Friday, October 6
Showtime: 7:00 PM
Chautauqua Community HouseSold Out
In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other ascent in the Himalayas.
To undertake Meru, says Jon Krakauer, the bestselling author of “Into Thin Air,” “You can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good rock climber. It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for all time. Meru isn’t Everest. On Everest you can hire Sherpas to take most of the risks. This is a whole different kind of climbing.”
In October 2008, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to tackle Meru. What was meant to be a seven-day trip became a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures, thanks to the setback of a massive storm that showered the mountain with at least 10 feet of snow. Like everyone before them, their journey was not a successful one. But they had reached further than anyone else, beaten back just 100 meters below the elusive summit.
Heartbroken and defeated, Anker, Chin and Ozturk returned to their everyday lives, swearing never to attempt the journey again. But they faced sudden physical and emotional challenges back home, too, challenges only exacerbated by the siren song of Meru, one that Anker perhaps heard the loudest. By September 2011, Anker had convinced his two lifelong friends to undertake the Shark’s Fin once more, under even more extraordinary circumstances than the first time around.
“MERU” is the story of that journey—one of friendship, sacrifice, hope and obsession.
Author, climber and Boulder resident Jon Krakauer will introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.
About the Filmmakers:
Director Jimmy Chin lives a life of art and adventure, combining a career as a photographer, documentary filmmaker and a 14-year veteran of The North Face Athlete Team. In the past decade, Chin has collaborated with, filmed and photographed some of the world’s most progressive athletes and explorers while participating in breakthrough expeditions around the planet. Chin shoots for a wide variety of commercial and editorial clients. His photography has graced the cover of National Geographic and garnered recognition from Photo District News, Communication Arts, the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Lowell Thomas Journalism Awards.
Elizabeth “Chai” Vasarhelyi’s films as a director include “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (Oscilloscope, 2009),” which premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals; “A Normal Life” (Tribeca Film Festival, Best Documentary, 2003); “Touba” (SXSW, Special Jury Prize Best Cinematography, 2013) and “Incorruptible” (2015). Vasarhelyi has participated in the Good Pitch and received grants from the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bertha Britdoc, the William and Mary Greve Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts.
Running time: 90 minutes
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