Asheville filmmaker immerses himself in Appalachian Trail

Chris Gallaway fought off swarms of mosquitoes like something out of a Biblical plague, black bears trying to get at his rotisserie chicken, and the general exhaustion and agony, anguish and heartbreak of anyone thru-hiking the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail.

Although Gallaway, 32, of Black Mountain, NC began the journey in 2013 as a solo hiker, he was never really alone. Armed always with his video camera on the seven-month-long odyssey, Gallaway created the ultimate moving selfie — a documentary film called “The Long Start to the Journey,” which will debut in Asheville Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the Asheville Community Theatre.

The photographically stunning, 76-minute movie — set to original music, funded by crowd-sourcing and produced in Asheville — blends Gallaway’s personal hiking story with the history of the Appalachian Trail’s origins to tell the story about “why wilderness is something essential for people in the modern world.”

But at its core, like the heart of wilderness, “The Long Start to the Journey,” is a love story of Frost and Sunshine, two of the essential elements that create natural beauty and happen to be the trail names bestowed upon Gallaway and his wife, Larissa.

A natural born writer and storyteller, Chris knew a good story when he felt it, and decided to insert himself into the blood and guts story of hiking the longest trail on the Eastern Coast.

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