Steve Belkin | Cleveland
Steve, the founder and self-described janitor of Competitours, spent fewer than 30 days at his home in Cleveland during 2016. He’s still married.
Team Awesome Duo | Will & Sam | Toronto
WILL: Will continues to go awesome places. He even traveled with Steve to Egypt and Ethiopia. goingawesomeplaces.com
SAM: After a satisfying run on Competitours, Sam has remained largely domestic. He spends most of his free time tackling indoor bouldering while thinking of the next Via Ferrata.
Team Baby Fishmouth | Laura & Steve | Seattle
LAURA: Laura is a partner in a Seattle law firm, a dog lover, and a former instructor of Mountain-Oriented First Aid. When she twisted her knee on the Via Ferrata, she knew all of the correct curses to scream.
STEVE: Steve is a professional writer and actor, who once brought an audience of Shakespeare lovers to tears by tumbling off Juliet’s balcony. He didn’t fall off the Via Ferrata, but he did watch his camera tumble hundreds of feet into oblivion that day.
Team Broads Abroad | Judie & Fran | Los Angeles, Cleveland
JUDIE: Judie, a TV producer, still has a fear of heights and ledges unless it’s the edge of her Hollywood Hills pool.
FRAN: Fran may be directionally challenged, but she knows her way around backstage and at a rock and roll concert.
Team Mission Accomplished | Shane & Nate | Salt Lake City
SHANE: When Shane isn’t teaching accounting and managing finances for multiple startup companies, he spends his spare time travel hacking with his wife and three kids so they can travel around world — for free.
NATE: Nate, a human capital consultant based in Salt Lake City, spend his spare time outdoors and recently trekked to Everest Base Camp.
Team Name Mates | Archit & Archit | Chicago, St. Louis
ARCHIT: Archit J., an engineer and MBA student, missed his calling to become a Bollywood choreographer.
ARCHIT: Archit A., who works for Boeing Weapons & Missile Systems, enjoyed trading bullets for swordplay in Maastricht.
Team Rockin’ Chickpeas | Vanessa & Sherry | Austin
VANESSA: Vanessa is an eco-centric, vegan, Happy Cow Ambassador, gardener, food macgyver, sporadic musician and a Red Hot Chili Peppers groupie.
SHERRY: Besides handling American-flag related merchandise for her company OhSay USA, Sherry spontaneously dances on trains, planes and boats.
Team Sanfrantics | Nimish & Rachana | San Francisco
NIMISH: Nimish works as an engagement manager for a business consulting firm in San Francisco. A few months after Competitours, he and Rachana were married.
RACHANA: Rachana, an engineer by training, now helps strategize investment allocations for non-profits and foundations in the global health and life sciences field.
Team Tang for the Win | Viet & Lynda | Portland
VIET: Viet, a dermatologist, provided free skincare advice and passed out sunscreen to all participants.
LYNDA: Lynda, a palliative care doctor, is now balancing family and career with the addition ofher and Viet’s daughter Quynh. Bonus points for getting the pronunciation correct.
Team Triple Crown | Jerry & Jamie | Cleveland
JERRY: Jerry swims in his underpants, but in his spare time also likes to play the guitar.
JAMIE: Jamie, who runs an event management and production company with Jerry, now knows two ways to prepare fish for dinnerat home.
LAURA WATILO BLAKE | Director, Producer, Writer, Camera, Editor
Laura Watilo Blake is the the founder of eLBee Studio, a Cleveland-based visual media company. The internationally published, award-winning journalist, photographer, book author and now independent filmmaker, made her directorial debut in 2018 with the travel documentary “Tripped Up.”
For more than a decade, Laura has produced content for a variety of media outlets, including National Geographic Traveler, Trivago, Eater.com, Great Lakes Publishing, Edible Cleveland, Advanstar Communications, North Coast Media and GIE Media. In 2005, while completing her Master’s in Media Management from the Kent State University, Blake launched the travel website FarFlungTravels.com, which features stories and photography from around the globe.
Laura has focused almost exclusively on travel journalism over the last decade. Her work has been recognized by the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Society of American Travel Writers, which also named FarFlungTravels.com the best travel website in 2013 in the central states chapter.
In search of a good story, Laura’s adventures have included hang-gliding in Rio, traversing the Sahara Desert by camel, trekking in Bhutan and dangling from the side of a Swiss mountain with camera equipment in tow. Her book “Ohio: A Photographic Journey,” produced by Farcountry Press, has a Spring 2018 release date.
Tripped Up (2018) - Director
Making Waves (2012) Director of Photography, Associate Producer
FRAN BELKIN | Executive Producer
Fran Belkin grew up in Los Angeles, went to UCLA, then moved to Cleveland for love and fell in love with the city along the way.
Fran worked along side her husband, Jules, who was a pioneering rock-concert promoter in the 1960s. Belkin Productions became one of the industry’s largest promoters in the Midwest until it was sold to Live Nation in 2001.
Throughout her life, Fran has nurtured her passion for art. Her 10-foot mosaic-covered Fender guitar appeared on the cover of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first Guitarmania catalogue. She has served on the board of the Cleveland Institute of Art for over a decade and earned the honorable Award of Service in 2016.
Fran was one of the first participants on Competitours, the travel competition run by her son, Steve, and went on to compete four more times. Eager to share the experience beyond her blog, she hired a two-person crew to document the trip in 2015. The documentary, Tripped Up, is the result of her initiative.
In addition to serving as executive producer for the film, Fran is finishing a book about her ‘all-access’ life in rock and roll.
ROBERT REILAND | Cinematographer, Editor
Robert Reiland is a visual storyteller based in Cleveland, Ohio. On a daily basis he is called many different things from cinematographer, editor, videographer, photographer, that guy with a camera, and even director of photography. Using his point of view and style, Bob has developed a passion for telling stories visually whether its in an office or on a racetrack, shooting a documentary or narrative film, working in a major city on a brand film or a small town collaborating with a musical group on their latest music video. When he’s not shooting or thinking about a project, he likes to spend time with his wife and dogs doing a wide variety of things, including cooking, snowboarding and traveling, some of which he documents.
MICHAEL SEIFERT | Original Score
Michael Seifert is a multi-platinum award-winning composer, producer, arranger, and audio engineer based in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to work with recording artists, Michael has scored independent films and major motion pictures including Romeo is Bleeding (JZ Productions), Running America (Authentic Films) and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders: The Complete Novel (Warner Brothers/American Zoetrope). Michael has also composed, recorded, produced and performed music for Fox, CBS, MTV, American Greetings, Sports Illustrated, Cleveland International Film Festival, SXSW, Lincoln Electric, Target, Samsung, Microsoft, University Hospitals, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and Fazoli’s Italian Restaurant among others.