Veteran smokejumper Jack Elliot fells trees on a steep mountain slope high in the Montana wilderness. He’s one of a five-man crew harvesting beetle-infested pines. It’s a long road from the frenetic lifestyle of a smokejumper, but after losing most of his unit in a runaway backcountry fire, the tranquility of a quiet wood is a welcomed peace.
His phone rings.
Jack’s estranged ex-wife can’t pick up their teenage daughter from camp in Wyoming. After the fire, Jack lost himself, and consequently lost his family. He hasn’t seen either of them in five years. Hesitant at first, he agrees.
When Jack arrives at Sky Camp, it’s not exactly what he was expecting. He pulls in on his ’98 Dyna, sleeping bags latched to the back, eating the dust of a black G-Wagon. When Hanna sees her Dad, out in the middle of nowhere, atop a twenty year old Harley, it’s not exactly what she’d had in mind, either. Reluctantly she gets on.
Over the next four days, we watch these two strangers battle as they ride across the wild Montana landscape and sleep beneath her bounty of stars. Watching his baby grow into a young woman, and seeing her hero shrink to a man, a battle that starts off as face to face, slowly becomes back to back.
But the mountains, the passersby, and the small seat of a motorcycle can only do so much to bring them together. The rest is up to them.
Derek Bauer grew up at the base of the North Cascades, in Washington state. At a young age, his father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, and after a few hard years, he passed. When Derek grew older, he discovered his dad’s love of the mountains and the outdoors. This film is the expression of that relationship. It’s about loss, it’s about abandonment, and most importantly, it’s about the human spirit and its ability to heal.
Derek is an Award-winning cinematographer with over 15 years of professional experience. The latest film he shot, Butterfly Caught, has screened at over a dozen festivals, and picked up numerous awards along the way, including Best Director and Best Ensemble at the San Diego International Film Festival.
He has also has worked extensively in both the commercial and documentary worlds, having shot commercials for such clients as Audi, Adidas, Nissan, and most recently, Jurassic World, to name a few. Derek also filmed the successful documentary films, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, 24 Hour War, and A&E Network’s, OJ Speaks: The Hidden Tapes.
A Seattle native, Derek studied directing at the University of Washington’s School of Drama, fine art photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, attended the New York Film Academy, and is an active member of the International Cinematographer's Guild.