On June 7th, Matador Ambassadors Allie Bombach and Sarah Menzies will launch MoveShake, a character-based film series about the lives of ordinary people who step up to become “movers and shakers.”

[FROM MATADOR SENIOR EDITOR DAVID MILLER]: Super stoked to announce the launch of Matador Ambassadors Allie Bombach and Sarah Menzies’ project MoveShake.

The film series is produced by Red Reel and directed by Allie Bombach, in partnership with Horny Toad, Osprey Packs, and CLIF Bar. MoveShake gives an inside look into the lives of individuals dedicating themselves to creating change and the personal struggles and successes that come with their journey.

The first MoveShake film features another Matador Ambassador, Shannon Galpin, founder of Mountain2Mountain. A rape survivor and mother, she realized she couldn’t just sit on the sidelines when it came to standing up for human rights. Working in Afghanistan, Shannon shares her story of connecting communities on both sides of the equation. Determined to combat apathy, Shannon successfully creates positive change in an area and on an issue that many assume is hopeless.

Accompanying Shannon’s story is that of Julio Solis, a sea turtle conservationist in Puerto San Carlos, Baja California, Mexico. In his youth, Julio poached sea turtles until a life-changing mentor shifted his perspective about his relationship with the ocean. Julio is now working to protect sea turtles by running a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Magdalena Bayʼs natural resources. His story is one of perseverance and personal growth as he works to change the tide for the future of his community. It recently premiered at MountainFilm in Telluride.

On Thursday, June 7th, these two stories will launch the MoveShake series at www.moveshake.org. From 7-9PM MDT, Red Reel will host a viral launch to include an online screening followed by a live question-and-answer opportunity with one of the featured MoveShake characters — Shannon Galpin.

Shannon said:

We know that stories of movers and shakers spread across the world. Join MoveShake Unite and share the positive change you see in your world everyday. Hashtag your Instagram photos that visibly represent work that is important to you with #moveshake and see your photo, and many more, on MoveShake Unite. We want these photos to be the visual “drop in the bucket” of the change we would like to see in the world – letʼs fill the bucket.

Three more MoveShake stories will be released in the coming months, including the stories of Alison Gannett, professional skier and climate change activist, as well as Gregg Treinish, founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. Connect with MoveShake on Facebook to stay updated on the release of the films. In the meantime, please enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots of the filming.


Road warriors

On the production crew was myself, Brenda Barrera, and Miguel Tercerro. We were all living in San Jose Del Cabo, Baja Sur, and we asked our friend Rob to drive us in his truck to Puerto San Carlos where Julio lives. With construction and wild dirt roads, it was about a 6-7 hour drive north. Brenda and I were set up in the back, and thought we got the good end of the deal. Without Rob and Miguel leading the way, I think it would have taken us a lot longer. They were both seasoned Baja road warriors.


First meeting

We met Julio in downtown Puerto San Carlos late at night. We planned to shoot at his office the next morning. Leading up to the shoot, it had been months of email chains through Red Sustainable Travel and See the Wild, who work with Julio's nonprofit Magdalena Baykeepers, or Vigilantes Magdalena. I don't speak Spanish well and Julio's English is just enough to get by, so our communication had been very simple - "I want to film you, are you in?" So, being able to see him in person was such a relief, to look him in the eye and see that he knew what we were trying to do with this story was overwhelming for me.


Heading back in for the night

To capture the sea turtles, they leave the nets draped across a section of the bay for a period of 24 hours. They check the nets every two hours, but most of the turtles they catch are at night because the turtles can't see the nets. We had missed our window with the tourists. At the 11:00PM net check Brenda, Miguel, and I all headed out with Julio. The next check was at 1:00AM and when we got back with still no signs of sea turtles, I was a little disheartened. I knew it was the last opportunity to film a turtle. They were going above and beyond to help find one.



Julio was determined. After the last net check, I thought we were giving up. Julio told me in broken English to go to sleep, and he would stay out until there was a turtle. I tried to persuade him that he couldn't sleep out in the little boat alone all night, that it was ridiculous, but he wouldn't have it. He pulled the boat away into the night to wait for a turtle. I stood on the shore for a few minutes filling up with an overwhelming sense of responsibility that I have felt with many stories I've set out to tell. You're not just a fly on the wall as a filmmaker. You affect your subjects' lives no matter how hard you try not to. But this story was just as important to him. He knew I would have my "all-nighters'" editing the film. We both thought the other's job more heroic.


Julio heading out

We headed out to the island where they partner with Red Sustainable Travel and give tourists a chance to see how monitoring works. It's a beautiful way to see a place and support conservation.



The next morning...we met our first two sea turtles! The monitoring went off without a hitch. We were all bleary-eyed and tired, but excited to finally be filming sea turtles. Julio let me name one of the untagged turtles. So, out there in Magdalena roams "Amos," the grumpy ol' man sea turtle who tried to dance with my underwater camera housing.


All for one

Back in Puerto San Carlos, we couldn't find a vacant hotel room because there was an annual whale festival in town. This sleepy dirt road fishing town blew up into lights, music, and great food. One of the Vigilantes crew let us crash at his house, and with a few mattresses on the floor we were set. As his shirt says, "All for one."



Wandering about the whale festival, Brenda, Miguel, and I decided to sit in the front row before the festivities began. It was the best decision we could have made, because the local dancers came out and there were skirts flying and feet stomping just a few feet away from our faces. Brenda and I could not stop filming. We both were left with quite a bit of this amazing dancing footage, though only a few moments made it into the film.



The next morning, Brenda and I had a wonderfully challenging experience translating my interview questions from English to Spanish for Julio. She had some great ones to add, and it was so helpful to get her perspective as a local.


Sunset on filming

After five days of filming, we all left without an ounce of energy physically, but with full wind in our sails. After a goodbye to Julio and his family, we grabbed a few "ballena" Pacificos for the production team and headed home. I was left with a blissful exhaustion and immense gratitude to Julio and his community for making the film happen. Despite all the challenges, it's an experience I'll never forget.


Shannon and the school children

Shannon observing class, held outdoors due to lack of classroom space, at a school for the deaf in Kabul in 2008.

Photo provided by Shannon Galpin

Girls in headscarves

Shannon visiting a girls school - where many classes are held in tents donated by US military - outside of Kabul in 2010.

Photo provided by Shannon Galpin

Shannon in a headscarf

Observing a class at a school for the deaf run by the Afghan National Association for the Deaf.

Photo provided by Shannon Galpin

Shannon with the military

Making friends with local Afghan militia forces in 2008.

Photo provided by Shannon Galpin

Shannon delivering school supplies

Delivering school supplies in a remote village in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley in 2009.

Photo provided by Shannon Galpin