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PIMFF 2019 Selection

Aaron Durogati: Playing with the Invisible (2018) 

Country: Italy

Duration: 30 minutes

Language: Italian


There is no human being for whom life has not reserved a kick in his teeth, sooner or later. Certain things cannot be dodged. What’s important is to have the ability to put the pieces together and move forward. Every odyssey needs its sea: it is in the luminous solitude of autumn in the Dolomites that Aaron Durogati, a formidable pilot and authentic aesthete of flying, faces his personal journey to learn how to rise and stand. An intimate and powerful story about fragility and human resilience, to rediscover flight as pure gesture and pure self-expression.

Directed by: Matteo Vettorel

Matteo Vettorel, from Feltre, born in 1979, is the CEO and co-founder, together with Damiano Levati, of Storyteller Labs. He has always been active in cultivating his passions, which luckily are part of his work: mountains, discovery and economics,narrating and turning them into emotions. After an interesting work experience at The North Face, he has decided to invest his energy into what he truly loves: discovering honest and powerful stories and recounting them in the best possibleway.

Directed by: Damiano Levati

Native of Ivrea and born in 1977, is the Artistic Director and cofounder together with Matteo Vettorel of Storyteller Labs. An engineer by formation, he loves to apply his scientific outlook to everything he does: analyzing a problem, understanding how to solve it, converting theory into practice. His passion and his job are photography and cinema, intended as aesthetic and narrative tools.

A Grand Journey (2018)

Country: United States

Duration: 15 minutes

Language: English


Born and raised in Jackson, WY, Kira has found a great love for the outdoors. Her lifestyle involves hiking, skiing, biking and pursuing her career as a yoga instructor. Kira was born with a rare birth defect and had her lower leg amputated as a child. Since being able to walk, she has used a prosthetic leg. While some might see this as a major setback, Kira’s fiery passion and athleticism drives her to achieve her goals and amaze those around her with her achievements. Climbing the iconic Grand Teton has been a childhood dream of Kira’s. In short documentary film A Grand Journey, we get an intimate look into Kira’s unique but incredibly relatable journey as she attempts to take on a goal she herself may not believe is possible.

Directed by: Amon Barker 

Amon Barker is the co-founder of Après Visuals, a production studio based in Jackson, Wyoming. He first discovered a passion for image-making at a young age traveling with his father, a lifelong commercial photographer, to unique locations around the world and then helping develop the film back in his studio. Through growing up in Taos, New Mexico, going to school in Colorado and then migrating to Jackson, Wyoming, he has spent much of his life outdoors. 

Beyond Dreams (2019)

Country: Brazil

Duration: 77 minutes

Language: Portuguese/English


The impressive life story of Roman Romancini, one of the most important Brazilian mountaineers, and his attempt to realize his dream: to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain on our planet. Romancini has already faced death a few times on the mountain when he was hit by a car while cycling and his sporting career seemed to end forever. That, however, could not stop him. He also does not want to give in to the cancer and he is now, as a motivation for the healing process, determined to climb Everest.

Directed by: Rafael Duarte

Documentary director, journalist and award-winning photographer, Rafael Duarte is a Master in “Cinema and Audiovisual” by the Université Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne. Author of four books, he directed the documentaries “Beyond Dreams (2019)“, “The Sea Mountain (2018)“, “SOS UERJ (2018)“, “Sons of Sound (2018)“, “Transcarioca Trail (2017)” and “Whiteout (2015)“. He directed and produced a series of short docs for Piauí Magazine under the supervision of prestigious directors João Moreira Salles and Renato Terra and also the first O Globo’s webseries. He is the founder of the expedition team “Miramundos”, columnist of the Extremos portal and collaborates with other media channels such as O Globo, VICE and Go Outside Magazine. In 2009, he was elected one of the best photographers of the Way of Saint James in Spain.​

Blutch (2018)

Country: France

Duration: 51 minutes

Language: French


A four-month odyssey by a paraglider across Tadjikistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, and Arunachal to the border of Myanmar. Four months of adventure, of encounters, of uncertainties, of effort, of flights in the heart of Himalayan landscape.

Directed by: Nicolas Alliot

Nicolas Alliot is a French documentary filmmaker and an adventure sport enthusiast. Blutch is his first feature length documentary.

Changabang and the Mirrors of a Repetition (2019)

Country: France

Duration: 52 minutes

Language: English, French


In spite of its modest altitude (6,864 m), the summit of Changabang, hidden in the Indian Himalaya, has seen few visitors but has already been the scene of far too many dramas. Each ascent of the mountain has been an epic feat, and making an alpine style ascent of the north face is an unprecedented challenge. The three alpinists from the French High Mountain Military Group had only a very short weather window during which they could attempt to conquer this thousand meter vertical wall. Their adventure provides the opportunity to explore questions about what pushes humans to face the dangers and maledictions of a mountain.

