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“The Movement” – Kurt Miller’s film about disabled skiers airs Saturday night

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Mike May was blinded at age three. Photo from “The Movement”

Falling Down, but Standing Tall

Kurt Miller’s “The Movement” screens Saturday on KNBC Channel 4

by Bondo Wyszpolski

In 2004, Universal Studios executive Rick Finkelstein had some terrible luck. While skiing in Aspen he broke his back and collapsed both lungs. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Six years later, after nine surgeries and much rehab, he returned to the slopes, and this dramatic return is the subject of “The Movement: One Man Joins an Uprising,” a film directed and produced by former Hermosa Beach resident Kurt Miller.

The documentary, which also profiles four other disabled skiers, is narrated by Robert Redford and Kurt’s father Warren Miller. It screens at 9 p.m. on Saturday on KNBC Channel 4. This is the first film from the younger Miller’s non-profit organization Make A Hero, but it’s not the last: see below.

“Working with individuals who have overcome a tremendous life-changing disability, exceeding all expectations, is truly an inspiration,” he says.

Chris Waddell was paralyzed at age 20 in a skiing accident. Photo from “The Movement”

Among the visual highlights of the film is a sequence with Paralympic gold medalist skiers Chris Waddell and Jim Martinson carving up Park City to the soundtrack of “My Hero” by the Foo Fighters. Waddell, Martinson, and Matt Feeney are also seen, under the guidance of Challenge Aspen, to get Finkelstein back on the hill.

The final sequence of this brave and determined (but very apprehensive) individual again skiing Aspen Mountain from top to bottom is further enhanced by U2’s multi-platinum hit, “Beautiful Day.”

“The Movement,” says Rachael Stafford of Rocky Mountain ADA, “inspires individuals with disabilities to get back in the game of life.”

The film was selected to play Sundance in 2012. Battling cancer, Rick Finkelstein passed away in 2013.

Additional music was composed by Trevor Rabin, with three-time Academy Award-winner Chris Jenkins in the mixing booth.

Kurt Miller’s follow-up movie is “The Current: Explore the Healing Powers of the Ocean.” It highlights athletes and sporting figures, such as surfer Bethany Hamilton, who also suffered debilitating injuries but rose to overcome them as best they could. These people are truly admirable for their refusing to be humbled by their misfortunes. ER

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