A man's life is put on hold when his best friend dies. Unable to function, he decides to climb a potentially active volcano, he and his friend had talked about climbing.

  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer, Home Alone
  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Key Cast
    "as Alex Vargas"
  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Sound Design
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    Executive Producers
    RICE, The Healer
  • Alex Vargas
    RICE, The Healer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Personal Documentary, Mountaineering, Educational, iPhone 4 Shoot, Great Outdoors
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    iPhone 4S
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1080p HD
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Alex Vargas

Writer, Producer, Director, DoP, Editor, Composer

Alex Vargas was born with a keen sense of observation to a family of musicians in Montevideo, Uruguay. He quickly became aware that there had been some sort of mix up as the disparity between what felt important to him and what others seemed interested in only seemed to increase throughout his childhood. By the time he was a teenager he had developed a full grown sense of alienation that fueled his courageous exit strategy and landed him in Spain at 18 years old. He arrived in Europe with an immense amount of forward moving energy, intelligence, talent, an airway ticket with no return and a 20-dollar bill given to him in ceremonious fashion by his wealthy grandfather. While Alex had been performing on stage since the age of 12, attended a prestigious international school, and was accepted into a classical theatre school in Uruguay at only 17, it wasn’t until he arrived in Europe that he began to feel seen by others in a way that felt closer to his experience of self. He then travelled through Europe collecting experiences and soon settled in Denmark as a songwriter and recording artist. It was in Denmark that Alex became a father and added yet one more talented musician and performer to the long line that had come before him, each of them arriving on the planet most likely sharing a feeling of wonder and curiosity too enormous to be contained by only one language, country or continent.

In addition to being a captivating storyteller and natural performer Alex has also taught yoga, self-discipline, music therapy for children and adults with special needs, drama, and worked privately as a personal health coach as well as serving as a group travel director for a Swedish company. He also spent five years within the nonprofit sector as program director and national counselor for a California based international student exchange organization and then started a small video production company in San Francisco since 2008. In 2008 he also worked as director and later as a consultant for a fashion design company in Denmark, after which Alex attended film school at the School of Liberal Arts, Film Department, CCSF in San Francisco. With regard to the future, Alex is considering securing a sailboat and traveling the seas. He is also fluent in both canine and feline languages, connects deeply with all animals and feels most at home when in nature.

Beth Hayes, Psy.D., MFT (Alex is a friend, not a patient)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I really only had one friend, as a child.
When we were around 15, my friend's father was assigned to New York as the UN Ambassador. And with that, my first and best friend disappeared from my life until many years later. By then, I had moved to Europe and our communication, pre-internet, was limited to meeting through travel. And meet we did, during my three visits back to my place of birth. Then he came visiting to SF. Daniel was the sweetest man. Always mild, loving, supportive of others and with a constant positive disposition. I was so disturbed by this loss that I was not able to work. Instead, I decided to do something I could leave behind for others, for him, for me and in respect to his many, many loved ones. I did what we had talked about as a joke, and left his name signed up there, on Mount Shasta, next to mine. 💚

My friend died while I was in the final stages of production for a feature film. Shooting this short documentary was a necessary step for me , for without the peace it gave me, I would have not been able to complete my first feature, RICE.

SHASTA was shot on an old iPhone 4S at 1080p HD.
Making this movie, I used GPS equipment and its tracking software maps, which are necessary during a storm and useful later, to show the trajectory, in the movie. The gps system was credited as needed, for use of their software. The music playing in my car is from a CD I own. And the use of Google Maps, in the edit, has been credited according to their requirements. I deemed it all necessary to better tell the story from an educational stand point, to those potentially interested in climbing Mount Shasta. The score is otherwise written and performed by me. Shasta was never meant to be, nor will it ever be a commercial piece. I have never had anything at all to do with either Garmin or Google, other than the use of their free software and owning a second hand gps from Garmin. I do like and own the Daft Punk CD, but it just happened to be the only CD in my car, which I had on nearly all the time, again and again... it wasn't planned to be there, but fit perfectly as it was.
My focus was pointed toward the summit. Nothing else.