A feature film about one of the deadliest days in modern mountaineering history in which 11 climbers, including Limerickman Ger McDonnell, were killed, won Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
The news comes just days after an Irish Film Board-funded short film, Irish Folk Furniture, directed by Tony Donoghue, won the prize for Best Animation at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The Summit – an Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Irish and Worldwide Productions production – was produced and directed by Nick Ryan of Image Now Films.
During the Sundance festival, Sundance Selects chose The Summit for US TV distribution. Sundance Selects is a subsidiary of American media giant AMC, which is about to broadcast The Summit to potentially 40m US homes. AMC is the studio behind the hit TV show The Walking Dead, which is shown on RTÉ 2 in Ireland and IFC previously produced Touching The Void, the 2003 documentary also about mountain climbing.
“This is a great honour for Ben and I would like to thank the jury and the organisers of the Sundance Film Festival for this accolade,” said producer and director Nick Ryan of Image Now Films following the presentation of the award.
The Summit will be screened at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival at The Savoy Cinema on 24 February.
“I would like to thank everyone who helped bring this truly amazing story to the screen,” said executive producer Darrell Kavanagh of Image Now Films. “At the heart of this film is a human tragedy and I would particularly like to pay tribute to Ger McDonnell and the other climbers who lost their lives on K2.”
The Summit includes never-before-seen footage of the climb and interviews with Sherpa Pemba Gyalje, who was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his heroic deeds on K2; Norit team leader Wilco van Rooijen, who survived three days in the death zone; and Marco Confortola, the last man to speak to Ger McDonnell.
Twenty-four climbers from several international expeditions had reached High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on Earth. Within 48 hours later, 11 had been killed or had vanished, making it the worst K2 climbing disaster in history.