Doxa Documentary Film Festival
Snowblind by Vikram Jayanti

Date and Venue 28 Jan @ 7pm | Fifth Avenue Cinemas, 2110 Burrard St., Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

At age twenty-three, Rachael Scdoris counts herself among the Iditarod finishers – even though she's legally blind. As she sets out to compete in her third Iditarod, hoping to beat her previous time of twelve days, she faces numerous obstacles.

Does she beat her record as she plans to? As a reviewer, I'm not supposed to give out the ending of this, her third race. She is legally blind, and she is allowed to bring with her Joe Runyan, who serves as her “visual interpreter.” He won the race fifteen years ago. Now fresh off his second divorce and pushing sixty, he's looking forward to this new challenge.

Director Vikram Jayanti is known for his "extreme" documenaries, including James Ellroy's Feast of Death, Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, and just last year at the VIFF, The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector. In this documentary, Jayanti captures every bit of drama as he follows Scdoris, including helicopter shots taking in the brutal Alaskan landscape, as well as a camera mounted on Scdoris's gear. He captures emotional moments as he interviews Scdoris during her rest stops, and we see the tough choices she makes during this gruelling race.

At the end, Scdoris who is determined to race again, learns hard lessons on what it takes to go through the iditarod, and I'm sure we'll hear more of her in the next iditarod.

This is an excellent documentary and worth the time and money to go and see it.

© 2010 Ed Farolan