20th Dec2015

Sherpa (Film)

by timbaros

image006A very moving story about the men who risk their lives to help others reach the top of Mount Everest is told in the excellent documentary ‘Sherpa.’

Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal’s mountainous region, high in the Himalayas. It’s also a surname in a culture that mostly doesn’t assign surnames to it’s people. Sherpas are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local areas, and because they live in very high altitudes, they get hired to serve as guides for expeditions in and around the Himalayan mountains, especially expeditions up Mount Everest. Sherpas are tasked with carrying all the necessary expedition equipment up (and down) the mountains. And as for expeditions up Mount Everest, Sherpa’s go up and down the mountain about 30 times. They also have to go through the Khumba Icefall, a dangerous and constantly moving block of ice that is the first hurdle in climbing the mountain. The term Sherpa made it into the cultural lexicon in 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in a year that was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Norgay was referred to then as a Sherpa, and he was awarded the George Cross, while Hillary was Knighted. Norgay gave the name Sherpa a currency which is synonymous with climbing.

In ‘Sherpa,’ filmed in 2014, Director Jennifer Peedom set out to make a documentary from the Sherpas point of view, she wanted to observe up-close, how, and why the relationship between foreign climbers and Sherpas have shifted and soured since the euphoria of 1953, especially after 2013’s ugly brawl when a climber made a derogatory remark to a Sherpa at 21,000 feet, causing a fight between the climbers and the Sherpas. What the filmmakers got instead was to capture the worst tragedy in the history of Everest, and the subsequent days that would change the mountain forever.

The filmmakers embedded themselves with a commercial expedition run by New Zealander Russell Brice’s company Himalayan Experience. Brice had four returning clients after they had failed to reach the summit in 2012, so the pressure was on to get them to the top. There was also a team of 25 Sherpas, managed by Phurba Tashi Sherpa, who Peedom was able to interview before the climb. We see him as he prepares to make history by being the first person to summit Mount Everest 22 times; his wife and mother are also seen voicing their concern about him climbing the mountain they refer to as Chomolungma.

But at 6:45 a.m. on April 18th, 2014, a 14 million kg block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. This disaster changes the Sherpas lives, shatters the dreams of the climbers, puts into question future expeditions, and changes the focus of Peedom’s documentary. It was the worst tragedy on Everest. Peedom captures the Sherpas united in grief and anger while everyone rushes to implement a rescue plan. But it turns into a Sherpas versus Westerners showdown as the Westerners want to control the rescue and recovery while the Sherpas want to included in retrieving their own. Peedom captures the tension and the drama, all at Base Camp, at 17,598 feet.

‘Sherpa,’ beautifully directed by Peedom, who directed 2006’s Everest: Beyond the Limit, was ready to tell the story of the relationship between the Sherpas and the foreigners on Everest. After the avalanche she tried to make sense of it all, and captured on film the unfolding situation, and the Nepalese Government’s slow reaction to the tragedy. Peedom follows the story as it unfolds as she and the rest of the crew inadvertently witnessed and documented a historic event. She also beautifully interweaves the back stories of those who risk their lives for the sake of others – the Sherpas. Her crew capture the beauty and the landscape of the region, while at the same time capture moments of disaster and anger and sadness, it’s a compelling and must see documentary. The Best documentary of the year.

On April 25, 2015, there was a massive earthquake in the Nepal region that killed over 9,000 people. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal in 80 years. It triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 19 people, and aftershocks took place, which further put into question the future of climbing Mount Everest ever again.

Sherpa won the Best Documentary Awards at the London Film Festival. It’s now out in cinemas.

06th Oct2015

The 59th BFI London Film Festival

by timbaros

image001The program for the 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® is another stellar lineup of must-see movies starring the world’s hottest stars.

It’s a rich and diverse lineup that includes a total of 238 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films. Taking place from Wednesday 7 October 2015 to Sunday 18 October 2015 at various venues across London, also included are talks and seminars and special presentations.