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Tauvron

Director in a French high mountain military school, Jean-Pierre Tauvron has made many films for almost 20 years. Instructional videos as well as documentaries on the expeditions of the Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne, 10 extreme mountaineering experts who explore the globe from the summit of Everest to the heart of Antarctica.

Circle of The Sun (2019)

Country: Norway

Duration: 5 minutes

Language: English


The movie Circle of the Sun takes you on an almost surreal journey to Norway. It describes one Circle of the sun. One day of magic.
Steep mountains and the ocean, the sun and the aurora borealis. The Arctic. A place where you truly get lost in nature. Skiing and Surfing in one day. Lena Stoffel and her crew experienced this dreamy place in all its glory. Starting the day with a perfect surf in the cold Arctic Sea and ending it at last lights on top of a mountain. Dreaming with northern lights above their van and doing the reverse the next day. Skiing in the morning and ending the day with an endless sunset into the ocean.

Directed by: Iñigo Grasset

Iñigo is a self-taught surfphotographer/videographer from the Basque Country. For the past 4 years, he has been shooting all around the world, from warm waters in the tropics to freezing cold temperatures in the Arctic, but always with a smile on his face and happy to be connected with nature. “Photography is his way to remember how lucky we are to be in this world”, and this is what he tries to express with each photo and video, the beauty of the world around us.

Directed by: Lena Stoffel

Lena Stoffel is a German professional freeskier and over the past few years, after competing on an international level in Slopestyle skiing for over 5 years, she has been involved in film productions and photoshoots as a skiing athlete and sometimes who also surfs. She has discovered her passion for photography and cinematography by traveling to those stunning places on earth to experience them through her sport.

Dreamland (2019)

Country: Poland

Duration: 86 minutes

Language: Polish


A personal and emotional journey of the director Stanisław Berbeka, who is the son of a famous Polish Himalayaist Maciej Berbeka; an ice warrior of the ’80s, who, in line with Kukuczka, Wielicki and others explored 8000m mountains in the winter. Stanisław revives the memory of his father and tries to get to know his father’s story after his tragic death in 2013.

Directed by: Stanislaw Berbeka

Born in 1985 in Zakopane (POLAND). He is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (Faculty of Graphic Arts, photography). At present, he runs his own design studio YakYak. He collaborates on a regular basis with the Witkacy Theatre in Zakopane, the local City Hall and the Tatra Museum preparing the graphics and photography needed for cultural events. “Dreamland” is his film debut.

Drommeland (2019)

Country: Netherlands

Duration: 73 minutes

Language: Norwegian


The 60-year-old Nils has turned his back on society and has taken his refuge in a small wooden cabin in the mountains of Norway. Despite his attempt to distance himself from the world, Nils brought his cellphone and is confronted with his urge to have contact with others. This documentary describes and observes how Nils is trying to find the balance between being in touch with nature, himself, and his family. This film explores the question of durable contact, and how and with whom you can manage it.

Directed by: Joost van der Wiel

Joost van der Wiel graduated from his study Audiovisual design in 2006 with the Sint Lucas Graduation award. He continued to study Audiovisual design at the Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam. In 2010, he won the Dutch Film Fund Documentary Wildcard, the WDKA Drempel Award and the Maaskant Award. In 2016, he completed The Shepherd, a documentary about a 91-year-old general practitioner.

Fear of the Unknown (2019)

Country:  United Kingdom

Duration: 6 minutes

Language: English


Fear of the Unknown is the first film in a series of short documentaries exploring the subject of mental health. It is the story of tbe filmmaker’s friend who, imprisoned by his depression, could not leave the house. Only on taking his therapy sessions into the outdoors was he able to see the world from a less fearful perspective.The film captures this young man in his sanctuary, the Lake District mountains, as he narrates the viewer through this complicated journey.As we follow his steps, we see him pass hills and streams, woodlands and caves. Each landscape revealing a little more of his story. The hardship of his journey is told against the contrasting beauty of The Lake District.

Directed by: Daniel Brereton

Growing up on the edge of the Lake District, Daniel Brereton has always been drawn to both city and country. He moved to London to study at art college and then proceeded to work predominantly as a music video director, before gravitating towards telling stories through drama and documentary. Daniel has now moved back to the North West of the country, where his work has taken on a blend of city and country, human stories, and isolation.

