In September of 2013 catastrophic flooding struck Colorado’s Front Range. President Obama declared a state of emergency and released the National Guard and FEMA. Entire communities were cut off when waters swept away mountain roads, and over 19,000 homes were damaged. The flooding left many of them filled with mud and debris. Before the rain even stopped, a small group of friends in Boulder went out and started shoveling. Inspired by the action, Aly Nicklas, director of Knee Deep, started a Facebook page meant to connect those who needed help with those who wanted to give it. It took off. Almost overnight, this group of friends was running a large scale disaster response effort, despite very little collective experience in either disaster relief or volunteer organization. This short documentary explores how communities can respond to natural disasters to build resilience and come out stronger.

Music by Paul Kimbiris and Phillip Parker

Filmed by Aly Nicklas & Ali Geiser

Additional film provided by The Denver Post

The scariest thing about brain trauma is it’s subjective nature, it’s lack of any real point of reference. You can look fine, can even almost convince yourself that you're fine. There’s not always an external physical manifestation of the turmoil within. For a long time my head was not a fun place to be and saying I was depressed is like saying the arctic is cold; for a long time I was in survival mode but not sure if it was worth the effort. I made it through, somehow, and I wouldn’t change anything that happened. I strapped on my board in 2014 with the intentionality of returning to a world I thought I had said goodbye to a long time ago. And saw, for the first time, that there are loves that last a lifetime. ~Aly Nicklas

Music by Paul Kimbiris
Filmed by Aly Nicklas, Erik Rieger, Shannon Hudson and Dan Gish
Motion Graphics and edit by Aly Nicklas