Self-serving announcement: You can watch COLD, the climbing film that won the GFP at Banff, for free tonight, online. It’s 19-minutes long, raw, dark, rated R, and my first writing for film (though Cory Richards, climber and videographer, and Anson Fogel, director and editor, did the heavy lifting for sure). Our idea was to tell the story, from inside Cory’s brain, of their his, Simone Moro and Denis Urubko’s viciously cold and dangerous first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II, in Pakistan. It was the first winter ascent of any of Pakistan’s 8,000m peaks, and done without supplementary oxygen or high-altitude porters.
I’m told that you can just click and watch anytime between 7–9 p.m. MST (do the math for your time zone), on Outside Magazine’s website. I have no idea how this came to be, I didn’t have anything to do with it, but it seems great. The only place it had showed previously was at film festivals, and this free showing is a one-time deal. Also, starting at 7:30, there’s a live Q&A session with Anson, Cory, Simone and me. I don’t know if it’ll be moderated, or if you can ask questions about margaritas, mullets and pro wrestling, but give it a try. I’d better figure out how to login before I start swilling margs.
Though I’ve made my modest (sounds better than “meager”) living as a writer and editor for the past 10 years or so (hard to believe, given some of the crap I’ve written), I’d never written for film before. I found it fascinating in ways different than writing for the page. Julie Kennedy, wife of Michael and mother of Hayden, deserves full credit. She’s a connector. Without her idea of bringing us together, it wouldn’t have happened – hell, Cory and I, though we’d hung out before, had never had any contact whatsoever with Anson (who’s an absolutely brilliant independent filmmaker – check out the incredible trailer, below, for his work). But she knows all of us, knows Anson’s award-winning work, and saw Cory’s gripping footage – he’s been working his entire adult life to make his photography career happen, and his devotion to capturing footage in even the grimmest situations amazed us. So Julie wanted us to join forces to make the film, and wanted it to premiere (which it did) at her 5 Point Film Festival, in Carbondale. This was one month before the festival. Uhhhh. But if you know Julie, she’s convincing. “My mom could sell sand to the Arabs,” Hayden told me.
It turned out well enough, as Cold has been cleaning up at film festivals, including winning the Grand Fucking Prize at Banff. Like not just for climbing, but the whole festival. Whoa. Couldn’t believe it when I got the text – yes, text; I’d considered heading to Banff for the fest, since I knew it had been selected, and it all sounded fun, but the airfares were pricey and Yosemite sounded funner (that should totally be a word). So, one day in the Valley I learned of the GFP via text message. Slacker, I know.
Here’s the trailer:
Honestly, we didn’t think Cold would go big like this (even in the relative “big” of the outdoor world – I always think of the movie Waiting for Guffman when talking “big” about climbing). Just figured it too dark and raw for most audiences. For one, it’s laced with profanity – the third word of the film is an f-bomb. (“Do ya have to use many cusswords?” “What the fuck are you talking about?”). We truly did not care if the language turned people off, quite simply because we wanted to communicate Cory’s authentic experience, the distilled essence of what was happening inside his head. So if you’re looking for Brittany Spears, this film is not for you.
By the way, a shortened version of Cold ran with the Reel Rock Tour – I haven’t seen that version, but I heard they tamed it down a little (fewer f-bombs) and trimmed it to 12 minutes (impressive work, don’t know how they did it; most folks, myself included, thought it pretty tight at 19 minutes, but we all get married to our own work). Tonight’s showing will be the full-length version, and I presume it won’t be censored or bleeped-out. The good folks at Sender Films have also made a download, including behind-the-scenes extras, available for sale on their website, despite it not being a Sender production — thanks, guys!
Anyway, enough rambling. If you’ve got nothing better to do for 19 minutes this evening, pour yourself a marg and tune in. I hope you like it.
Here’s the trailer for Anson & crew’s work. Amazing: