We need your help! Visit NC asked 12 North Carolina-based filmmakers to create short films documenting “firsts” that left a lasting impression on them. We’re thrilled that North Carolina-based Brightlux Pictures submitted a short five-minute film, “So Far,” featuring MST completers Debra and Jeff Rezeli as they revisit the MST to recollect about their trail adventures. The submitted films are now part of an online film competition.

Director Bryan Rierson picked the couple’s journey for his film because “I remember following Jeff & Debra’s blog when they were on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. I found it inspirational, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to make this short film about their journey. We only had 3 shoot days to tell the story of their nearly 1200 mile adventure across North Carolina- it was quite a hectic schedule that literally took us from the mountains to the coast!” Rierson continues, “I hope this short film can introduce more folks to this amazing trail we have in NC, and help showcase the beauty of our state to people from all around the country.”

Well said! Let’s help Brightlux and Rierson win this contest! It’s easy to do, DAILY, between now and the end of September. The film is currently only in 6th place, and I know the MST community can propel this to the top of the leaderboard!


  1. Go to VisitNC’s Firsts that Last Film Series Competition (bookmark it so you can go back again.) Here’s a shortened direct link too: https://bit.ly/3TjhQh8.
  2. Watch as many of these wonderful films as you like!
  3. We hope you’ll cast your vote for “So Far” about the MST. Click on the button under the film that says “Vote for Film.” It will ask for your email address, just to keep folks from entering 100 times a day.
  4. Vote again tomorrow and every day until September 30th.
  5. Ask your friends to vote. We love this trail and we want everyone to know why!

We asked Debra and Jeff (photographed by Bryan) to reflect on the filmmaking experience. Debra shared that “We thought our 77-day journey on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in 2018 was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But Bryan’s film not only gave us a chance to revisit some of our favorite places on the trail, now we have an everlasting preservation of our adventure. Shooting in 18 locations over three days, it was definitely a much speedier trip from the mountains to the sea!”