The date was Sep. 4, 2017.
“It was just another Monday at work,” said Tyler Turner.
Turner was working at his summer job, teaching and filming sky diving. He was immersed in adventure and action sports. His whole life was surrounded by the community and the culture of it.
During a routine sky dive, something went wrong.
“I had a bad landing,” said Turner. “Nobody really saw it, and I don’t remember what happened.”
In sixty seconds, his whole life changed.
A bad landing at a high velocity sent his life into a spiral. His leg was amputated immediately. His pelvis and spine had to be fixated. He was held in a coma for five days. It was a fight for his life.
Now, four years later, Turner and his old friend Lara Shea are sharing his harrowing and inspiring story of loss and redemption, finding a new identity, and recovering not only the body, but the mind, with the film ‘Sixty Seconds’, premiering in Revelstoke on Nov. 22.
Shea, a professional photographer making her directorial debut with the film, worked with Turner at K3 Cat Ski in Revelstoke before his accident.
She was interested in film, and was searching to create something that was meaningful in the short film world. Turner’s battle with overcoming depression, drug dependency and stigma that surround his disability were themes that are important and relatable to many people.
“I wanted to show people what he’s actually struggling with, telling his story in a way that justified his emotional experience, which was incredibly complicated,” said Shea. “He’s been so open and honest about all he’s been struggling with. I’ve witnessed the deep lows and the high highs.”
“I didn’t want to make the film about the classic ‘get injured, rehab, work back and get back on top’,” said Turner. “We agreed early on that it was going to be a little more about the mental side of recovery.”
The film explores the nuanced themes that came with Turner’s feelings during his mental recovery: isolation, depression and loss of identity.
According to Turner and Shea, the themes in the film mirror what many people in the community and around the world are feeling right now.
Turner’s battle to feel belonging in his own world relates to what many people feel after the lockdowns and the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If I couldn’t show up at the drop zone, or the ski resort, or the trail head, I didn’t know how I was going to to stay a part of those communities,” said Turner. “Losing that was almost more consequential than losing my legs.”
In his recovery, Turner went through a lot psychologists, not buying in to the philosophies they were offering him.
When John Coleman, performance consultant and founder of FreeFlow Mental Training, met Turner on his dimly lit sailboat off the coast of Victoria, they sat down, talked with no tools or techniques. They connected immediately.
Coleman is also an athlete in skiing, surfing and climbing, and has worked with Paralympic athletes for over 20 years.
“A lot of people were telling him ‘you won’t be able to do the things you love to do again’ for these different reasons,” said Coleman. “My approach was ‘man, if you wanna do it, you can do it’. It’s about finding a way to get there.”
Coleman’s treatment with Turner looked to re-establish and enhance his harmony of body and mind. Coleman said that when athlete’s experience big accidents it comes with the removal of the community and the sport they love, and that often times you’re left with just yourself.
“That can be a scary space, and most of us aren’t really good at going there. But it’s a beautiful space for self growth, self discovery, and evolution.”
When speaking about the film, Coleman said that the themes of trauma are relatable to everyone right now who is missing out on their sense of community due to the pandemic.
Now, Turner is a competitive surfer, snowboarder and avid skydiver. He’s the first bilateral amputee wing suit pilot and is training for the 2022 Paralympics as a snowboarder with Team Canada.
Turner understands the positive influence his story can have on like-minded souls, and now inspires others as a public speaker.
The film’s North American premiere is in Revelstoke on Nov. 22 at the Roxy Theatre. The event features two guest speakers: Coleman and Ken Bibbey, executive producer on the project and a ‘man of many hats’.
The night will feature an early show at 5:30 p.m. and a late show at 8 p.m.
To purchase tickets to the event, visit sixtysecondsfilm.eventbrite.ca or purchase in person at Wearabouts Clothing Co.
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