Country: United Kingdom
Director: Lucy Walker
Topic: Blind mountaineer Eric Weihenmayer leads an expedition of six blind Tibetan teenagers to a peak close to Mt. Everest, accompanied by a mountaineering team and the teens’ blind teacher.
Financing: Private financing obtained through a London-based production company
Shooting format: HD Panasonic VeriCam.
Why it stands out: In addition to capturing stunning footage of China’s Himalayas and remote Tibet, Walker (“Devil’s Playground”) introduces two dynamic personalities — Weihenmayer (the only blind person to summit Everest) and Sabriye Tenberken, founder of a Tibetan school for the blind.
Even more remarkable than the film crew’s work in exceptionally adverse high-altitude conditions is the resilience of the impoverished Tibetan teens, who are ostracized amid superstition at home regarding their blindness.
Memorable scene: Tenberken’s imaginative and compelling voiceover describes the tactile sensations encountered by her and the teens as they explore a mountainous ice palace, which becomes the expedition’s true blind summit.
Distribution status: TBD.
On the making of the film: “There’s so much suffering and prejudice in the world in need of dissolving; their plight reminds me of the value of the work of Eric and Sabriye in changing people’s attitudes,” Walker notes.