Films

Free Solo

From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi (“MERU”) and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, comes National Geographic Documentary Film’s FREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock ... the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park ... without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge, Honnold enters his story in the annals of human achievement. FREE SOLO is both an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who exceeded our current understanding of human physical and mental potential. The result is a triumph of the human spirit.

Meru

In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other ascent in the Himalayas. Three friends - Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk - attempt to climb the unclimbable. MERU is the story of that journey—one of friendship, sacrifice, hope and obsession.

Incorruptible

In a country where 70% of the population is under 30 – like much of the global South – the Y’en a Marre (Enough is Enough) movement caught fire. After 12 years of corruption and nepotism, of high food and gasoline prices, of constant power outages, and schools shuttered because of striking teachers, the constitutional crisis had become the last straw for the people of Senegal. 14 candidates ran for President. The film follows the main players: incumbent President Wade, opposition candidate Macky Sall, music superstar Youssou Ndour, and the Y’en a Marre movement. As the election drew closer, Wade felt threatened. Candidates were disqualified, demonstrations escalated, a student leader was killed, and Wade even resorted to courting prominent religious leaders in a dangerous ploy to destroy what had always been a secular process in a Muslim country. Engaged with other youth movements around the world, Y’en a Marre learned hard lessons from the Arab Spring, and responded to the situation in Senegal by calling for the restoration of accountable representative democracy. Senegal’s rich cultural tradition fed a movement - led by these artist activists to register over 300,000 new voters, and rally people to the polls. More people voted in this election than ever before in the history of an independent Senegal. Macky Sall, the candidate who ran on a platform of reform and anti-corruption, won. Y’en a Marre now wrestles with how to hold the newly elected President to his campaign promises. The film explores this transition and the question: after you unite against something, what do you then unite for? In a time where democracy is under siege in many parts of the world, Incorruptible offers a positive, hopeful example while at the same time honestly examining the sustainability of a peoples’ movement, and the role that youth are taking in shaping the future of their own country.

Touba

With unprecedented access, