by Cassandra Hager
The 2022 Dance with Films Festival is June 9-19. Rewilding is one of the films that will debut at the festival.
Rewilding tells the story of Anthony Dejesus, an artist and former Riker’s Island inmate, as he embarks on an outdoor adventure that pushes him to his physical and emotional limits.
Avid climbers Jesse Spiegel and Vitek Linhart founded the Rewilding program to give formerly incarcerated men a chance to get out into the wild and learn who they truly are. Little did Spiegel and Linhart know, they would learn about themselves along the way, as well.
Rewilding is an emotional and humbling ride, tackling issues such as white privilege and class privilege. It gives a sympathetic face to the many victims of systemic oppression in America. The film is supported tremendously by an excellent soundtrack, and the physicality involved in following a group of men with a camera as they scale hillsides and climb mountains is nothing short of impressive.
I interviewed Dejesus and Linhart to find out how the experience continues to impact them years later.