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Frontiers
Mt. Everest: A Visual Journey to the Top

July/August 1998

Following two Academy Award nominations in 1997, NSF has again provided major funding for a new IMAX format film. This time, the film tells a terrifying and gripping story of climbing to the top of Mt. Everest.

Veteran documentarian and four-time Everest summiter David Breashears co-directed the film with producer Greg MacGillivray. Breashears and a crew that included 11 climbers, 16 Sherpas and some 60 yaks scaled the great mountain with a 42-pound camera in tow. The 65mm large-format film did not allow for mistakes. As Breashears explains, "A single hair or thread caught in the lens looks like a giant cobra up on an 80-foot screen." Having a plan, he says, was critical: "It's a really big deal to ask someone to take 30 steps back at 27,600 feet."

The trip overlapped with the tragic deaths of seven Everest climbers in the infamous May 1996 storm. The filming of "Everest" came to a temporary stop as Breashears offered up oxygen canisters and batteries for the rescue effort.

"Everest" takes viewers through the ascent from the climber's unique perspective. Hailed as "visually glorious and absorbing" by the New York Times, the film has broken records for a giant-screen picture.


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