(Posted June 12, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Zack Starr’s documentary film of his 2015 hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is not just about his 2,659-mile trek up the country’s West Coast. “The Epic Mile” is also about overcoming pain and depression and striving to inspire others to do the same, especially military veterans.
The film will be shown at the London State Theater, 67 S. Main St., at 7 p.m. June 17-18. Admission is $7. Half of the ticket price will go to VetConnect, an online community of veterans helping veterans. Starr is developing the site to feature inspirational stories of veterans overcoming physical and mental challenges to achieve their goals. The site also will offer connections to resources for care and support.
Starr, a London resident, suffered an irreparable shoulder injury while serving in the military several years ago. Ever since, he has dealt with chronic pain that, at one point, drove him to thoughts of suicide. He embarked on the daunting PCT hike to prove to himself that his injury does not dictate what he can accomplish in life.
Over the course of his five months on the trail (April-October 2015), Starr shot hours and hours of footage with the idea of creating a documentary to help launch VetConnect. The scenes and stories that made the film, which clocks in at just under two hours, are sometimes breathtaking, sometimes funny, sometimes sobering. Interspersed with footage from the hike are interviews with Starr’s family members, friends and doctor.
Starr debuted “The Epic Mile” at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus in May. He said the response has been “awesome.”
“A lot of people said it provided hope and inspiration, even if you aren’t a veteran or part of the hiking community,” he said.
The buzz has provided Starr with opportunities, such as television interviews, to further get the word out about the film and VetConnect. He also is working with a distribution company with the potential to get the film into theaters around the country.
After each showing at the London State Theater, Starr will host and question and answer session. To view a trailer for the film, go to epicmile.com.