Posts Tagged ‘The Irish at the Sundance Film Festival 2013’

Irish Producer/Director Nick Ryan won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award for a World Cinema Documentary this past weekend in Park City, UT for his thrilling film The Summit.

Flying to an altitude of 23,500 feet (7,162m) on K2, a mountain more challenging and dangerous than Everest, Ryan operated a Cineflex camera system mounted to a Pakistani Army helicopter, filming aerial footage of the shoulder above Camp 4 and the Serac. His film chronicles “the deadliest day in modern mountain climbing history,” and sheds light on the still-unresolved 2008 expedition in which 11 of 25 climbers died. The story focuses on Irish climber Ger McDonnell, originally from Kilcoran, Co. Limerick, who risked his own life to save others.

The Summit will première in Ireland at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on Sunday, 24th February, at 2.30pm at the Savoy.

Praise for Ryan’s film includes:

“This remarkable film puts us in their shoes – literally between the world’s most ferocious rock and the icy hard place of imminent death. As such, The Summit dignifies the actions of the surviving climbers by putting their earth-bound detractors in their precipitous plight. Similarly, the technical contributions merge in ferocious splendor: Howling winds, topped off by Nick Seymour’s edgy musical score, acclimatize our senses to the deep drops and harrowing heights of The Summit.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Remember Sylvester Stallone’s 1993 action film Cliffhanger? Well, it’s nothing like that. The Summit is a hell of a lot more intense, and it’s a way better all around film with an intriguing story.” – Geektyrant.com

“The Summit…, it’s well worth catching on the largest screen you can find. A fascinating insight into the lives and deaths of those driven to conquer the world’s most ‘perfect’ extremes…The Summit is informative and diligent film-making. it’s never less than engrossing.” – Twitchfilm.com 

“The alluring imagery, thorough research, and emotive content does ensure a gripping and distinctly human story. The result is a brutal but fascinating affair. – Thehollywoodnews.com

“The project attracted some of the most talented names in documentary filmmaking. Writer Mark Monroe (of Academy Award-winning The Cove and The Tillman Story,) and Academy Award-winning executive producer John Battesk (Searching for Sugar Man, Restrepo, The Imposter). – Siliconrepublic.com


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Still from the Irish film, The Summit, directed by Nick Ryan.

Still from the Irish film, The Summit, directed by Nick Ryan.

“Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will”, so said Irish poet and novelist James Stephens.

Yesterday I was curious, fearful and brave nearly all in one breadth.

Here’s what happened…Around lunchtime it occurred to me that I was blessed to be in Park City, Utah attending what is, without a doubt, one of the most prestigious film events in the world. Enjoying films, educating myself and attending some parties is absolutely brilliant but I started thinking about what a waste it would be to not use this opportunity to reach out to the Irish community at Sundance. What a bigger waste not to tell you, Dear Readers, about the cinematic work the Irish brought to Sundance.

So, I wrote a blog about the “short” film called Irish Folk Furniture. I linked the story to YouTube so you could see the film and mentioned how director Tony Donoghue had won the Short Film Special Jury Award in Animation.

Next, I set my sight on the other Irish entry, The Summit, which has been nominated for the World Cinema Documentary Award at Sundance. It’s been a good year for the Irish at Sundance!

Figuring out how to see The Summit and meet director Nick Ryan had me stumped. I tried to purchase tickets to the film weeks ago but had been unable. It was completely sold out. I even went to the Sundance Box Office on several occasions and had been told “not a chance”. Seeing the film wasn’t my only desire, however. I wanted to meet Nick Ryan. I wanted to interview him for In an Irish Home. I wanted for you to learn something about Nick and The Summit that wasn’t already printed somewhere else. That was my curiosity.

My fear is that I don’t see myself as a journalist. I see myself as a writer. Even if I could get an interview with Nick Ryan, would he see me as a joke? Would he feel I was wasting his time with my trite questions? Is my blog too small for someone who’s achieving such big success? Doubt filled me with fear.

Then something happened. I decided to let curiosity win over fear. Bravery stepped in too. I decided what I needed was to try and, if necessary, fail. After all, isn’t that what I’m trying to teach my daughters? So I went back up to Park City’s Main Street and marched into the Sundance Box Office once more. While I walked I asked God to “please let me meet a ‘real’ journalist so I could pick his or her brain and learn {quickly} how to be a good interviewer”.

Once again the Box Office told me “no dice”. So, somewhat dejected but also very determined, I did what any Irish writer might do…I headed to the nearest Irish pub. In this case it happened to be Flannigans. I marched up to the bar, ordered myself a Baileys on ice and, quite by accident, sat down next to my friend David Germain, from Associated Press! Wow…God could I also have a million dollars?

David is a dote. He listened as I shared my curiosity and my fear. He encouraged me to keep trying and then he did something utterly wonderful. He picked up his phone and sent a message to Nick Ryan’s publicist asking her for a ticket to the film for me and, better still, asked if Nick had time to meet me.

I was gobsmacked.

The next few hours flew by and before I knew it, I was offered a ticket and a meeting for Friday evening.

As any Irish story goes, this one just gets better. While at a party last night I was talking with photographer Michael Coles. And, after hearing my story, Michael asked if he could come along and photograph Nick for the article.

And so, Dear Readers, I think James Stephens was nearly right…curiosity did conquer my fear but bravery definitely helped. I am terrified to meet Nick but I’m going to do this for me and for you. I’ve got my questions ready and a world class photographer to hold my hand. Wish me luck and say a little prayer for me, won’t you?

I’ll follow up with a post on Saturday and let you how it went.

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