea wanted to ensure that the depiction of his emotional journey was handled carefully.
“My main intention moving into this filming was to create a gift for a friend who could reflect on it, see his progress from a different perspective,” she said.
“The subject matter was inherently delicate and we endeavoured to be respectful of the very real rollercoaster ride that he was on.”
Shea says she was surprised to find another element of Turner’s story along the way: an unlikely love story in the midst of trauma.
While Turner and his partner Kayleen Vanderree knew each other before his accident, they grew close during his recovery.
“That part was always a surprise to me, to find out Kayleen was such a large part of Tyler’s life,” Shea said.
“They had a first date in the hospital. She was a large part of Tyler’s recovery. She is a strong person. She sacrificed a lot to support Tyler … I wanted to show the love and care they had between them.”
Shea wanted to turn traditional gender roles on their head by portraying Vanderree’s strength and her role as a pillar in Turner’s life contrasted with Turner’s vulnerability. She decided to tackle the often stigmatized act of a man talking about his emotions as he worked through his journey to recovery.
Watch: Sixty Seconds Official Trailer
The film will premiere at the Roxy Theatre and will feature two guest speakers: Ken Bibby and John Coleman. Bibby is an experienced helicopter ski guide, avalanche educator, and fly fishing guide. He also works as a project manager and has played various roles in the production of social and adventure documentary films.
Coleman is a wellness and high performance coach specializing in opening pathways to personal evolution. He was Turner’s psychologist throughout the filming of Sixty-Seconds.
The film is Lara Shea’s directorial debut. She is an accomplished photographer and artist who is currently transitioning into documentary work and narrative filmmaking. Her previous work includes commercials and promotional films. She says she’s currently working on another short documentary in a similar vein.
Despite Turner’s adversity, he’s gone on to win a World Cup Snowboardcross gold medal, become the first bilateral amputee to pilot a wingsuit, and is now training to qualify for the 2022 Paralympic games.
The Revelstoke premiere is a the Roxy Theatre is on Monday, Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m.