Directed by first-time feature filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer Max Lowe, Torn will turn the lens on the director’s own family as the body of his father, legendary climber Alex Lowe, is uncovered 17 years after his death.
Lowe was killed in an avalanche on the Himalayan peak, Mount Shishapangma alongside cameraman and fellow climber David Bridges in October 1999. Surviving the landslide was Alex’s best friend and renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, who later married Alex’s widow and helped raise Max Lowe and his two younger brothers.
Torn will paint an intimate portrait of the Lowe-Anker family as the filmmaker journeys to Shishapangma in Tibet to put his father to rest. Through a combination of never-before-released archive footage of the ill-fated 1999 expedition, personal home video, interviews and verité, the film will follow Max in his quest to “understand his iconic late father as he explores his relationships between his brothers, mother and adoptive father Conrad in the wake of his father’s death.”
The documentary is produced by Chris Murphy and Lightbox’s Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn.
“This film goes beyond my passion as a filmmaker and chronicles my family’s intensely personal journey toward understanding my father as a man, not a myth,” said Lowe in a statement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with National Geographic to tell my father’s story through the unflinchingly honest perspectives of the people closest to him.”
“Like National Geographic, exploration and storytelling are part of Max’s DNA,” added Carolyn Bernstein, EVP of global scripted content & documentary films for National Geographic. “We are confident his family’s inspiring and emotionally complex story will move audiences around the world.”
“This film documents a painful and emotional journey for the Lowe-Anker family, and we are honored that they have entrusted us to help them bring it to the screen,” noted producers Simon and Jonathan Chinn, co-founders of Lightbox. “Their willingness to share their story with the world for the first time is sure to strike a chord with audiences.”