The River Runner

Expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren's 23 quest to become the first person to paddle the four great rivers that flow from Tibet's sacred Mt. Kailash.
Scott Lindgren stands at Malupa Falls on the Indus River


Running time

86 minutes

Our Judges say:

Mount Kilash in Tibet: a huge challenge for world class kayakers. "The river enlightened both my brother and I. It transformed our energy from negative to positive."

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

Very candid life story (so far :-) of the kayaker Scott Lindgren - huge challenges from rivers and mental health.

Simon Taylor

I started splashing around in kayaks before I could walk and devoted myself to paddling full time at the age of 14. Like most kayakers of my generation, I regarded Scott Lindgren as one of the greatest filmmakers and kayakers our sport has ever known. Much like Warren Miller did for skiing, Scott redefined the genre of whitewater films. But he was not content just staying behind the camera, he was also breaking boundaries on the river, paddling some of the most difficult whitewater in the world. I had posters of his movies on my bedroom wall. I never thought I'd be making a documentary about him. "The River Runner" follows Scott's twenty-year quest to become the first person to kayak the four great rivers that flow off the flanks of Tibet's Mt. Kailash, a sacred site that pilgrims from four major religions visit in search of enlightenment. Scott had a tough upbringing and was notorious for his sharp edges. On the river, that unsentimental attitude helped him do things no one ever had. But off the river, he struggled with the same challenges many of us face: trauma, addiction, and, most significantly, a brain tumor. It was only by learning to open his heart that Scott was finally able to accomplish his goals, a lesson we can all appreciate on our journey down the toughest river of all, the river of life. I hope my audience feels the weight of Scott’s personal journey and the lengths he went to become the person he is now. It’s never too late to change, and it’s never too late to follow your dreams. I believe this film is a testament to that. -Rush Sturges, Director

Sustainability Notes

The film has an approach to personal sustainability. It is about using vulnerability as a strength, not a weakness. This is an issue that is often overlooked in the adventure sports community where vulnerability in our given disciplines can equal death and is often pushed to the side. But when this mentality overlaps into our day to day lives, it can have damaging consequences.