A short documentary film about an extreme Whistler athlete, Don Schwartz, who discovers – 25 years after a tragic helicopter crash that leaves him with third-degree burns to his face – that he suffers from PTSD.
It’s not uncommon for extreme mountain athletes to experience tragedy and the loss of fellow adventurers, but what’s less common is the ability to truly face the deep scars left inside. This story uncovers how Don’s psychological issues are revealed unexpectedly through an unconventional piano session and follows his treatment and recovery journey right up until he decides the final test of his recovery is to take full control of his destiny by earning his helicopter pilot’s license.
Director: Janalee Budge
Producer: InFocus Film School
Living in Whistler for 25 years, I have watched so many friends lose loved ones or become physical and/or mentally scarred themselves from extreme adventure accidents. Over and over again I hear that he or she died doing what they loved, and this is the mantra that is shared and almost expected to come from the mouths of everyone in town.
I can only imagine the torment that really goes on underneath for those who are left with physical and mental scars. I wanted to share one story that hopefully will inspire others who suffer from PTSD to reach out.
About Janalee Budge
Janalee worked as an art director in commercial advertising for 15 years before focusing her creative talents primarily on filmmaking.
Her directorial debut for the short documentary In the Blink of an Eye won the Sir Edmund Hillary Award at the Mountain Film Awards and earned the award of distinction for Canadian shorts. The Happiness Tour is Janalee’s second film.
Janalee has been developing her skills as both a DOP and a director in drama and documentary shorts. She combines her experience in visual composition with her thirst for thought-provoking stories to bring a unique artistic style to her films.