Polish documentary takes top prize at Norwegian film festival

Wall of Shadows, a Polish documentary film, by Eliza Kubarska and Monika Braid, set in the Himalayas, won the documentary film category at the Bergen International Film Festival in Norway, the Polish Film Institute (PISF) announced on Tuesday.

The Polish Film Institute, which co-financed the movie’s production, announced that 'The Wall of Shadows' had its world premiere at the Hot Docs festival, and Polish viewers were able to view it for the first time during the 17th Millennium Docs Against Gravity festival.

The documentary tells the story of a Sherpa family which breaks a taboo and takes part in a Himalayan expedition to Kumbhakarna, one of the most holy of mountains, to earn money for their son's school and to save him from the degrading work of a porter.

Three leading alpinists, the outstanding Polish climber Marcin Tomaszewski and two-time winners of the climbing Oscar (Golden Ice Axe) Dmitry Golovchenko and Sergei Nilov from Russia, took part in the expedition on the eastern face of the mountain which, at 7,400 metres, is one of the most difficult challenges in alpinism today. The struggle to climb to the top of the mountain is equally harsh for both the climbers and Sherpas.

"The climb of the mountaineers turned out to be so ambitious and risky that it was observed by the media from all over the world," wrote the Polish Film Institute.

'Wall of Shadows' is the third film of director Eliza Kubarska and producer Monika Braid and was realised as a Polish-German-Swiss co-production. The cinematographer is the award-winning director, screenwriter and cinematographer Piotr Rosolowski, who was also the co-author of the script.

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