Paddle to Seattle

Reel NW

Paddle to Seattle

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Two friends build kayaks and paddle 97 days through wilderness from Alaska to Seattle.

About the Film

About the Film

In “Paddle to Seattle” two friends build their own kayaks and paddle alone for 97 days in the wilderness. They travel an epic adventure that takes them over 1,300 miles from Alaska to Seattle and survive still able to talk about most of their experiences.

Josh Thomas and J.J. Kelley navigated the famous Inside Passage route, paddling between the islands of the Alexander Archipelago and the rainforest of the Tongass National Forest. Weeks of unrelenting rain were punctuated by unexpectedly surreal encounters with marine life, bears and other animal and human inhabitants of these northern climes. Caught on film, these interactions are threaded together by the adventurers’ friendship and unusual senses of humor.

“Paddle to Seattle” is the first time a kayak journey of the Inside Passage has been brought to the screen. Kelley and Thomas are no big expedition newbies: Together they have completed three different adventures each more than 1,000 miles in length. Their rules are simple: No motors allowed, but get there any other way you can.

The pair met on a 2,200-mile trek across the Appalachian Range and have have since developed a unique style of adventure film. Their films are memoirs that take audiences along on the duo’s cross-continental adventures.

Their freshman film “Pedal to the Midnight Sun” aired nationwide on PBS via National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles in August 2008. Their unique attitude to travel is reflected in the name of Kelley and Thomas’ production company, Dudes on Media.

Director's Statement

It is with great honor that we present this documentary. This film is the work of inspired filmmakers who had a passion to follow their hearts. We feel that the adventure that ensued closely depicts the ecosystem and inhabitants of the Inside Passage in addition to illustrating the effects of isolated travel in a vast wilderness. Our moments of humor are nothing less that the product of months of solitary exposure to one another; on some level perhaps the ideas we had would otherwise never have occurred. This is a film that we are deeply proud of; every moment of the project is tied to our experience as filmmakers and adventurers.

JJ Kelley

The Reel NW Connection

Reel NW focuses on the very best of independent film from the Northwest. Every week, Reel NW airs intriguing films from, or about, our own community. "Paddle to Seattle" explores the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest through the eyes of two adventurous filmmakers.

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