Renan lives to tell stories about our connection to the natural world, often set within the most challenging environments on Earth. He’s constantly searching for projects that move him -- films that have a strong visual identity matched with some deeply compelling human element.
He began his career as an expedition climber and landscape artist, spending years living in a tent beneath the big walls of U.S. National Parks and in the snowy Himalayan mountains. All of his paintings were created on expedition, carrying large cotton canvases on his back, sometimes even using natural pigments pulled straight from the earth to capture these wildly beautiful landscapes. He received National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2013 for his combination of cutting-edge first ascents and visual storytelling.
Currently, Renan works as a commercial and documentary filmmaker, an expedition climber for The North Face, and a photojournalist for Sony and National Geographic. The films he’s made over the years have had a global presence; he’s probably best known for MERU (cinematographer/subject), which won the 2015 Audience Choice Award at Sundance, and the critically acclaimed Sherpa (cinematographer/co-director), which screened at TIFF and Telluride. He’s directed and shot commercial work for major international brands such as Apple, Google, DJI and Nike.
Before Renan was a filmmaker, he spent his days doing landscape painting while climbing. Renan spent years living in a tent beneath the desert walls of Utah and the snowy Himalayan mountains, carrying large swaths of raw cotton canvas on his back to the places he cut his teeth as a professional climber. He uses mixed media, found materials, oil pastels, watercolors, acrylics, ink pens and even natural pigments pulled straight from the earth to capture these wildly beautiful landscapes. All of his paintings were created on expedition, right in the dirt beneath towering mountains, securing the canvases and stitched papers to the ground with heavy stones. These paintings are impressionistic, vividly colorful, and acutely contoured with details that mirror the jagged ridges and dramatic skis that Renan experienced while pushing the bleeding edge of alpinism and art.
His canvases are worn, folded, and wrinkled with the dirt of the mountains. Each of these large canvases and papers he carried on his back rolled up into his pack, sometimes for over 100 miles, to the base of his climbs. The cracked paint, dried from the sweeping alpine winds, is an imprint of the weathering forces of nature that Renan endured on these expeditions. The paintings are a literal embodiment of the adventure itself.