2007 - Assignments
2007 has probably been the busiest yet with a great variety of film projects both climbing and non-climbing...........
Deep in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest we go in search of snakes, scorpions, spiders, ants.... in fact anything that would give you more than a nasty nip. Venom Hunter is natural history, meets science, meets anthropology, looking at the creatures in their natural environment and the impact they have on the communities that live alongside them. Shot in HD for Indus Productions for Discovery Network.
After spending days and nights wandering through the rainforest and swamps in search of the Wandering Spider, Black Scorpion, the Bushmaster snake and all manner of other creatures, presenter Steve Backshall joins the Satere-Mawe tribe and undertakes their 'Bullet Ant Ritual'. Seen as a rite of passage into manhood and protector from disease it involves the wearing of palm-gloves laced with hundreds of Bullet Ants. The neurotoxins are exceptionally powerful. After the ritual Steve comments, 'If there'd been a machete to hand, I'd have chopped off my arms to escape the pain'. Having worn the gloves the tribe members feel that as hunters they can travel further and faster.
Filmed using a mixture of techniques from wildlife actuality, observational filming and macro - pulling focus down the hairs of a tarantula's leg or filling the frame with one of its fangs.
See Director Stephen Dunleavy's site with more on Venom Hunter http://www.stephendunleavy.com/projects.php
Also see Indus Films on http://www.indusfilms.com/
Expedition Alaska - The Impact Of Climate Change
Working alongside Glaciologists, Permafrost experts and Naturalists this major series for Discovery examines the impact of climate change on Alaska's glacier systems and the subsequent effect on the environment's eco-systems. Our filming took us from the mountains of the Juneau Icefield down the rivers of ice, into the glaciers' plumbing system on an exploration of water worn caves within the ice called moulins and then down to the bed-rock beneath the ice. Journey's end was on the coast and ocean where we filmed Humpback whales and Grizzlys at very close quarters. Shot on HD for Indus Productions for Discovery Network. See http://www.indusfilms.com/
Above left - Naturalist Steve Backshall makes his way up the steep blue ice-walls to exit of one of the moulins
Above right - Keith Partridge prepares to shoot deep inside a moulin.
Below left - Humpbacks Bubblenet Feeding - very close
Below Centre - The Gilkey Glacier
Below Right - Shooting with the jib
Expedition Alaska's support and logistics staff were provided by 'Above and Beyond Alaska' based in Juneau. Click on their logo below to visit their website.
Beckoning Silence - Eiger North Face
Keith was mountain cameraman on the filming of Joe Simpson's 'Beckoning Silence'. The story centres around the tragedy of 1936 that left Toni Kurz hanging from a rope within reach of his rescuers. Joe's own story 'Touching The Void' of course has many resonances but unfortunately, unlike Joe, Tony Kurz and his fellow companions didn't survive. The story has gone down as one of the most compelling and saddest in mountaineering history. Shot on the flanks of the North Face and on key sections of the North Face of the Eiger itself. The 90 minute film aired in the Autumn on Channel 4. Darlow Smithson Productions for Channel 4 on HD Varicam.
2008 - EMMY award for Best International Documentary
2007 - Banff Mountain Film Festival, Special Jury Award
2007 - Kendal Mountain Film Festival, Best Mountaineering Award, & Runner up in People’s Choice Award.
2008 - Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Festival Grand Prize
2008 - Slovakia Mountains & City Festival, Fesitval Grand Prize
2008 - New Zealand Mountain Film Festival, Festival Grand Prize
Above left, The Eiger North Face in good winter weather, now generally considered to be the safest climbing period to avoid the rockfall, rain and verglas that have been so problematic to climbers over the years. In the centre, Joe Simpson talks us through the incredible challenges faced by the 1936 team at the end of the Hinterstoisser Traverse and above right, Roger Schali plays Toni Kurz at the end of his protracted ordeal.
See magazine article ;
Earth - The Power Of The Planet- Ice
This major BBC series examines the natural processes that shape the planet. In the 'Ice' episode Keith shot aerials and in crevasses, on Grade 6 ice (very steep and serious) and in some 'less than ideal' weather on the Southern side of Mont Blanc. HD Varicam for BBC Science.
Lost Land Of The Jaguar - The First Ascent of Upuigma Tepuis in Venezuela for BBC Natural History Unit
The dramatic Tepuis of Venezuela offer a 'Lost World' experience. Swathed in dense jungle with towering rockwalls over 1000 feet high the very nature of exploring these remote mountains will repel all but the most persistent. John Arran, Steve Backshall and Ivan Calderon headed up the climbing team and pushed their way up continuously overhanging and often dubious rock for 4 days. Sleeping platforms, rock-ledges and caves provided the overnight accomodation. Overall John graded the route (Aranas En Las Nubes - Spiders in the Clouds) at a stiff E6 6a/b with an additional J4 (Jungle 4) thrown in for the outrageous moves required to surmount the final overhanging vegetation and moss. Once on the plateau we went in search of flora and fauna. With the thought that the severity of the vertical terrain might mean the discovery of entire new species our findings are currently being examined by specialists. Steve Greenwood, Director and Steve Backshall, Presenter are both hopeful that we also managed to film the Orange Breasted Falcon, last seen in 1999 and often considered to be extinct. HD Varicam and HDV for BBC1.
The centre picture shows Tim Fogg of Rope Access Specialists ascending the first of the fixed lines to access camera positions on the face. Luckily the weather was kind. We watched the afternoon storms race towards us but miraculously they never quite hit. Above and right, Steve and John enjoy the sunrise on day 3 after a cramped night in the portaledges. Below shows the South Face and Steve climbing the difficult ninth pitch. With nothing for the feet the traverse led to a blank section of rock. Committing moves took our climbers up to the overhanging jungle section. In the centre, could this be a new species of Tree Frog ?
Check out John Arran's website click on the link below
Also more news about a film's award success as it prepares for cinema release. See also the 2004 page and the link on the links page;
WINNER - AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY AFI FILM FESTIVAL 2006 (LOS ANGELES)
NOMINEE - BEST DOCUMENTARY BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS 2006
WINNER - AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY PALM SPRINGS FILM FESTIVAL 2007
WINNER - AUDIENCE BEST FILM AWARD BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL
"DECEPTIVELY COMPLEX.A COMPELLING STUDY IN CULTURE CLASH,
WITH SPECTACULAR SCENERY TO BOOT" - Variety
A BRILLIANT FILM, RAVISHINGLY PHOTOGRAPHED"
- Time Out (London)
"A BEAUTIFUL, CROWD-PLEASING DOC"
- The Observer (UK)
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas, Blindsight follows the gripping adventure of six Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the 23,000 foot Lhakpa Ri on the north side of Mount Everest.
A dangerous journey soon becomes a seemingly impossible challenge made all the more
remarkable by the fact that the teenagers are blind.
Believed by many Tibetans to be possessed by demons, the children are shunned by their parents, scorned by their villages and rejected by society. Rescued by Sabriye Tenberken - a blind educator and adventurer who established the first school for the blind in Lhasa, the students invite the famous blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer to visit their school after learning about his conquest of Everest. Erik arrives in Lhasa and inspires Sabriye and her students Kyila, Sonam Bhumtso, Tashi, Gyenshen, Dachung and Tenzin to let him lead them higher than they have ever been before.
The resulting 3-week journey is beyond anything any of them could have predicted.