Home (2019)

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 90 minutes

Language: English


Between 2011 and 2015, UK adventurer Sarah Outen traversed the globe by bike, kayak, and rowing boat, travelling over 20,000 miles by human power alone. Her voyage was followed by thousands, hooked on her infectious humor and love of life. But travelling solo, the trip took its toll and a violent storm on the Pacific took Sarah to the physical and mental brink. Woven out of hundreds of hours of footage, Home intimately and unflinchingly captures Sarah’s journey, telling a story of heart and soul, of struggle and joy and one woman’s trek towards true emotional acceptance.

Directed by: Jen Randall

Jen Randall is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who tells stories focused on landscape and identity. She has been awarded major prizes at international mountain film festivals including Banff, Vancouver, 5Point, and Kendal. She gained a first-class BA Hons degree in Time Based Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and a post graduate diploma with honours in Film Production at Vancouver Film School. Jen often quests into the wilds on adventures inspired by her subjects, from long distance walks to big walls.

Hillary: Ocean to Sky (2019)

Country: New Zealand

Duration: 106 minutes

Language: English


Meet the ‘real’ Ed Hillary on this life-changing journey up India’s holy River Ganges. For the people of India, it was a pilgrimage led by a hero of almost god-like status and millions lined the river to watch him pass in his ‘miraculous’ jet boats. For Ed and his 22-year-old son, Peter, it was a healing journey too, as they came to terms with the recent loss of Ed’s beloved wife, Louise and daughter Belinda. For Ed’s team of friends it was a thrilling ride through the heart of India aboard three of New Zealand’s iconic Hamilton Jet Boats. Then, near the Ganges’ snowy source the unthinkable happened. The first man to climb the world’s highest mountain succumbed to severe altitude sickness. The story of the desperate race by his friends and son to save his life has never been told.Sir Edmund Hillary’s journey from the Ocean to the Sky along the India’s River Ganges was his last major expedition and the only one to be comprehensively filmed.

Directed by Michael Dillon

In 1977, Sir Edmund took the risk of appointing Michael as cinematographer/director on his Ocean to Sky expedition and he remained Hillary’s filmmaker for the rest of his life. Michael went on to carve out a career as one of Australia’s leading adventure documentary cameramen and filmmakers, winning many international film awards and receiving an AM in recognition of his contribution to the film industry and his humanitarian work in the Himalaya. Ocean to Sky is his seventh Hillary film.

Indus Blues (2018)

Country: Pakistan

Duration: 76 minutes

Language: Urdu


In Pakistan, a country riddled with political turmoil, economic challenges, and social identity crisis, musicians and instrument craftsmen find it hard to survive and sustain their art. They also have to deal with the fact that being a music performer is a social taboo. Filmmaker Jawad Sharif not only showcases the unique performances of these rarely seen musical instruments from perhaps their last remaining maestros but also takes the audience on a journey throughout the landscape of Pakistan from the northern Karakoram mountains to the southern coastline.

Directed by: Jawad Sharif

Jawad is an award-winning filmmaker who has come into prominence for exploring social subjects that are often ignored. Known for his signature visual storytelling style, he has also won several awards for his project “K2 & the Invisible Footmen,” which has been screening around the world. With his brainchild Indus Blues, he aims to highlight an art form he personally cares about. An alumnus of the Swedish Institute and Institut Fur Auslandsbeziehunge, Germany, Jawad is also the founder of Bipolar Films.

Loic and the Flolopapys (2019)

Country: Belgium

Duration: 46 minutes

Language: French


Twenty-two-year-old Loic has become a passionate climber after having received his first pair of climbing shoes at age six. Together with Florian, Pablo, and Pierre, they form the inseparable “Flolopapys,” bringing their energy and good vibes to the farthest reaches of the climbing world. Although each is unique, they complement and support each other like a band of brothers. But can Loic use the Flolopapys energy to overcome his haunting fear of heights as he confronts some of the toughest climbs on the planet.

Directed by: Dominique Snyers

A former university professor and founder of various digital start-ups, Dominique also founded the association Cap Expé, a community of adventurers formed to encourage them to live out their boldest dreams and especially to strike out independently.  He has been supporting a number of young people in their discovery of all kinds of wide-open spaces, both horizontal and vertical. More recently, he began directing films about such adventures in yet another extension of his passion for sharing. His first two films, The Nahanni Whisperer and Altaitude, have received several awards and have been screened at numerous international adventure film festivals.

