Docs

TIFF ’18: Climbing feature “Free Solo” wins doc award

Climbing documentary Free Solo from married directing team E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin picked up the Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award on Sunday (Sept. 16), marking the end of the 43rd Toronto International ...
September 17, 2018

Climbing documentary Free Solo from married directing team E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin picked up the Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award on Sunday (Sept. 16), marking the end of the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival.

Free Solo, which held its international premiere at TIFF on Sept. 9, follows world renowned climber Alex Honnold (pictured), as he ascends the 3,000-foot face of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite Park. Honnold takes on the climb free solo (without safety ropes or a climbing partner) and is the first climber ever to do so.

Free Solo is the second collaboration between Vasarhelyi and Chin after 2015′s Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winning climbing doc Meru.

The film was produced by Itinerant Media and Parkes/MacDonald Productions for National Geographic. Vasarhelyi and Chin served as producers for Itinerant. Evan Hayes, Walter ParkesLaurie MacDonald and Shannon Dill produced for Parkes/MacDonald. Matt Renner served as executive producers for Nat Geo.

First runner-up for the doc award was Tom Donahue’s This Changes Everything, with John Chester’s The Biggest Little Farm snagging the second runner-up spot.

The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award winner is determined by TIFF audiences each year and is announced at the close of the festival. Previous winners include Agnès Varda’s Faces PlacesRaoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, Evgeny Afineevsky’s Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, and Jehane Noujaim’s The Square.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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