Staff Report


“By Hand” co-director Kellen Keene, the documentary’s subjects twin brothers Casey and Ryan Higginbotham and the film’s composer, Todd Hannigan, will be attending the third annual NatureTrack Film Festival on Saturday, March 21.

They will be part of the festival’s “Spotlight” event in Stacy Hall at St. Mark’s In-the-Valley, located at 2901 Nojoqui Ave. in Los Olivos.

The evening begins at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, wine from Grimms Bluff Winery and beer from M. Special Brewing Company. A screening of “By Hand” will start at 5:45 p.m. followed by a Q&A with the film’s creators.

“By Hand” tells the story of Casey and Ryan, Pismo Beach natives, as they embark on a 2,200-mile adventure from Alaska to Mexico on 18-foot paddleboards. The brothers carried nothing more than two dry bags of gear each and a camera, with no support boats, no paddles. The journey had never been tried before.

The adventure was the twins’ attempt to escape comfort, reconnect to the natural world and set a new bar for ocean adventure. “By Hand” is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the mentorship found in the natural world, a testament to human potential and an unspoken promise to never quit on your brother.

“I approach every project with an attitude that the story comes first,” Keene said. “All it took to spark my interest was hearing the words come out of their mouths, ‘We’re going to paddle self-contained and unassisted from Alaska to Mexico, all by hand.’ This was an unheard-of commitment.”

The film premiered at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival to great acclaim.

A second show of “By Hand” will be Sunday, March 22, at 2:45 p.m. at the Los Olivos Community Organization Hall at 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave in Los Olivos.

Tickets for the “By Hand” Spotlight evening are $30. Spotlight events are included with the festival’s All-Access Pass. For more film and ticket options, go to