Merrell is presenting a 10-minute film titled This Land. It features Faith E. Briggs, a documentary filmmaker who used to run the streets of Brooklyn every morning and has now run about 150 miles through three of the so-called National Monuments in the United States. Public lands enjoy a certain degree of state protection, with some of them currently at the center of socio-political controversy.
In the film, she and her running partners discuss various perspectives on what it means to be a public landowner. They assess the effects of having the amount of such lands reduced and of a public that is largely unaware.
Merrell describes the film as “a story about access to land, told through a journey of inclusion and empowerment.” Briggs adds, “I want everyone to be able to see someone who looks like them outside doing something they love, and I want them to be inspired to do the same thing.”
This Land was created by an all-female team, including the first-time directors Whit Hassett and Chelsea Jolly. The film is being shown at several festivals around the world, including the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the No Man’s Land Film Festival and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Fest.