The short film “Sharing the Secrets” leaves viewers wanting to seek adventure and discover secrets that lie below the surface.

Sharing the Secrets

Directed by Drew Perlmutter @drew_perlmutter

Runtime: 12 minutes, 2015

“Sharing the Secrets” is a film about caves and people who love caving. The film is a mixture of caving footage, cave landscapes, and sit-down interviews with passionate cave conservationists. On the surface, the film is a nice ode to the adventurousness of caving and the scientific necessity of speleology, but it also introduces some larger issues and questions.

The film is titled “Sharing the Secrets” because the cavers interviewed express their desires to pass on the secrets of the caves they’ve explored and engage more people in the exploration of North American caves. Cavers, it turns out, are excellent secret keepers.

“The reason why caves are such a secret is probably because cavers tend to be very close-lipped about where the caves are, and it’s not because we don’t want to share these beautiful places with everybody, it’s that we like to make sure people have the proper training and proper education of how to cave softly,” Nancy Aulenbach, a 2nd generation life-long caver says in the film.

Though they may want to keep things on the “down-low” for legitimate safety and conservation reasons (an inexperienced caver can do a lot of unintentional ecological damage), the cavers in the film are eager to share their experiences and knowledge of caves. Making recreational caving more accessible is a goal because it can broaden the public’s appreciation of an all-too unseen and ignored ecosystem.

Because caves are underground and relatively inaccessible, cave environments are not recognized as being as immediately at-risk as their aboveground counterparts. We often don’t make the connection between ecological destruction in the world above ground and the impacts those destructive choices have on cave habitats below. Cave environments are robust and complex ecological systems, full of beauty and wonder. Watershed pollution from agricultural, residential, and industrial use disrupts the health of cave ecology and threatens the survival of cave-dwelling wildlife.
Part of sharing the secrets of our caves is sounding the alarm about this danger and forging an understanding of our earth’s rarely seen environments. There are significant challenges in protecting things we cannot see, but this is a nonetheless vital mission.