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Women of the Mountain

NYWIFT member Rebecca Byerly has spent the last three and a half years filming across three continents to tell a powerful story about three seemingly ordinary – yet truly extraordinary – women who run the world's longest, most mountainous ultra-marathons. Women of the Mountain is a deeply personal film that explores the physical and emotional terrain of their lives, as well as her own. In the film, grueling 200-mile races through the Himalayas, Alps and Sierra Nevada serve as a backdrop to the testament of the human spirit, the enduring bonds of female friendship, and the need to hold onto and strengthen family ties no matter how painful that may be.

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Rebecca started Women of the Mountain in 2013 because she wanted something positive to come out of a heartbreaking situation. Her Aunt had just passed away from cancer, which in part was caused by two decades of horrific domestic abuse and a lifetime of drug addiction -- and she recognized that she would be playing a significant role raising her then-11-year-old cousin Patrick. At that time, Rebecca was living in India working as a journalist for the New York Times, National Geographic, the Christian Science Monitor and others. Many of the stories she wrote were on rape and violence against women. While she absolutely believes these stories are important she also believes we need to have another narrative that shows how powerful and strong people, especially women, are.

Like Patrick, Rebecca grew up in a home where alcoholism, mental illness and abuse were prevalent. Thankfully, she found running in her early teens. Running is still the way she works through her problems and finds her center. Some of her greatest mentors are the people she’s met on the trail. This is why she traveled across three continents making a film about women who run the world's longest, most mountainous ultra-marathons. The three women profiled in Women of the Mountain teach us about life -- whether it’s how to navigate a difficult marriage, raise children, overcome the challenges that come with age, or bust through gender and cultural barriers. These women have also given Rebecca the strength to share her own story.

Rebecca believes we can change the world when we focus on what connects us. We need to know that we are not alone in our struggles and that people all across the globe are going through them, too. Women of the Mountain provides a platform to talk about those challenges and our shared vulnerabilities. It's Rebecca’s hope that Patrick and tens of millions more across the globe will see this documentary and find the strength to rise above the cycle of abuse in their own lives and find a positive outlet.
Rebecca plans to debut Women of the Mountain at major film festivals in 2018, distribute it globally, and most importantly get the much-needed message of empowerment into schools, organizations, businesses and homes around the world.

The global support Women of the Mountain has received is truly remarkable. With the support of private donors, Kickstarter, in kind contributions and her own personal savings, Rebecca has raised over $480,000 for the film. To finish the film Rebecca needs to raise $375,000 more. This money will go directly to post production, editing, music, and developing our social impact campaign.

You can learn more about the film at womenofthemountain.com

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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