When you watch "Rattlesnake to Westwater," you join Hank Leukart '97 and his friend and fellow alumnus Jake Jenkins '97 on a three-day packrafting adventure along the Colorado River through Horsethief, Ruby and Westwater Canyon, experiencing all the excitement of Class II, III and IV rapids (including the grimly named Skull Rapid) from the safety behind the screen.
Hank is a film director and television producer who is passionate about using technology to share compelling, immersive stories. His TV work includes World's Toughest Race with Bear Grylls on Amazon Prime; The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and The American Baking Competition on CBS; and Naked & Afraid and The Wheel on Discovery. He recently directed his first feature documentary film, The Mars Academy, which was screened at the Borrego Springs Film Festival. He's also won awards for his short film, Bears Ears, at the Lookout Wild, Maine Outdoor and Paddling Film Festivals.
"Rattlesnake to Westwater" is a 21-minute film which documents the adventure from first step to finish, including some missteps (like doubling back after hiking in the wrong direction) and heart-stopping moments, such as their precarious descent into the canyon, a punctured valve mended with duct tape, multiple capsizes and even a runaway raft!
You get the cinematic experience with beautiful aerial shots of the gorgeous Colorado and Utah landscape, as well as the intense and adrenaline-fueled moments that come with the mounted and handheld camera footage. All in all, it's no wonder that such a thrilling tale won Best Action Film at the Waterwalker Film Festival. Congratulations, Hank! Thank you for taking us along for the ride of a lifetime!