Armed only with her camera, Alexandria Bombach is not afraid to take risks to harness the power of storytelling. Since launching Red Reel as her private video production business, in leaping defiance of the 2009 recession, Bombach’s work has taken her all over the world. From the highways of the U.S. to the dirt roads of Afghanistan, Bombach’s character-driven films have a distinctive by-the-people-for-the-people tone.
Her ability to show care and respect, or in her words, “making the camera disappear,” as she interacts with the characters in her films landed her an Emmy Award in the category of best interview/discussion for a film in her MoveShake series.
Her newest release, Common Ground , could be up for an award as well, after its sold-out premiere at Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival.
Though her first real gig was with Osprey Packs , the doors to Bombach’s filmmaking career opened with last year’s popular reception of her short film, 23 Feet , which chronicles the distinctive lives of people who live out of campers on the road. Living primarily out of her suitcase (since she travels for all her projects), the force that drives Bombach to film all over the globe is her “addiction to helping people change their perceptions.” That craving to make evocative films landed her a contract with The Conservation Alliance to create a series about pertinent wilderness conservation areas called WorthWild, which includes a short feature on Santa Barbara’s Los Padres National Forest. But her latest release, a more extensive project of The Conservation Alliance, transports viewers to the expansive landscapes of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front.
Common Ground is a story about people and their land. While the documentary’s fulcrum may be local debates about responsibility for the Bob Marshall Wilderness, at its heart the film exposes an exemplary community conservation movement that any grassroots group could imitate. As one farmer in the film states, “this ground we’re talking about belongs to everybody in the United States, and so everybody’s opinion matters.” Every generation in America must face its own issues regarding conservation of natural places along with supporting the ever-expanding population. Whether it means getting your hands dirty or simply raising awareness, it always takes work to preserve beautiful places.
One rancher actually required that Bombach get an authentic taste for her subject matter when her team was filming on his property. He told her, “if you’re gonna film, you’re gonna work,” and Bombach soon found herself struggling to stay out of videographer Thatcher Bean’s shot as she rolled up some barbed wire for the rancher out in a pasture. Occasionally part-time ranch-hand and full-time director, Bombach spearheads all her films but often works with Bean and editor, David Byers, both of whom helped make Common Ground possible.
Now available online you can watch the film here:
As one local outfitter states in the film, “just because its there now doesn’t mean it will always be there.” So sit back to enjoy the film’s quality story-telling and then get out to see how you can get involved in conservation in your own backyard today so future generations may enjoy the great outdoors like you have.