Portraying the determination, sweat and often personal sacrifice that comes with climbing and mountaineering is a challenging subject. Yet two Montane sponsored films ‘Psycho Vertical’ and ‘Magnetic Mountains’ have done just that, gaining international plaudits at Banff Mountain Film Festival and Graz Mountain Film Festival respectively.

‘Psycho Vertical’ displays its international credentials

At the start of November, Montane athlete Andy Kirkpatrick raised the curtain on his documentary film Psycho Vertical. Playing at a sold-out world premiere at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada, Psycho Vertical wowed audience members by its sheer honesty and ‘warts and all’ approach. Exploring the themes of identity, fatherhood and how our pasts shape us, and based on Andy’s best-selling autobiography of the same name, it offers a raw, compelling take on the oft conflicting and complex desires of Andy’s mind and personality as a world-class climber and alpinist.

Psycho Vertical was awarded ‘Best Climbing Film’ by Banff:

“There were lots of great climbing films this year, making it was a really tough category to judge. However, all the jury agreed that one film in this category stood out because of the honesty of the protagonist and its refreshing filmmaking style. In this era of social media, our feeds are full of professional athletes ‘living the dream’. This film digs a lot deeper. The filmmaker successfully employs some unorthodox techniques and the filmmaking feels very fresh, at times even bordering on experimental. It is a ‘warts and all’ profile that leaves an audience with a true rendering of a well-known climber and a film which transcends its category.”

– Paul Diffley, jury member

News of Psycho Vertical’s success at Banff was swiftly followed with news of another Montane sponsored film – Magnetic Mountains – walking away from Graz Mountain Film Festival in Austria with the prestigious Grand Prix for this year from a selection of 115 other submissions.

Magnetic Mountains follows everyman Steve Wakeford, who ended up wheelchair bound after falling 70 metres from an Alpine north face in October 2014. Facing a long rehabilitation programme, he began questioning why people are drawn to mountains in the first place, whether playing with risk is an essentially human characteristic and on a more personal level, why he was planning to return to the same route from which he fell. In a quest to regain his identity and sense of direction, Steve decided to document his journey, meeting leading figures in alpine sports as part of his journey of re-discovery.

Graz’s jury explained their choice:

“[Magnetic Mountains] like so many films, begins with extreme mountain climbing, with the definition of an alpine destination and the preparations to achieve it. After a disaster, however, the film takes a 180-degree turn, shifting its goal from documenting a difficult ascent to a journey into the human psyche. The planned ascent and the photo of the summit victory will be a descent into the depths of the human soul. The film not only answers the question of the meaning of this risk, but also answers the question that is sought in most of the submitted films: Why?”

Receiving this news whilst attending Kendal Mountain Festival, Steve posted the following on Facebook:

“We feel incredibly humbled and excited to say that out of 115 films selected, our first film has won GRAND PRIZE in our first film festival.

“Bringing this story full circle we asked Matthieu Dalonneau of the PGHM Chamonix, the Adjutant and now friend who rescued me, to go to Mountain Film Graz in Austria to accept our award.

“[…] Thank you Mountain Graz for recognising the worth of our film and giving us credibility to share its message to more people”.

Most recently, Kendal Mountain Festival screened both Psycho Vertical and Magnetic Mountains to packed out theatres and rapturous receptions. Magnetic Mountains looks set to continue its upwards trajectory, with future screenings at film festivals across the world, including Spain, Poland and Pakistan.

Similarly, Psycho Vertical will make appearances in Poland, Denmark and Spain. From February 2018, Andy Kirkpatrick will also be embarking on a UK lecture tour entitled ‘Psychovertical: A Higher Education’. Coinciding with the film release, Andy will look back at 40 years of his climbing and adventure shenanigans.

Watch the Psycho Vertical trailer:

Psycho Vertical – Trailer from Jen Randall, Light Shed Pictures on Vimeo

Watch the Magnetic Mountains trailer:

Magnetic Mountains from Everyfield Productions on Vimeo.

Find out more about Psycho Vertical here

Read more about ‘Psychovertical: A Higher Education’  here

Find out more about Magnetic Mountains here

Magnetic Mountains can now also be rented or bought. More details here



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