Untitled Multimedia Stormchasing Project

XARTS Fund, Fall 2016-17 | FIG Fund, 2016-17

Project Description

Every spring, Travis Cruz packs his bags and drives from his Virginia hometown to the barren plains of East Texas. This trip is hardly a vacation—Cruz is a meteorologist with an interest so specific and dangerous, researchers are in short supply. He’s is in search of tornadoes. Big ones. Travis and his team have become legends in the stormchasing community: known for their knack in meticulously tracking, recording, and witnessing the world’s most elusive storms. As global tornado frequency becomes more and more erratic, meteorologists are bound towards a renaissance in understanding their behavior. Such is the mission of Cruz’s team—to shed light on both the violence and beauty of life in America’s Tornado Alley.

For several weeks throughout Winter and Spring 2017, I will be joining the expedition and directing a film about Travis’s job, life, and unconventional passion. I will be working alongside his team to get firsthand look at the day-to-day lives of professional meteorologists and the problems they face, both physical and political. Plagued with weather unpredictability, bureaucratic red tape, and competition from reckless amateur stormchasers, the life of a professional meteorologist is intricate in all the ways one would not expect. This project is not just a film about tornadoes, but a piece on the unexpected struggles and successes that come with dedicating one’s life to them.

Team Members

photo of Kirk Pearson
Kirk Pearson