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The eye-popping, yet intimate story of U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce uses years of verité footage to expose the potentially high price of participating in extreme-action sports. Training to compete at the 2010 Winder Olympics, Kevin suffered massive head trauma from a 2009 accident in Park City, Utah. His tight-knit Vermont family flew to his side, and together they began an intensive process of trying to rehabilitate him and help him rebuild his permanently damaged life. Kevin's determination and the tireless support of family and friends kept him focused on recovery. But when he insisted he wanted to return to the sport he loved, his family objected. As an elite athlete, Kevin was a professional risk taker, but as a brain-injury survivor, his skills were now impaired, and even a small blow to the head could kill him.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker sheds light on the alarming trend of athletes pushing the boundaries of their sport past the limit. How much risk is too much? Her thoughtful and probing treatment of her subject enables us to share one family's remarkable journey.


Learn more about THE CRASH REEL and connect with the film:

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The Filmmakers

Lucy Walker Director

Director Lucy Walker's documentaries have won over fifty film awards, and she has twice been nominated for an Academy Award: firstly for WASTE LAND (2010), a documentary feature which also won over 30 other awards including Audience Awards at both Sundance and Berlin, and a year later for THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM (2011), about survivors of Japan's 2011 tsunami, which also won the nonfiction jury prize at Sundance.

Her three previous feature documentaries are DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND (2002), BLINDSIGHT (2006), and COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (2010). BLINDSIGHT, about blind Tibetan students climbing Everest, premiered at Toronto and won festivals including Berlin. COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, about nuclear weapons, premiered at Sundance and played in Official Selection at Cannes. DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND, about Amish teenagers, premiered at Sundance and was nominated for three Emmys (Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Editing) and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. She has also been nominated for two Emmys for Outstanding Directing for Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues.

Lucy grew up in London, England, and graduated from Oxford University before winning a Fulbright scholarship to attend the Graduate Film Program at NYU. She began her career by directing theatre and musical theater, winning awards at Oxford for her productions, and while living in New York she also had a career as a DJ.

Julian Cautherley Producer

Julian is an award-winning director and producer whose projects have participated at festivals such as Sundance, Deauville, Berlin, SXSW and Tribeca. As producer, Julian is on the festival circuit with the award-winning documentary THE CRASH REEL following the dramatic fall and raise of snowboarder Kevin Pearce a traumatic brain injury survivor. Directed by two time Oscar nominated filmmaker, Lucy Walker, the film premiered at the Sundance film festival and has so far received the audience awards at SXSW and Dallas International Film Festival. On the festival circuit and in distribution in Europe is THE BEAUTIFUL GAME a documentary about the power of soccer to transform lives in Africa. Julian is about to start pre-production on the narrative film YOU WERE NEVER HERE with Katie Holmes, Zachary Quinto and Mireille Enos attached to star. Previous projects include narrative feature CROSSTOWN in which the promise of a better life is shattered when two families are confronted with the brutal reality of raising their children in Los Angeles. Tackling immigration issues the film stars Vivica Fox and Manny Perez. Julian is also partner/founder at Good 'n Proper, a production and management company.


December 31, 1969

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Festivals & Awards

News & Documentary Emmy Award


Winner, Outstanding Informational Program - Long Form

Cinema Eye Honors


Winner, Best Nonfiction Film for Television

Sundance Film Festival


Official Selection

SXSW Film Festival


Winner - Audience Award

Hot Docs International Film Fesitval


Top Ten Audience Favourite

True/False Film Festival


Official Selection

Los Angeles Film Festival


Official Selection



Sheffield Doc/Fest


Gotham Awards


Nominee, Best Documentary


By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative, thoroughly winning...a spectacular feat.”



-The New York Times

MORALLY GRAND AND HEART-WRENCHINGLY INTIMATE ... Walker tells a masterful story about one young man who lost his world and had to re-gain himself.”

-The Huffington Post

A superb documentary...uplifting, life-affirming and inspiring.”

-Film Threat

Thrilling and compelling...required viewing”

-The Hollywood Reporter

Exciting...Twice Oscar-nominated Lucy Walker is in her element with this enthralling intelligent, exciting and compassionate film”

-Screen Daily


LOVEYOURBRAIN is the outreach campaign born from THE CRASH REEL and Kevin Pearce’s inspiring story. The campaign includes a variety of different initiatives, including infographics on what to do if you hit your head, discounts for snowboarders and skiers who wear a helmet at participating mountain resorts,  insurance information for athletes, a resource guide to help those with TBI, a share-your-story forum, a helmet pledge, giving the film for free to veterans with TBIs... and much more.

Outreach Resources


LoveYourBrain Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life of people affected by traumatic brain injury.


Kevin Pearce Fund

Created in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation, the Kevin Pearce Fund supports organizations that enrich and enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by brain injury, Down syndrome, and other challenges.


The Brain Injury Associaton of America

The mission of this brain injury advocacy group is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury.


Concussion Legacy Foundation

The Concussion Legacy Foundation advances the study, treatment, and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups. The group achieves this mission through education and prevention programs, advocacy, policy development, and support of medical research.


Heads UP to Youth Sports

This initiative from the Center for Disease Control offers information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports.


Traumatic Brain Injury A to Z

Created by the US Air Force Surgeon General's Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia, this site provides an informative and sensitive exploration of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including information for patients, family members, and caregivers.


National Down Syndrome Society


The Special Olympics