Mangroves: Custodians of the Coast (2019)

Country: Pakistan

Duration: 27 minutes

Language: English


This short documentary beautifully covers the rich biodiversity that is hidden in these mystical forests on the coastal areas of Pakistan. Mangroves: Custodians of the Coast shows the interconnection of various flora and fauna with each other as well as human intrusion.

Directed by: Anam Abbas

Anam Abbas grew up in Pakistan and studied Cinema at the University of Toronto and Documentary Production at Sheridan College, Canada. She is a documentary Director, Cinematographer, and Photographer. She is deeply interested in creating platforms for women’s voices and exploring life at the peripheries and transgressive spaces in Pakistan. She is Producer and Director of feminist webseries based in Pakistan called “Ladies Only.”Her Documentary short “Lucky Irani Circus” about the children who work in Pakistan’s longest running circus group premiered in 2015 in Islamabad in April, and screened at Delhi International Film Festival. Anam is also one of the founding members of the Documentary Association of Pakistan (DAP). 

My Dying Valley (2019)

Country: Pakistan

Duration: 19 minutes

Language: English


Some places are reminiscent of your past memories and moments. Whenever you visit them, you go back in time. In the same manner, one memory of the filmmaker’s childhood always strikes him. Every time the filmmaker goes to his village, he has to pass through a stream, which always raises the question “what has happened to this place, which was once a paradise?”. Based on his personal observations, the filmmaker has witnessed deterioration of my beautiful valley over time. My Dying Valley explores and compares today’s Swat to the one two decades back. It looks upon the drastic future that this area may experience in a few years. It also proposes solutions to deal with this challenge of climate change.

Directed by:  Hamza Ayub

Hamza Ayub is a documentary filmmaker from Malakand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He has graduated in Film & Television Production from National College of Arts. He developed a keen interest in visuals from early childhood. He has worked on various documentary projects on issues like water conservation, forced religion conversions in Sindh and the devastating impacts that our actions have on the environment. Currently, he is pursuing M. Phil in Communication Studies from Punjab University.

Once Upon a Sky (2019)

Country: India

Duration: 72 minutes

Language: English


The film follows the story of an Indian paraglider, Gurpreet Dhindsa, and gazes upon this man’s total commitment to flying and engages with the idea that adventure sports is closest to being most alive and we know that best when we come to injuries. Injuries are variable here, some are fears, most are obstacles and finally, ofcourse, the ones which are external, which reveal as the film unfolds. The challenge is to get better than our circumstances and that brings out the real one in us. Gurpreet has given up things on earth to be in the skies.

Directed by: Barnali Ray Shukla

Barnali Ray Shukla is an Indian filmmaker, writer and poet.  Starting off as a cell-biologist specializing in plant tissue culture and a topper of the Delhi University both at graduate and post graduate level, Barnali soon turned towards filmmaking. Her first feature- film as a writer-director Kucch Luv Jaisaa, was released in May 2011. Her short stories are up and running on OutOfPrint, Dastaan (Pakistan), SunflowerCollective, Indian Rumination and ReadFingers. Her first documentary “Liquid Borders (2015)” travelled to film festivals across North America, Italy, and India. She has just completed a feature length documentary, Once Upon A Sky.

Piano to Zanskar (2018)

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 86 minutes

Language: English


Facing his future in retirement, 65-year old piano tuner from London, Desmond Gentle, decides instead to take on the most challenging and perilous delivery of his four decade career: transporting a 100-year old, 80-kilo Broadwood & Sons piano to a remote Himalayan school, situated in one of the most isolated settlements in the world, 14,000 feet above sea level. If successful, the expedition will be the highest piano delivery in the world; but more importantly, it will become the ultimate gesture of music’s universal power: to inspire strength and bring joy.

Directed by: Michał Sulima

Michał Sulima is a Warsaw-born film director and cinematographer. A University of the Arts London Photography graduate, he quickly took a turn towards film direction and works primarily within branded content field of advertising for clients such as Audi, Canon, Magnum Photos, Juul, and Cartier. Piano to Zanskar is his independent debut, marking an entrance into feature-length and documentary formats.

Rios Patagonicos (2018)

Country: Chile, France

Duration: 22 minutes

Language: English, French


For several years, the association Regard sur L’Aventure has been organising scientific exploration and sportive expeditions. In 2018, the “Rios Patagonicos” expedition took 15 canyoneers to stride the immensity of Chilean Patagonia, in search for rivers and waterfalls. Their goal: explore untouched territories, spot and open over 30 canyons, on a unique territory, where canyoneering discipline is close to non-existent.

For some, Rios Patagonicos is the opportunity to go on an expedition for the first time. For others, more skilled canyoneers, the occasion to share their experience, at times on a difficult terrain. In the heart of Patagonian glacier valleys, all gather around a same desire: share a sportive and humane adventure. A trip which will thrill the expedition members, awake fears in commitment, and group cohesion.

