Close this search box.
Friday, June 14
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Landmark E-Street Cinema

555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Champions of the Golden Valley


Ben Sturgulewski

Executive Producer

Doug Blush


Katie Stjernholm, Baktash Ahadi


Ben Sturgulewski


Ben Sturgulewski, Jason Mannings

The ancient mountain city of Bamyan, Afghanistan is once again on the edge of a great change. Skiing has been introduced to the area, sparking an unlikely yet joyful athletic revolution. Two teenage potato farmers from rival ethnic groups vie for the crown of an exhilarating ski race, led by a local Olympic-hopeful coach who sees a deeper truth in the sport as a tool for building camaraderie and resiliency within the community. But the stakes of those lessons become existential when they endure the shocking collapse of their country to the Taliban, displacing many across the globe as refugees, and forcing them all to face a future they could never have dreamed of.

Champions of the Golden Valley is both an inspiring sports fable and a portrait of people in the midst of profound transition — parallel stories converging to explore what it means to be a champion, in all its forms.

Director, Champions of the Golden Valley

Ben ‘Sturge’ Sturgulewski grew up on a rugged and remote island in Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, inspiring a life dedicated to exploring the world’s wild side, and the people who call it home. Ben has created a portfolio of award-winning short films that have appeared at festivals around the globe, taking home dozens of awards for cinematography, editing, creativity, and storytelling, as well as overall Grand Prizes and Audience Awards. He has directed, filmed, and edited acclaimed content for clients such as Patagonia, Arcteryx, YETI, Rivian, NFL Films, and Red Bull. Ben has produced a library of Vimeo Staff Picks, and his ski film Valhalla was recently named ‘The Greatest Ski Film of All Time’ by Outside Magazine. His collaborations with brands, agencies, production houses, and passion projects continue to take him on new and unexpected adventures. Champions of the Golden Valley is his first feature documentary.