The Summit to screen in cinemas nationwide

Memorial: Kilcornan's Ger McDonnell summits K2 in 2008 before later being tragically killed on his descent, which is captured in documentary The Summit
THE Summit, the film about the K2 mountain tragedy that claimed the life of Limerick climber Ger McDonnell, is to open in cinemas nationwide on November 22.

THE Summit, the film about the K2 mountain tragedy that claimed the life of Limerick climber Ger McDonnell, is to open in cinemas nationwide on November 22.

The gripping documentary film, which had its local premiere in 69 O’Connell Street recently as part of the Elemental festival, has been picked up by Wildcard Distribution for release in cinemas around Ireland.

A spokesperson for the distributors said it was “95% certain” that the film would open in Limerick cinemas, given that Kilcornan’s Ger McDonnell plays such a leading role in the drama.

Director Nick Ryan said he was “truly excited to be bringing The Summit to the big screen in Ireland”.

“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,” he said.

The film was recently released in the States, where it has had an extremely favourable reaction., winning an award for editing at the Sundance festival.

“It was an honour to receive an award at this year’s Sundance film festival and following our release across the US this weekend, this news is great for all those who worked so hard to bring this film to the screen,” said Nick Ryan of the upcoming Irish release.

The film notably features a stunning 360-degree tracking shot of the treacherous mountain in all its glory, filmed from 7,400 metres. It is an extraordinary shot, capturing the mountain’s glory and fear-inducing majesty and was filmed by Ryan from the very Pakistan helicopter that lifted survivors of the 2008 disaster from the slopes of K2.

The mountain plays like a character in the film, which mixes real, never before seen footage of the climb and interviews with survivors, as well as reconstructed scenes to stunning effect.

Mr Ryan, speaking at the Limerick premiere of the film, said that Ger was the “moral centre” of the film.

“I never knew Ger, but I think it is a testament to who he was, through all of the footage, everything everybody said, he was an incredible personality,” said Ryan. “Without a shadow of doubt he is everything that he is portrayed on screen.”

The film centres on the controversy about Ger’s final moments on the mountain after becoming the first Irishman to summit K2 at his second attempt - a mountain that one in four climbers do not return from after conquering.

The Summit was produced by Image Now and Pat Falvey Productions in association with Passion Pictures, Diamond Docs and Fantastic Films and was funded by Irish Film Board, RTÉ, BAI and BBC.

See here for a trailer for the film.

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