Directed by: Bruno Fromento

Bruno Fromento is a member of the French federation of speleology, associated formative of the CREPS Rhône-Alpes, certificated canoe-kayak and canyoneering guide, organizer of many geographic, scientific and sportive expedition in extreme fields. He is a cameraman for adventure films as well, and the founder of the “Regard sur l’aventure” association.

Directed by: Marie Leclère

Marie Leclère is a TV director and journalist, working for many kinds of programs and channels, and specializing in directing portraits, testimonials, and interviews. Passionate by sports, outdoors, adventure and human stories, from individual challenge to sportive performances, Rios Patagonicos is her first independent documentary.

Spirit (2019)

Country: Australia

Duration: 19 minutes

Language: Hindi/Gharwali


When Saraswati arrives as the first educated daughter-in-law in a Himalayan village, she wonders how she will ever feel at home. But faced with the skepticism of an older generation of women, she grows determined to succeed. As the village’s ten-day Pandav Lila festival approaches, the film offers a window onto the everyday work and spiritual practices that bind people to each other and the land. An intimate story of longing and belonging in India’s sacred mountains, Spirit explores what it takes to make a home in a remote community in the thralls of change.

Directed by: Jane Dyson

Dr Jane Dyson is a human geographer who began working in the village in 2003 and now considers it her second home. Jane has written academic books and articles, and produced radio documentaries and an award-winning film (with Ross) about the village. She teaches at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Directed by: Ross Harrison

Ross Harrison is a filmmaker whose work includes documentaries, campaign films, and other video production. He travels regularly for projects and has worked in Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania, on subjects from rainforest conservation to education inequality, tribal land rights to urban community gardening.

The Home for Broken Toys (2019)

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 24 minutes

Language: English


Every weekend through the winter, a group of middle-aged men, who dub themselves the East German Ladies Swimming Team, plunge into the freezing waters of a pond in central London. The Home for Broken Toys follows the team through one season to explore their motivations for braving the extreme cold each week, a decision which seems alien to the filmmaker. The reasons she discovers are by turns comedic, poignant, and profound.

Directed by: Holly Butcher

Holly Butcher is a London-based documentary filmmaker with a passion for creative human-interest stories and oral histories; she enjoys exploring themes of ageing and cultural identity in her work. In 2019, she completed her first documentary short The Home for Broken Toys as part of her dissertation for her Masters in Ethnographic and Documentary Film at University College London, UK, for which she received a distinction. Her film has since won awards at international festivals, including the People’s Choice award at the 20k+ attended Kendal Mountain Festival.

The Distant Islands (2019)

Country: Switzerland

Duration: 88 minutes

Language: English, French


In extreme places, everything is far away. Never enough.

Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitzbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, is the northernmost inhabited place in Europe, while the southernmost one is La Restinga on the island of El Hierro, the smallest of the seven Canary islands. Two distant islands, on opposite sides, which are the opposite of everything but can be the same thing.

They are the places where apparently nothing happens that requires more personality. This is a journey in search of the essence of Europe seen from its extreme borders. Inside landscapes slipped into the people who live them. There must be a place where what you have been and what you want to be are in dialogue with each other.

Directed by: Alberto Meroni

Alberto Meroni works as director and producer of commercials, documentaries, fiction films, and television shows. Many of his works have received numerous international awards. He collaborates with other award-winning authors such as Villi Hermann, Edo Bertoglio and many others as DoP and editor of their films, documentaries, and reportage.

The Last Mountain (2019)

Country: Poland

Duration: 83 minutes

Language: Polish


In January 2018, the Polish expedition to K2, one of the last eight-thousanders not summited in winter, began. The veterans of Polish Himalayan mountaineering, including Krzysztof Wielicki, Adam Bielecki or Denis Urubko, took part in it. The film is a recording of an ascent in extreme conditions, long days spent in the base camp and discussions and arguments between climbers. It also shows the spectacular rescue operation that saved the life of Élisabeth Revol, who was stranded near the summit of Nanga Parbat together with Tomasz Mackiewicz.

Directed by: Dariusz Załuski

Dariusz Załuski is a Polish mountaineer, climber, guide SKPB Warsaw, cinematographer, screenwriter, and director of many mountain-themed films. A graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology, he has climbed five eight-thousanders, including K2 and Mount Everest. He is a member of the Mountaineering Club in Warsaw. Załuski started filming since the last expedition of Andrzej Zawada in 1997.

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