Born to first-generation immigrants from Eritrea, Tadros Eyob grew up in Calgary but later moved to Vancouver, where he says he fell in love with the outdoors and the spectacular climbing opportunities British Columbia offers.
But he says he also quickly noticed how few other people of colour there were in the climbing and bouldering community, despite Vancouver's multicultural nature.
"Sometimes it feels like I am the only person of colour in the room," Eyob, 27, told CBC's North by Northwest host Margaret Gallagher.
"It's when you see others who look like you doing great stuff that you feel truly inspired to try things out."
An excerpt from Kid Rock shows Tadros Eyob scaling a massive boulder. (Submitted by VIMFF)
For Eyob, that inspiration came from the 2020 documentary film Black Ice, which follows the journey of a group aspiring climbers into the mountains of Montana.
"Seeing so many Black people in the film going out ice climbing for the first time moved me to tears," he said.
Now, Eyob has a short documentary of his own, which he hopes will help change the narrative around diversity in adventure sports and encourage people from diverse backgrounds to try things like bouldering.
Kid Rock, which is premiering at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Nov. 15, follows Eyob's journey as he scales massive boulders without ropes or harnesses.
"The message of the film is simple: climbing is cool. It's fun to be out in nature and everybody should be able to do it," he said.
Directed by Eyob and his friend Leroy Hirkala-Maarhuis, the film is shot entirely using Mini DV handheld camcorders for a nostalgic feel.
"They're like family videos but that footage always warms my heart and we wanted to maintain that feeling," Eyob said.
Eyob says he also volunteers at Balancing Act, a program that provides free outdoor climbing workshops for groups "who have been historically marginalized from the sport."
Benjamin Fenton, the founder of Balancing Act, who also features in Kid Rock, says the initiative aims to make climbing more accessible for 2SLGBTQA+ and BIPOC people.
Kid Rock is being screened as part of the Arcteryx Climbing Show at the Rio Theatre on Nov. 15. It will also be available for online viewing from Nov. 14 until Dec. 10 at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival's official website.