The Rocky Mountains are the backbone of North America and include some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. A trip through this region is the focus of the travel/adventure film "The Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure," which is the next offering in the 2011-12 World Travel Series at SUNY Fredonia.
Award-winning filmmaker John Holod will personally present his film, which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in King Concert Hall at Rockefeller Arts Center. This high-definition, widescreen film takes viewers through the Rockies from New Mexico to Yellowstone, exploring the familiar and not so familiar natural wonders along the way.
The highlights include Yellowstone National Park, the Museum of the Mountain Man, the Dinosaur National Monument, Independence Pass and the Garden of the Gods.
Holod is an internationally-recognized cinematographer who has filmed all over the world and has presented his documentaries to audiences across North America. He stands out in the travel film industry because he travels in a state-of-the-art Born Free Motorcoach, immersing himself in the culture and surroundings he's depicting. The RV serves as home, office and studio while he is on the road.
Not surprisingly, panoramic landscapes play a lead role in "The Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure." The widescreen, high-definition format brings the Rockies to life. Bright blue skies are contrasted by the snow-capped gray mountains. Water pulses through mountain streams and over rocky waterfalls seemingly coming out of the screen in some scenes. In Yellowstone National Park, the eruption of the "Old Faithful" geyser is captured in detail.
While not as well known as Yellowstone, the Garden of the Gods, a public park in Colorado that boasts impressive rock formations, provides more visual highlights. Here, Holod captures the ancient sedimentary beds of red, purple and white rock that have been shaped over time into various formations by wind and water.
"The Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure" is filled with shots that leave the viewer feeling like he or she is actually in the Rocky Mountains. One of the most impressive scenes is the crossing of a pedestrian suspension bridge at the top of the mountains, which creates the feeling of being up in the air.
There are also abundant nature scenes that capture the variety of wildlife found in the Rockies. In one scene, mountain goats battle for supremacy along a stream bed while another shot shows herds of Buffalo and deer grazing in open green fields.
Holod has an eye for the smallest of details, capturing and then slowing down frames of a hummingbird eating at a feeder.
People, past and present, who have called the Rockies home are also represented in the film. Holod offers a look at lifestyles ranging from the Native Americans, who created cave art and mountainside dwellings that still exist, to the trappers who were the first non-native people to call the Rocky Mountains home. Among the stops is the Museum of the Mountain Man in Wyoming, which captures the lifestyle of the trapper in great detail with displays and exhibits.
In some scenes, the past and present come together. At one point, Holod leaves the comfort of his modern RV to travel the mountain side via the Mantou and Pike's Peak Railway. Black and gray smoke pours from the 19th century engine as it labors to pull the train along tracks cut into the stone of the mountainside. The rail journey offers stunning views into the deep river canyons. Later in the film, the past and present cross paths as traffic on the highway is forced to stop to allow bison to cross over.
Holod began filming at the age of 11 when he made his first travelogue film - which included footage from the back of his father's motorcycle en route to the 1964 World's Fair in New York.
At the age of 20, he left Detroit on his own motorcycle to see the country. After traveling 17,000 miles that first summer, he never looked back. He has lived in Aspen, Colo.; Maui, Hawaii and Zermatt, Switzerland.
Holod studied cinematography, journalism and photography at Wayne State University in Michigan. Now the cinematographer spends most of the year on the road producing travelogues and presenting them to audiences around the country.
Documentaries produced and presented by Holod include "RV'ing Alaska's Inside Passage," "Alaska: RV Adventure of a Lifetime," "East Coast RV Adventure," "Gulf Coast RV Adventure," "Baja RV Adventure," "Cuba" and "Czech/Slovakia." He has lectured at such prestigious venues as the National Geographic Society, the Carnegie Institute, Cal Tech and RV Shows in Hershey, Tampa, Chicago, Denver and many other locations. In recognition of his outstanding film achievement, he received the Rising Star award from the travelogue industry in 1995. In 2007, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.
The World Travel Series is sponsored by Fredonia Place as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season.
General admission tickets are available at the door or in advance through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office (673-3501 or fredonia.edu/tickets), located in the modular complex in the Dods Hall parking lot across from the Williams Center.
One child 12 or under is admitted free with each paid adult.