New feature films “Canary” and “Frybread Face & Me” elevate stories about climate change and historically underrepresented groups’ connection to nature
SEATTLE, Sept. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — REI Co-op Studios, the in-house content arm for specialty outdoor retailer REI, today announced the release and expanded distribution of several original feature films, short films and podcasts. Among the projects are “Canary,” a feature climate documentary that will begin its major U.S. theatrical run on Sept. 15, “Frybread Face & Me,” a narrative film that made its international premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, and Full Circle: The First All Black Everest Ascent, a forthcoming film in partnership with Westbrook Studios.
“The films we’re bringing to audiences explore some of the most important and pressing topics at the forefront of the outdoor culture and beyond: climate change and racial equity,” said Paolo Mottola, REI Co-op’s director of brand and content marketing. “We are working alongside some of the most acclaimed creatives to appeal to REI members and inspire more people to spend time in nature and take action to protect it.”
More about REI Co-op Studios’ feature films releasing this fall:
- “Frybread Face & Me“: Written and directed by Billy Luther, this coming-of-age tale chronicles the story of an 11-year-old city boy who is sent to his grandmother’s ranch on the Navajo reservation. REI Co-op Studios executive produced and helped finance the film, along with Macro, River Road, and Indion Entertainment. Frybread Face & Me premiered in the U.S. at SXSW and makes its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 7- Sept. 17. Additional screenings to be announced.
- “Canary“: A documentary that introduces audiences to Lonnie Thompson, a renowned scientist who found himself on the frontlines of climate change—his life’s work evolving into a salvage mission to recover these priceless historical records before they disappear. The film will screen in 140 theaters across 60 U.S. markets, beginning Sept. 15 and with most dates starting Sept. 20 during Climate Week. Danny O’Malley, a producer on Chef’s Table, co-directed the film with MIT-trained neuroscientist Alex Rivest, PhD. Tickets are available here. REI Co-op Studios executive produced the film in partnership Boardwalk Pictures, producers of “Chef’s Table,” “Cheer,” and “Last Chance U.”
“REI Co-op Studios is making strategic investments in quality films from some of the most talented film producers and directors and helping them get seen by broader audiences, starting with its member community,” said Brian Newman, film consultant and former CEO of Tribeca Film Institute. “You can see the strategy is working as these films are premiering at some of the most important festivals and are being acquired by notable film distribution companies.”
REI Co-op Studios is also working with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios on the feature documentary film “Full Circle: The First All Black Everest Ascent.” Shifting the legacy in a white-dominated sport by facilitating a unique global cultural exchange, “Full Circle” follows the story of the first Black climbing expedition to Summit Mt. Everest in spring 2022. Set to release in 2024, the documentary is directed by Rolake Bamgbose and Justice A. Whitaker of Shango Light Films and produced by Jannat Gargi, an Emmy and Peabody winning producer and executive producer of the Academy Award winning documentary, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).”
“We couldn’t imagine a better partner for this timely and important film than the team at REI-Co-Op Studios,” said Jannat Gargi, Senior Vice President, Documentaries at Westbrook Studios. “They foster a tremendous member community that we hope will build momentum for ‘Full Circle’ and help us reach bigger audiences everywhere.”
Beyond feature films, REI Co-op Studios is producing short films and podcasts that will launch on REI’s channels through the Fall.
- “Saturday in the Park”: (Now available to watch) This family friendly documentary short film explores Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Park – covering themes of nature’s positive effect on people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Directed by Irene Kim Chin Vincent and Kurt Vincent of 26 Aries, as well as Tara Kutz. Steve Buscemi narrates and is an executive producer along with Wren Arthur with Olive Productions.
- “My Wild“: (Available Oct. 2) A short film about REI Cooperative Action Fund grantee, Adaptive Adventures, a nonprofit organization that provides progressive outdoor sports opportunities to improve quality of life for children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities and their families.
- “Hello Nature”: (New episodes now live) In its second season, podcast host Misha Euceph, founder of Dustlight Productions,” explores the nature right outside our front doors in eight U.S. cities to bring us stories of leaders and organizations dedicated to helping people explore close-to-home outdoor spaces. The podcast is available on major podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
- “Camp Monsters“: (New episode live Oct. 4) In its fifth season, Camp Monsters podcast host Weston Davis tells tales of creatures in the wildest corners of North America. The podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts.
- “Wild Ideas Worth Living“: (New episodes live weekly) In the weekly podcast host Shelby Stanger, author of Will to Wild, delves into conversations with people who take the path less traveled and bring their wildest ideas to life.
This fall slate carries on the momentum from a strong summer season, which included the premiere of The Right to Joy at Tribeca Festival, a short film that follows trans athlete Izzy Sederbaum’s experience of recovering after a rare cougar attack, and reclaiming joy and healing through cycling; and the REI Co-op Studios executive produced short documentary Pili Ka Mo‘o, which won a regional Emmy for Diversity/Equity/Inclusion and is part of The Reciprocity Project film series from Nia Tero and Upstander Project.
About REI Co-op Studios
REI Co-op Studios is the retailer’s in-house content arm. Across films, podcasts and editorial programs, the studio develops and produces stories that entertain, enrich, and explore the power of time spent outside, while complementing the co-op’s broader climate and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion commitment. The studio’s slate includes feature films Frybread Face and Me, Full Circle: The First All Black Everest Ascent, Space Oddity, and The Dark Divide.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 183 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.
SOURCE REI Co-op