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Park City Film Series goes ‘Beyond Limits’

On Sept. 7, 2008, Bonner Paddock stood on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, some 19,340 feet above Tanzania.

That marked the end of a journey that started when Paddock was first diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child.

Paddock’s climb is the subject of Kent Bassett’s documentary "Beyond Limits," which the Park City Film Series will screen on Friday, July 10, in the Jim Santy Auditorium of the newly remodeled Park City Library.

Usually the Park City Film Series will screen films from fall to spring, but this screening is an exception, said executive director Katharine Wang.

"This year, with our move back to the Santy Auditorium, we wanted to use the space as quickly as possible and are trying to put together a few summer events and get people into the auditorium," Wang told The Park Record.

The event will also include a pre-screening reception in the third floor community room, across the hall from the auditorium.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org . Since alcohol will be served, the screening is open to attendees ages 21 and older.

"We were able to pull a single-event permit, so the cost of a ticket will also include a glass of wine or signature cocktail and entrance to a reception in the third floor community room, across the hall from the auditorium," Wang said.

The price will also include a copy of Paddock’s new book, "One More Step," which is about his climb as well as his experience competing in the 2012 Iron Man competition in Kona, Hawaii.

"Bonner will be here for the screening to do a Q and A and a book signing," Wang said. The screening is also a fundraiser for Paddock’s OM Foundation, a nonprofit designed to help empower children with disabilities and their families in the United States and Africa to live life beyond their limitations.

The idea to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro sprouted after a 4-year-old boy Paddock knew passed away.

"Like me, he had cerebral palsy," Paddock said during a phone call to The Park Record from his home in Laguna Beach, California. "It happened six months after I had met the family."

In that half year, Paddock opened up to the family about his own battle with CP.

"I actually had kept my own condition secret until I was 29 years old," Paddock said. "No one, except for maybe 30 people, really knew I had it, even though I did walk funny and slow."

Then the family began telling how much Paddock meant to them.

"I got to know this family that first year that I had begun talking about me having a disability and his dad told me that I gave their son hope," Paddock said. "The boy’s passing set me on a path to figure out who I really was and what I was going to do."

The first thing Paddock did was run a marathon in the boys memory.

"That got some attention and money into a local charity, and that’s when a lightbulb went off in my head," he said. "Since I have a higher ability than most people who are diagnosed with CP, I began to think of other things I could do to raise awareness."

Paddock looked around to find something that would really challenge and scare him, and found it on the Discovery Channel.

"There was a documentary about Mt. Everest and it hit me, ‘Oh, yeah. I’m scared of mountains,’" Paddock said with a laugh.

Paddock knew scaling Mount Everest was out of the question, so he did some research and found Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"It’s the tallest, free-standing mountain in Africa and has this crazy mystique and lure," he said.

Although he didn’t prepare as much as he should have, Paddock reached the top, but not before he ventured deep within himself.

"Looking back now, I didn’t realize how much anger and frustration I had felt towards the kids who teased me about the way I walked while I was growing up," Paddock said. "I was also angry at my mom for my disability and I stored that stuff up. But then I used all of those emotions to get myself to the top of the mountain."

The idea to document the climb came from some of Paddock’s friends.

"I just thought they were being nice, but three months before leaving, they told me that this excursion was documentary-worthy," he said.

His friends hooked him up with filmmaker Kent Bassett, a graduate from Chapman University, and things skyrocketed from there.

"The next thing I knew we were all getting passports and booking tickets," he said.

During Friday’s screening, Paddock will be joined by three others who accompanied on the climb — Tim Geiss, Paul "Iron Horse" Flores and Shirley "Turtle" Ala.

Tim designed the whole trip," Paddock said. "Paul is one of my best friends and Shirley was our nurse practitioner.

"It will be interesting to sit and watch the film with them again," he said. "I haven’t seen it with them for years, so it will be interesting to see how we feel about it now."

The Park City Film Series will present a special screening of Kent Bassett’s documentary "Beyond Limits," not rated, at the Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Friday, July 10, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30. The screening is open to ages 21 and older and is a fundraiser for the OM Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Paddock. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org.