Private Project


In a gruelingly hot summer, Jonny Zaugg, a young mountaineer of Swiss heritage from Southwestern Colorado, finally decides to complete the first ever traverse of a mountain range that had saved his life from suicide, the Sneffels Skyline. With just under 40 miles of loose dangerous ridge lines, a complete lack of water, and serious isolation from anyone, Jonny uses his six years of experience in trying to improve his mental health with climbing this unique landscape to not only navigate the harrowing complexity of one's own mind, but also the crumbling alpine environment around him. Through deep introspection within himself, Jonny is able to gain the discipline necessary to achieve this athletic feat in a way that he deems worthy of this life-giving range, in under 24 hours alone with the mountains.

  • Kael Van Buskirk
    Promise of the Pines, MontTELLs Braiding Indian Education with Academic Literacy Skills in English
  • Kael Van Buskirk
  • Kael Van Buskirk
  • Jonathan Zaugg
  • Jonathan Zaugg
    Key Cast
  • James Huskey
    Key Cast
  • Kael Van Buskirk
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Adventure, Portrait, Event, Drama
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 24, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Breck Film Fest
    Breckenridge, CO
    United States
    September 16, 2022
    Colorado Premiere
  • BZN International Film Fest
    Bozeman, MT
    United States
    January 1, 2023
    Montana Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Rocky Talkie
    Country: United States
    Rights: Internet, Theatrical, Console / Handheld Device
Director Biography - Kael Van Buskirk

Kael B Van Buskirk was born in Gunnison, Colorado where it was necessary to become mature at a young age. Living in subzero weather in an unfinished earthship house, pumping water from a solar well on a cloudy day, shoveling through eight feet of snow, and traveling through blizzards to town, all while trying to raise chickens and goats completely off the electrical grid are some instances of when life got hard. Through these experiences, his character was shaped. Van Buskirk attended high school at Montrose High School and was valedictorian along with his best friend, Gavi Lightsey. Van Buskirk attended the same college as his friend in Bozeman at Montana State University where he blended the art of filmmaking with making digital and analog photographs into a fine arts degree. Van Buskirk's photographic work concentrates on developing the perspective of a photographic method as it inherently surpasses the physicality of the world, bringing to light his unique background and perspective on the vernacular snapshot, structured portrait, and contemporary American landscape. Van Buskirk has had his work nationally exhibited and publicized in both art installations as well as advertisement material. He works in the independent filmmaker/photographer sector as he continues his career as the eye behind the lens. His most recently distributed work is a non fiction story about English Language Acquisition on Native American Reservations in Montana.

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Director Statement

I work on art to further expose the creativity that lies deep within all of us. I hope that when people look at my work, they see the depth and intricacy inherent within the human conscience that are necessary for the creation of art. It is my goal to inspire others to try and expose that depth within themselves, creating their own art, and therefore inspiring other individuals to do the same. Art, for me, is all about identifying the unique characteristics of the human soul and painting them within the visual language of film for everyone to see, a chance to bear witness to a hypnotic and all-encompassing plane of existence beyond the superficial. My art is also celebration of reality in which I shed light on the small attributes that lie in the simplest of objects, hinting that they are just as perplexing as the hidden world within the mind of humans.