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Academy Award winner Jared Leto directs new series on National Parks

Jared Leto, a passionate rock climber and outdoorsman, is directing a five-part video series for the National Parks called Great Wide Open, premiering this week. 

Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the videos and news from the week that was—like Jared Leto’s new Youtube series Great Wide Open —and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.

Great Wide Open is Actually Really Great

Hollywood A-lister Jared Leto can act. And now we know he can direct, too. Leto, who’s a passionate rock climber and outdoorsman, is directing a five-part video series for the National Parks called Great Wide Open and the first episode dropped this week. And the Academy Award winner does a fantastic job on the short film. In the first episode he goes deep with climbing icon Tommy Caldwell, examining Caldwell’s undying love for Yosemite National Park, one of the world’s greatest climbing treasures. There are some intense moments, too: Caldwell opens up about an incident in Kyrgyzstan where he and his climbing team were taken hostage by a group of militants. To escape, Caldwell had to shove one of his captors off a ledge, presumably to his death. He deeply examines himself in the short flick and what it’s like to realize that you’re capable of taking another human life. Leto seamlessly melds the mini Caldwell profile with a beautiful postcard from Yosemite. Leto has long been a rock climbing enthusiast who has shared trips with climbers like Caldwell, Jimmy Chin and other climbing stars. His new comic-strip inspired film, Suicide Squad, opens next month.


Coming Up Big

Surfing in front of her home crowd in waves that are painfully small, Courtney Conlogue continues to come up extremely big at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, Calif. Conlogue faces Tatiana Weston-Webb on Friday in the quarterfinals and hopes to wrap up her second event victory of the year. But it won’t be easy. Five of the top 10 ranked women in the world still remain in the contest that finishes up this weekend.

Winter is Already Threatening

Even though it’s mid summer, many of the ski industry’s leading production companies are releasing trailers for their upcoming fall releases and Matchstick Productions dropped a cinematic-like preview of its soon-to-be-released film, Ruin and Rose. Directed by Ben Sturgulewski, the film (or at least the trailer) has a post- apocalyptical feel as a group of children find a snow globe, a relic of winter that is no longer. Skiers like Mark Abma, Sammy Carlson and Cody Townsend star in this most epic of sneak peaks. The trailer certainly created plenty of buzz this week. Now we have to wait until fall to see of the actual film lives up to the hype.

RUIN AND ROSE Official Trailer - 4K from mspfilms on Vimeo.

What’s On Tap

U.S. Open of Surfing | All weekend starting at 10:30 a.m. ET

The surf has been painfully tiny in California this week and the World Surf League will wrap up the event during the weekend.

Redbull Global Rallycross | Monday 2:30 p.m. ET

The Global Rallycross series hits Washington D.C. this weekend during the fifth event in the championship series.