What happens when you combine a background in fashion photography with a daredevilish desire to fly a paraglider over the Canadian Rockies?
You end up with “The Endless Chain,” a documentary featuring Benjamin Jordan, Canada’s only professional expedition paraglider pilot, pushing himself to the limit and questioning societal definitions of masculinity while he’s at it.
The film, which will be screened at 8 p.m. today at Roadhouse Tap Room on Gregory Lane, follows Jordan as he flies his paraglider over The Endless Chain, a section of the Canadian Rockies located in Jasper National Park.
That stretch of mountains had never before been paraglided before Jordan attempted it, and the athlete remains cheerful throughout the film, playing his ukulele and making new songs in the face of adventurous adversity.
“The trick to staying positive is making sure that you are doing what you love,” he said.
Jordan was entirely on his own for the 1,200-kilometer journey and filmed the whole project on GoPros, giving the film a unique and raw feel.
Fourteen years ago Jordan signed up for a paragliding course that ultimately changed his life.
“I got into paragliding because I was looking for something that I felt that I couldn’t do, and I wanted to see what would happen if I did that,” he said
Paragliding “took over” his life. It sent him “all over the world,” he said, “and I love it to the point that I decided to try and make a living out of it.”
With several sponsors and five adventure travel documentaries before “The Endless Chain” to support him, Jordan has been able to explore new challenges and set world records with his paragliding expeditions.
In his most recent project, he sets out to do more than tell the story of a daring expedition. He seeks to reframe definitions of what it means to be a man in today’s society.
“The film has me questioning my own manhood and my own ideas of masculinity,” he said. “It dares to challenge some of the stereotypes that we have in place in society for men, and especially men participating in extreme sports.”
Jordan grew up with a single mother and a sister, powerful women who showed him how to be a strong human and subsequently led him to question what it means to be a strong man.
In the film Jordan is vulnerable in his conversations with the camera. He discusses his fears and flaws with the audience, displaying candor not often found in films about extreme sports.
Jordan wants viewers to know that his expeditions are not just about thrill seeking.
“There’s a lot of value that we associate in our society with this blind heroism,” he said, “and I feel like a lot of men especially are putting themselves in highly compromised scenarios that they wouldn’t be putting themselves in otherwise if they felt strong inside.”
While the goal of the film is to question definitions of manhood, Jordan emphasizes that it is for everyone, and he encourages all to attend the screening, “as long as they are in a place where they are ready to be inspired.”
“The Endless Chain” will be part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the end of October. The screening at Roadhouse will be one of the film’s first public showings. ￼