1091 Pictures has acquired “An Unknown Compelling Force,” a documentary that explores the mystery behind the brutal deaths of nine student hikers in Russia. The film is directed by Liam Le Guillou and will be released on home entertainment platforms on June 15.
“An Unknown Compelling Force” digs deep into the so-called Dyatlov Pass incident, which took place in the Ural Mountains in 1959. After a group of hikers failed to report back, search parties led by their peers and the Soviet Government uncovered their grizzly remains, which were found a mile from their shredded tent. It appeared as though the hikers fled into the freezing temperatures without their winter clothes or boots. Adding to the mystery, many of the bodies had suffered inexplicable injuries, and some even showed traces of radiation. The case was closed by investigators at the time, who declared that the hikers died from “an unknown compelling force.” In the ensuing six decades, all manner of conspiracy theories have sprung up, involving everything from UFOs to a government murder and cover-up. The New Yorker recently explored the strange deaths in an exhaustive article that posited several explanations.
“Having been obsessed with this story for years, I found that most of the information online was either inaccurate or contradictory,” Le Guillou said. “I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a detailed investigation on film, and that’s what set me off to find the truth for myself. I’ll admit I was expecting to find mundane answers pointing to natural events, but the reality is much more shocking.”
1091 Pictures’ slate of releases includes “The Ghost of Peter Sellers,” “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” and “A Kid From Coney Island.” The deal was negotiated by Le Guillou and Danny Grant, senior VP of film and strategic partnerships at 1091 Pictures.
“I’m thrilled to have this one on the release slate,” Grant said. “The Dyatlov Pass incident is one of the top three unsolved mysteries of all time. For over 60 years many theories have been put forth, but they lacked believable evidence. This documentary puts forth by far the most compelling evidence as to what happened on that fateful night. True-crime fans will really enjoy this one.”