Filmmaker combines lifestyle, ambition

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Jacob Bell has come up with a plan to fulfill his personal and professional ambitions this summer. He'll travel the Rocky Mountain West from New Mexico to Alaska to shoot and produce outdoor adventure TV programs.

"This will facilitate my own desire for adventure travel and combine it with my passion for media," said Bell, principal owner of JNB Video/Filming the Rockies.

He produces two shows that air twice a day on the Resort Sports Network -- channel 18 -- in Steamboat Springs. He describes his business relationship with RSN as one of "independent syndication." It allows him to strike his own deals with individual stations. Bell said he is talking with several other RSN stations in other Colorado mountain towns but remains free to pitch his shows to the NBC affiliate in Missoula, Mont., for example.

"Climbing Eldorado" features rock climbing in Eldorado Canyon outside Boulder. "Creek Boating the Front Range" will interest paddlers who haven't picked up on the bony whitewater run on Glacier Creek.

This summer, Bell plans to produce a show about Steamboat's cycling culture and explore his passion for mountain biking and artisan breweries in "Bikes and Brew." That journey will take him from New Mexico to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. When he begins shooting "Bikes and Brew" in Taos, N.M., he'll also shoot the first segment for "Llamas and Latitudes."

In the latter, Bell will use llama trekking to explore how higher altitudes at lower latitudes (11,000 feet in New Mexico, for example) compares to lower elevation at more northerly latitudes (for example, sea level in Alaska).

Bell is completing postproduction on "Westwater Whitewater," a trip down the Colorado River's Westwater Canyon with young teenagers who are members of the Front Range Paddle Association.

Bell has deliberately set out to distance himself from the current rage represented by extreme sports videos, some of which he likens to adventure porn because of their rapid cuts from one extreme rapid or couloir to another. Instead, he hopes to carve out a niche for more thoughtful programs that feature adventures the typical weekend athlete can aspire to. He will concentrate more on a storytelling, documentary style.

"I think it's healthy for a viewer and exciting to see something that is within their reach," Bell said. "Not to say I don't shoot very adventurous stuff."

Bell earned his degree in cinema and media from George Fox University in Newburg, Ore. He earned his professional stripes in editing and post-production while employed at a Fox affiliate in Portland, Ore. Although he values the experience, he wasn't meant to spend his days in a windowless room.

"I edited a cooking show and the Saturday morning show," Bell said. "Post-production is what makes it all happen. It doesn't matter how good you are at everything else, if you can't cut (edit), it doesn't happen."

After work at the Fox station, Bell found himself exploring the nearby Columbia River Gorge. It was a natural transition to Boulder, where he began making his own outdoor films. He relocated to Steamboat within the past year to be closer to the mountains.

Before the summer is out, he hopes to have increased his list of credentials.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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