Finding Traction

Finding Traction presents the inspirational story of ultra runner Nikki Kimball's quest to become the fastest person in history to run America's oldest hiking trail, Vermont's 273-mile Long Trail. Through Nikki’s incredible journey, racing towards a dream and against time, we gain a new perspective on what we all share in terms of endurance and the human spirit.

  • Jaime Jacobsen
  • Stefanie Watkins
  • Jaime Jacobsen
  • Jaime Jacobsen
  • Charles Dye
  • Daniel Schmidt
  • Rick Smith
  • Nikki Kimball
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    56 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    101,268 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival
    Banff, Alberta, Canada
    November 9, 2014
    World Premiere
    Finalist, Mountain Film Competition
  • Danish Adventure Film Festival
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    November 26, 2014
    European Premiere
    Best Action Sports Film
  • Mumbai Women's Independent Film Festival
    Mumbai, India
    December 10, 2014
    Asian Premiere
  • Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
    Vancover, Canada
    February 14, 2015
    Best Mountain Sports Film
  • Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    March 21, 2015
    Best Women in Adventure Film
  • Green Mountain Film Festival
    Montpelier, Vermont
    March 28, 2015
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
    Missoula, Montana
    February 8, 2015
    US Premiere
  • Trail Running Film Festival
    Ashland, OR
    April 1, 2015
  • National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Northwest Chapter
    United States
    June 4, 2016
    Emmy Award, Documentary – Topical
  • 2015 Trails in Motion 3 World Tour
    167 cities in 26 countries
Director Biography - Jaime Jacobsen

Jaime Jacobsen is an independent filmmaker who is passionate about using film to cultivate conversation on contemporary social, environmental and humanitarian issues. Her films have explored the politics of gender and identity, as well as contemporary social justice issues through the eyes of Native American youth and elders in the Rocky Mountain West and women in diverse communities across the globe. Jaime’s previous films include "The Water Carriers," which profiles an engineering student’s work to bring clean water to schoolchildren in Kenya (Silver Telly Award, 2008), "Homefront: United or Divided," Montana PBS' companion program to Ken Burns' The War (Regional Emmy Award Nomination, 2008) and "Montana Fare," about food politics and culture in rural Montana (College Emmy, 2010). Most recently, Jaime worked as a Field Producer on "Indian Relay" (Independent Lens, 2013). She currently teaches filmmaking as an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Notre Dame University – Louaize in Beirut. Prior to moving to Lebanon, she taught in the Honors College at Montana State University, where she obtained a MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking.

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Director Statement

For me, documentary filmmaking is about finding people who intrigue and inspire us, and who have a fascinating story to tell. These individuals challenge us to ask bigger questions about the world and our place in it. Through Nikki’s story in Finding Traction, I wanted to inspire people, especially women and girls, to reach their full potential and go after their dreams.

It was amazing to spearhead the creation of this film and to have the opportunity to bring this story to audiences around the world. One of my personal goals as a filmmaker is to use film to cultivate conversation about the pressing issues of our times. Finding Traction, at its core, explores the limits of human body and spirit, while posing larger questions about gender equity, human endurance, and our individual determination to succeed. I wanted to bring more attention to the extraordinary accomplishments of amazing female athletes like Nikki and inspire others through her story.

When I first met Nikki three years ago, and learned about her motivation behind her Long Trail record attempt, I felt I understood her mission in some way. I am a young female director working in what is still largely a male-dominated field, trying to launch my career and make a name for myself. Most of my colleagues are men and I often find myself on shoots or working on projects where I am the only woman. Indiewire has recently published a number of articles about gender inequality in film, highlighting the lack of women in leadership and directorial roles in Hollywood and in television.

We have come a long way, but the fact remains that men and women are still not equal. Currently I live and work in Beirut, Lebanon, where women face even more challenges then they do in the United States. Lebanese women are still fighting for basic rights, such as the right to pass on their nationality to their children. Every day I feel more committed to this mission – of empowering women in diverse communities across the globe – and using my talents in filmmaking to tell stories that motivate the public to imagine, and ultimately create, a better future.