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VENICE 2015 Industry

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A high-altitude shoot for Everest


- VENICE 2015: The opening film of the Venice Film Festival was shot in Alto Adige with the support of the BLS Film Fund & Commission

A high-altitude shoot for Everest
Everest by Baltasar Kormákur

The opening film of the Venice Film FestivalEverest [+see also:
film review
making of
film profile
by Baltasar Kormákur, produced by Working Title Films and Cross Creek Pictures, was shot on the Schnalstal Glacier in the Alto Adige region and received €700,000 in production support from the BLS Film Fund & Commission

The BLS generously supported the film crew in Alto Adige during the shoot, which took place predominantly on the glacier, at an altitude of more than 3,000 metres. The location was chosen in order to film various scenes set on Mount Everest.

The team carrying out this work in Alto Adige comprised around 180 individuals from all over the world: Americans, Britons, Australians, Germans, Italians, Icelanders... Around 60 people from the Alto Adige region itself also formed part of this international team, and they were involved in every single one of the technical departments.

While high-mountain locations undoubtedly offer breath-taking images and atmospheres, filming at high altitude requires the cast and crew to be perfectly equipped, because at those kinds of heights, everything gets considerably more complicated, especially in winter. For this reason, on the set of Everest, it was essential to secure the involvement of mountain experts from the region, who have a perfect grasp of how to manage the extreme conditions on the snow-capped peaks. Various mountain guides, for example, assured the crew’s safety on set, a requirement that really becomes crucial at high altitudes in the mountains, because in poor weather conditions, the locations can become hard to access by rescue teams. 

Working at these altitudes clearly represented a huge challenge for all involved, including the cast. Temperatures often fell to -30°C, and with these exceedingly cold conditions, which Hollywood stars are not accustomed to working in, it was essential to be well-equipped, either with suitable hi-tech clothing or with catering, which was vital in order to warm the cast and crew up during the breaks.

The catering services of Alto Adige inhabitant Paul Grüner supplied up to 400 meals per day at an altitude of 3,200 metres; the food was cooked further down the mountain or at relief posts near the set, and then transported there with a snowcat. The decision was made to provide food that would be able to stay hot for as long as possible without being overcooked.

(Translated from Italian)

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