Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Irish Film Institute

2 Dec

This weekend I went to my first mobile seminar at the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. During this event, I had the opportunity to view The Summit which was a documentary film released in theaters in 2012. I have never been a huge fan of the documentary genre but I thoroughly enjoyed this particular movie. It tells the story of the K2 disaster in 2008 in which eleven mountain climbers died on their journey to the summit on K2.

The production of the documentary was partially funded by the the Broadcasting Authority Ireland because the company felt that it had potential to be a great movie and had elements of Irish culture that represented the country well. For instance, one of the heroes of the documentary was Ger O’Donnell. He was a climber born in County Limerick who unfortunately died on K2 while attempting to save two climbers. Although he did not have to, Ger risked his life to help the Korean climbing team descend the mountain. Ger was already descending the mountain himself but went back up the mountain to assist the Korean climbers. Unfortunately, complications in his rescue mission occured when ice began to fall off the mountain. As a result of this, Ger, along with the Korean climbing team, perished.

Ger O’Donnell’s brave efforts were finally recognized after the documentary was released. Prior to The Summit, only Pemba Gyalje, one of the climbers from Nepal, was acknowledged for his courage in saving other mountaineers. Due to the Irish Film Institute’s generous donation and the director’s, Nick Ryan, efforts to bring to light the true occurences of that horrid excursion, Ger O’Donnell’s bravery was at least seen.

After the viewing of The Summit, we were lucky enough to meet Nick Ryan himself, a Dublin native. He told us that the whole process of making the movie took a little over five years as he had to find the surviving climbers and develop the reenactments of the occurrences on K2. The whole idea of the documentary came about after meeting a friend of Ger O’Donnell’s.

Overall, I thought the movie was extremely touching. Although the documentary was not solely about Ger O’Donnell as its main focus was on bringing to light the true events that happened on that excursion as news stories in the past had spread false information about the K2 incident, Ger O’Donnell was still a major component of the movie as it showed that even during life and death situations, Ger was not selfish and risked his life to help others.

-Claire Jiang



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