Ashima Shiraishi, a young girl, is already one of the most elite rock climbers in the world. The scope of her own world, however—despite being born and raised in the boundlessness of New York City—is surprisingly small. Her life is focused almost exclusively on training and the trio of her family. When Ashima was little, her father, Poppo, gave up a career as an avant-garde performer and Butoh dancer to train her. His single-minded focus on her success and her own desire for his approval creates a complex dynamic between them. Now age 13, Ashima travels with Poppo to South Africa to tackle her biggest challenge yet, to successfully climb a V14 boulder problem, becoming only the second female athlete to do so. Intimate and cinematic, the film explores the complex relationship of parent to child, teacher to student—the push and pull between accepting direction and finding one’s own way. Ultimately, Ashima is a moving portrait of a child growing up and a parent letting go. TS

Filmmaker Q&A following screening


Kenji Tsukamoto


Minji Chang, Dave Boyle, Roy Choi, Kenji Tsukamoto


Samuel J. Rong, Victoria Chalk, Kelly Nickels, Boston McConnoughey


Kenji Tsukamoto

Release Year


Festival Year



United States, Spain, France, South Africa, United Kingdom

Run Time

86 minutes


Partially subtitled