Adaptive sports and recreation unite in a film about broken boundaries |

Adaptive sports and recreation unite in a film about broken boundaries

A film crew shooting a documentary called Endless Abilities stopped in Winter Park at the end of May to meet National Sports Center for the Disabled staff after spending two days at Craig Hospital, inspiring patients to pursue an active outdoor lifestyle.

The crew rafted the Colorado River with staff from the National Sports Center for the Disabled and AmeriCorp volunteers.

“It was a trip about having a good time. We had a great time, cameras were rolling,” said Will Harvey, one of the producers of the movie they are filming for Endless Abilities about how sports empower those with physical disabilities as told by four best friends on a cross-country road trip from Rhode Island to California.

Zack Bastian, a producer and the inspiration for the project, wants to inspire someone who is lying in a hospital bed like he was nine years ago.

“This project started with four guys who own a production company and filmed a day in my life as a surfer who is paraplegic,” Bastian said. “We realized we could broaden the scope of the story into different sports including sailing, skiing, and white-water rafting.”

After raising money for the trip, they began the project on May 12 in Rhode Island.

Once in Colorado, they toured Craig Hospital in Denver, a long term acute care and rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neurorehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.

“Instead of getting information at the hospital, we were able to give to the program,” said Will Humphrey, a producer and one of the four friends traveling west with the project.

“We gave hope to the patients in Craig Hospital’s program, and the patients were able to preview our project,” he said.

“It was a time to have a powerful impact, to see people who are going what I went through,” said Bastian.

“Being at the hospital, I remembered what it was like in their seat, and what it meant to me to see someone that could shed hope. Being the giver of that hope was special to me,” he said.

They toured the hospital, and interviewed a patient who is a few months into her injury. They talked about their project with patients and staff.

At the end of the day, Bastian went back into the gym and played basketball with one of the patients who missed the project presentation.

“I played basketball with him and was teaching him how to pick up the basketball using the wheel of his wheelchair. His parents were amazed that he could pick up the ball. His parents were like, wow.”

Bastien showed them the Endless Ability website and trailer for the film they were creating, and they were “blown away.”

The film is expected to release in January 2013, first to therapeutic hospitals like Craig Hospital in Denver, then in theaters, Netflix, and iTunes, said Humphrey.

Their next stop is Salt Lake City where they will meet up with TRAILS and try mountain biking. Then on to San Francisco, and their final destination, San Diego.

Since beginning the project less than two years ago, they have raised over $50,000 through grants, events, and crowd-sourced fundraising. This includes winning $10,000 for the Community Service Award in The Hartford Insurance Co.’s “Achieve Without Limits” contest, and $2,500 from the Challenged Athletes Foundation. PARI, an independent living community in Rhode Island, awarded Endless Abilities a Congressional Community Service Award of the Year in 2011.