US firm picks up film on K2 tragedy


An Irish documentary about the death of 11 climbers on the world’s second highest mountain has been picked up by a major American distribution company.

The Summit was made by adventurer and filmmaker Pat Falvey and Image Now Films.

It concerns one of the worst single accidents in the history of mountaineering when 11 climbers, including Irishman Ger McDonnell, died on K2, widely regarded as one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

The tragedy happened when fixed ropes near the summit of the mountain were swept away by an avalanche on August 1st, 2008. Many of the mountaineers became stranded in the “death zone” above 8,000 metres.

The film is being screened at the Sundance Film Festival and is in contention for the best documentary prize, to be revealed next Saturday.

‘Perfect partners’

Sundance Selects, a subsidiary of IFC, which is owned by American media giant AMC, secured the US distribution rights over the weekend.

AMC is the studio behind the hit TV show The Walking Dead, which is shown on RTÉ 2, and IFC previously produced Touching the Void, a 2003 documentary about mountain climbing.

Image Now Films producer and director Nick Ryan said Sundance Selects were “perfect partners” for the film, which will now get much wider distribution.

The Summit includes unseen 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.