‘The Summit’ Wins at Banff Film Festival



Irish director Nick Ryan’s film The Summit has been awarded the ‘Best Feature Length Film’ prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Canada.  The film will open in Irish cinemas on 22nd November, and will have a special screening at the Cork Film Festival 17th November .


The gripping film chronicles one of the deadliest days in modern mountain history when 11 climbers, including Limerick man Ger McDonnell, lost their lives on the most dangerous mountain on Earth, K2. The film was produced by Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions and written by Mark Monroe, the writer of Oscar winning The Cove.


Speaking about the award, Nick Ryan, director and producer of The Summit said: “It was a great honour to receive this award from the Banff Festival, and we would like to accept it on behalf of all the people who helped to bring this film to the screen, especially those who shared their memories of the traumatic events of 2008.”


He continued, “We are truly excited to be bringing The Summit to the big screen in Ireland on November 22nd, and that audiences will be able to experience the events of the shocking 2008 climb.  This is a compelling story and one that we felt needed to be told, especially with the story of Irishman Ger McDonnell, whose final heroic act is central to the film.  It was an honour to also receive an award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and following our release across the US recently, the news of the award at Banff is great for all those who worked so hard to bring this film to the screen.”


Patrick O’Neill, Wildcard Distribution CEO added: “Nick Ryan’s film has now won multiple international awards, including an award at the Sundance Film Festival.  The Summit is a unique and thrilling cinema experience, and Irish filmmaking at it’s finest.  We can’t wait for Irish audiences to see this film on the big screen where it belongs.”


Coming down after conquering a mountain is considered the hardest and most deadly part of mountain climbing when climbers can often become careless due to exhaustion and elation from the conquest. Twenty-four climbers from several international expeditions set out on this notorious quest to the top of K2 but within a 48 hour period, 11 had been killed or had vanished.


The Summit includes never-before-seen footage of the climb and interviews with Sherpa Pemba Gyalje, who was awarded the 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.


The Summit has just been released in the USA where the film has been receiving rave reviews with the LA Times calling the film “Irresistible”, The New York Times “A pulse-pounding success” and the Hollywood Reporter “A heart throbbing cliffhanger”.


Produced by Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions, in association with Passion Pictures, Diamond Docs and Fantastic Films, funded by The Irish Film Board, RTE, BAI and the BBC.


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