Synopsis: We often experience nature as tourists, armed with a bucket list and a camera. With the mountains as our backdrop and adrenaline in our veins, we hike to the summit, snap the photo at the top and barrel back down the mountain. But that’s just one way to experience nature.
On a trip to Montana’s Centennial Valley, West Virginia sisters Clara and Rosalie Haizlett tried a different approach. For fourteen days, they traced the streams and the ridges of the valley. Their pace was slow, inching across the wetlands with a notebook and pencil, watercolor paints, and a backpack full of field
guides. This is the story of what they discovered.
“Hike Slow” is a light hearted, educational film that chronicles Clara and Rosalie’s journey to the Centennial Valley, where they spent two weeks as artists-in-residence at the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Center. The short documentary focuses on themes of slowing down in nature, cultivating creativity, and deepening bonds with loved ones.
I directed “Hike Slow” in collaboration with my sister Rosalie, a professional nature illustrator. She has done artist residencies all over the country and as I was beginning to develop my skills as a filmmaker, she suggested that we apply for a residency in Montana together.
We had previously collaborated together on several creative projects, but this was one was different. It wasn’t for a client or an organization, it was just for us. It would be a passion project, through-and-through. Throughout our two weeks in Montana’s Centennial Valley, the idea for “Hike Slow” was born.
Making this film was a such a special opportunity. It’s a love letter to my sister and a genuine reflection of our attempt to deepen our relationship with nature. I hope “Hike Slow” inspires viewers to reflect on their own relationships with loved ones and the land that gives us life.
Clara Haizlett is a freelance journalist and emerging filmmaker from Bethany, West Virginia. She has produced work for outlets like PBS, the Smithsonian, and NPR member stations in West Virginia and Virginia. Clara gravitates towards stories that revolve around people, the natural world and the relationship that exists between them.