National Geographic Live: Extreme Adventure on the Edge

A downhill-skiing, whitewater-kayaking, aeroplane-flying adventure filmmaker.
Diana Clarke
Published on May 08, 2014


Bryan Smith describes himself as a family man. But the term family man suggests a conservative, newspaper-reading, pram-pushing, one-red-wine-a-night-drinking golfer. What Smith fails to mention is that he is a family man on his off days. On his working days, however, he is a downhill-skiing, sea-and-white-water-kayaking, aeroplane-flying, adventure-film-making badass.

I get the feeling Bryan Smith might be one of those people that everyone hates for being good at everything. He owns the film company Reel Water Productions without having been to film school. Instead, he started off as an adventurer and athlete, whilst gaining self-taught camera skills. His photography kicked off during a hydroelectric dam project threatening British Columbian rivers. From that point, he was mentored by a number of other adventurers and photographers who inspired him and taught him along the way, but he says that it is his passion for adventure film that led him to success. He loves exploring people and places intimately, and engaging deeply in documenting his findings. His first acclaimed documentary, Megawatts explored the controversy over British Columbia’s river based energy production, and ended up going viral. From there, Smith has made numerous feature length films, and had them appear at a range of film festivals.

He will share stories of his adventures, and his film making, including his kayaking explorations in India, Peru and Russia. He might even tell you a little about his human flight experience. Encounters with culture, nature and danger are everyday occurrences for Smith, although he refuses to adopt the term ‘thrill-seeker’. Instead he embraces his fear, considering nerves as his greatest asset, and his protecter. Fear, he says, keeps you focussed and safety-conscious.

If you’re not quite up to the badassness of Bryan Smith, then go listen to him, and live vicariously through his thrill-seeking-but-not adventures.


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