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Nat Geo preps mountain tragedy doc

Torn centres on a climbing tragedy in the Himalayas

National Geographic Documentary Films has partnered with director Max Lowe, producer Chris Murphy and prodco Lightbox on a feature documentary about Lowe’s father.

Torn (working title) will turn the lens on Lowe’s family as the body of his father, celebrated climber Alex Lowe, is uncovered 17 years after his death in an avalanche on Himalayan peak Mount Shishapangma.

On October 5, 1999, Alex Lowe was tragically lost alongside cameraman and fellow climber David Bridges in an avalanche on the slopes of the Tibetan mountain.

Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, miraculously survived. After the tragedy, Anker and Alex’s widow, Jennifer, married and Anker stepped in to help raise Alex’s three sons.

The film will follow the Lowe-Anker family as Alex’s eldest son, Max, captures their emotionally and physically harrowing journey to Tibet’s 26,289ft Shishapangma, where they will finally put Alex to rest.

The film will also feature never-before-released archival footage of the ill-fated 1999 expedition, early footage of Alex and Anker as young climbers, personal home videos and candid interviews with the Lowe-Ankers.

Lightbox was co-founded by Oscar- and Emmy-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) and Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (Black Sheep, LA 92).

Torn is being directed by first-time feature filmmaker Max Lowe, with Murphy as producer. Producing for Lightbox is Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn and the editor is Michael Harte (Three Identical Strangers).

National Geographic Documentary Films was also behind The Cave from Feras Fayyad. The division previously released Oscar-, Bafta- and Emmy-winning climbing film Free Solo.


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