Moving film about self-discovery, racism on the mountain and courage | Descendancy

What does it mean to be Black in a sport that is still dominated by white people? Freeski professional Dennis Ranalter has suppressed questions about his identity as a Black Tyrolean for years. In the film Descendance he explores his origins and wants to encourage the next generation to do the same.

Dennis Ranalter is one of the most respected freeride skiers in the world. His playing style and technical ability have earned him a large fan base and the widespread nickname D-RAN.

But aside from his name, which is synonymous with his self-confidence on the steep slopes of Austria, Dennis is still struggling to define his identity. Particularly with the question of his ethnic origins and what it means to be black in a sport that is still dominated by white people.

Video: Descendance – A journey of self-discovery with Dennis Ranalter

Looking for your own identity

Descendance is Dennis' story, a personal journey of self-discovery that analyzes his relationship with his own skin color, those closest to him, and those who share his love of skiing. It is a journey that takes him from his home valley in Austria to Accra, the capital of Ghana, and shows what family unity means.

What does it mean to be Black in a sport that is still dominated by white people? Dennis Ranalter asks himself questions like these in his search for his identity. Image: Legs of Steel | Aaron Jamieson
What does it mean to be Black in a sport that is still dominated by white people? Dennis Ranalter asks himself questions like these in his search for his identity. Image: Legs of Steel | Aaron Jamieson

Racism and its cultural effects

In addition to being self-reflective, Descendance is a film that looks outward, focusing on the role of racism in general, its cultural impact, and the increasingly urgent need for positive change.

Made against a backdrop of intense cultural and political change, Descendance is a film that is not afraid to ask difficult questions and expose a small part of the injustices that Dennis and so many others experience in the mountains.

What positive change is needed given racism in general and its cultural impact? Image: Legs of Steel | Manuel Schneider
What positive change is needed given racism in general and its cultural impact? Image: Legs of Steel | Manuel Schneider

Celebrate differences

Dennis' courage, curiosity and kindness act like a mirror and challenge viewers to reflect on their own experiences, the power they have and the world they want to live in.

For Dennis, it is a world where differences are celebrated. He wants to show his path to young people of all backgrounds and ethnicities so that they can follow him while finding their own path that encourages others to do the same.

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Credits: Cover picture Legs of Steel

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