The 11th Annual Red Rock Film Festival

AJ Groth address the audience with her husband Gary Groth before the premiere of their film, “I Built a Wall.” – Photo by Jenna Chapman

The 11th annual Red Rock Film Festival opened on Saturday with the screening of five short films, one music video and one full-length documentary.

Festival Director Matt Marxteyn said in a press release that they strive to create a unique viewing experience.

“We wanted to recreate the thrill of going to the movies that had short films before the feature with the added bonus of indie filmmakers coming to their premiere,” Marxteyn said.

One of the opening short films was “I Built a Wall.” The film was created by Gary and A.J. Groth, a couple who met at Brigham Young University while studying film. A.J. Groth said the wall represents the distance that can be created during arguments in a marriage. On the contrary, the couple created “I Built a Wall” to come together and remember why they love film.

The feature film for the evening was “Floating Horses: The Life of Casey Tibbs.” According to the director, Justin Koehler, Tibbs revitalized the rodeo industry in the 1940s and 50s. As an experienced documentarian, Koehler said he jumped at the opportunity to be the first to capture Tibbs’ life, and he strove to capture all aspects of Tibbs’ life, not just the pleasant parts.

“I hope you laugh, you cry, you cringe and, in the end, you say, ‘Wow, I feel like I know him,” Koehler said.

“Floating Horses” has competed in 17 different film festivals and has won six of them. The documentary plays again on Nov. 12 at 3:20 p.m.

Also playing today is the documentary “Coming to My Senses.” The story follows Aaron Baker, a man who became paralyzed after a motocross accident in 1999. Given a slim chance that he will ever feed himself again, Baker embarks on years of therapy. He eventually attempts to walk across Death Valley.

Dominick and Nadia Gill directed and produced the film, respectively. This was the first feature film they created, and it has won the Hiscox Courage Award during the 2017 Austin Film Festival.

Nadia Gill said the film raises awareness for the intense process, but the great outcomes that can come from years of therapy. She also said the couple focuses on physical journeys because of their transformational nature. For more information on this film visit

The Red Rock Film Festival ends on Nov. 19, and is taking place in the conference center of the Ramada hotel located at 1575 W. 200 N. Tickets are $5 per movie and passes are available on their website. For more information and a schedule of showings visit their website.

Story by
Jenna Chapman