The festival opens with the premiere of the eagerly anticipated Suffragette. An all-star cast brings to life the early UK feminist movement as they fought for their right to vote. Carey Mulligan (who is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination for this role) stars alongside Meryl Streep, Helen Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff. Screenplay by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame).


Among the many other films to be shown include:


Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter in 1940’s Hollywood who gets blacklisted after he is confirmed to be a Communist. Diane Lane plays his wife while Helen Mirren plays gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

Bang Gang
One of the most controversial films of the festival about a group of French high school students who start a private orgy society.

High Rise
Adapted from J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name, High Rise stars Tom Hiddleston in a film set in a luxurious high rise tower block that begins to decay almost as soon as it is built.

He Named Me Malala
A documentary about the 18-year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ education in Pakistan.

The Program
Director Stephen Frears brings us the story of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong (played by Ben Foster) in a documentary-style telling of Armstrong’s triumphant Tour de France years to his mighty downfall after his confession of taking drugs to enhance his performance.

A tale of two transsexual hookers on Santa Monica Boulevard and the friendship they have amidst their dangerous profession.

Live from New York
A funny documentary about the long-running American television institution Saturday Night Live, from it’s beginnings in 1975 through it’s many cast members (some of whom went on to have highly successful movie and television careers).

Black Mass
An unrecognizable Johnny Depp stars in this true story about one of the Boston’s most violent criminals (Jimmy Bulger) who became an FBI informant. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother Billy and Joel Edgerton as the FBI agent who persuades Jimmy to turn against the mafia.


The Lobster
This film could win the award for the most far-fetched plot: In the future, single people have to find a partner within 45 days or are then transformed into animals and released into the woods. This one stars Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. With their very good lucks there is no doubt they will find a match, within one day no doubt.

The Lady in a Van
Dame Maggie Smith stars as a homeless woman who lives in a van parked outside playwright Alan’s Bennett’s home in the 1960’s. Believe it or not it’s based on a true story that actually took place in the 1960’s, where she ended up staying for 12 years.

Carol tells the simple story of a 1950’s department store clerk who falls for another woman. This one stars the can’t miss Cate Blanchett, and is directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven). With Rooney Mara.

Cate Blanchett (again) stars at CBS news producer Mary Mapes, with Robert Redford as anchorman Dan Rather, and their involvement in a story that questioned then President George W. Bush’s receiving preferential treatment to help avoid the Vietnam draft.

Documentary about the deteriorating relationship between Sherpas (local people who help expeditions guide their clients up Mt. Everest) and western tourists, arriving just a few days before last year’s deadly avalanche that killed 16 sherpa. Timely as well in that sherpas were all but ignored in the recent film ‘Everest.’

Brie Larson stars as a woman who has been trapped in a garden shed for seven years after being kidnapped and raped. She then attempts to escape with her five-year old son.

The film festival closes on one of the most eargerly-awaited films of the year – a film called Steve Jobs
Michael Fassbender plays the late Steve Jobs, the man who made Apple a household name. Kate Winslet co-stars as his assistant Joanna Hoffman and Seth Rogen plays apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

There are nine program strands each headlined with a gala, , they are: the Love Gala, the Debate Gala, the Dare Gala, the Laugh Gala, the Thrill Gala, the Cult Gala, the Journey Gala, the Sonic Gala, and the Family Gala.

There will also be talks with filmmaker Todd Haynes (Carol), casting director Laura Rosenthal, actress Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), and filmmakers Jia Zhangke and Walter Salles (A Guy from Fenyang).

There will also be prizes handed out in the following categories:
-The Official Competition: recognizing inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking.
-First Feature Competition: recognizing an original and imaginative directorial debut
-Documentary Competition
-Short Film Award

Tickets have already gone on sale, so if you want to see any of the above-mentioned films or to peruse the other events taking place at the festival, please go here: