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Alpine Snowboard adventurer seeks to ride Everest- Tout la Haut

Tout là-haut” by Serge Hazanavicius was the first French feature length movie in twenty years focused on free-riding and was screened at the Trento Film Festival. It is about a young “crazy” snowboarder who dreams about going to Everest and snowboarding down the so-called “Holbein Corridor”. The movie is also a tribute to Marco Sifreddi a young snowboarder who lived in Chamonix and died trying to snowboard down Mt. Everest

After the screening, the director shared his experience in making the film, which is going to be shown in 300+ cinemas, but has yet to come to many cinemas worldwide .

Set mainly in and around Chamonix, hometown of the director, and Monte Bianco, the story moves to Nepal and then the North Face of Everest (though shot on the Indian side, with some scenes in Europe, since the crew couldn’t actually go up to 6000 meters of altitude). One of the reasons Tout là-haut was made now was thanks to the new technologies, especially the small cameras, and the fact that only a limited crew was needed to film the extreme action scenes in the forest and close to the cliff faces. The film had countless hair-raising action scenes that highlighted  mountain backdrops that were stunning and perilous at same time.

Hazanavicious explained that too many movies about mountains were made by people who don’t know mountains and portray too much suffering—whereas people from mountains need to know the rules of narration—to achieve a good balance, where doing stupid things on skis could be entertaining in a movie.

The film involved actors from different countries who were all enthusiastic about the project, but did not actually ski in the film.The lead actor is the very well known French comedian, Kev Adams, who started on stage at 18 and has a good energy on screen and also helped in getting funding for the film. Bernard de la Pierre from Chamonix is also involved in the mountain scenes. The French actress who plays the wife of the older guide is also in the film “Drei Zinnen” which takes place in the Sextner Dolomites

The film takes place in France and Italy in the mountains the director knows. When asked if he has worked in the mountains as an actor, he replied that he has played a doctor twice and that it is not often they make movies like this in France because usually the films talk about women.

The movie took 6 years to make, due to financing requirements, weather and snow conditions. The director was asked if he went to Everest. he said they went to the North Face in order to finish writing the film, but it was impossible to shoot the film there, It was not possible to go to 6300 meters with the whole crew. They found a location in Northern India, Ladakh at around 4500-5000 meters that looked similar to Everest. While no one has yet skied or snowboarded down the mountain, it is just a matter of time before it will be done and then a page will be turned in making the impossible possible as Reinhold Messner famously said.

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by Laurence F. Hopper

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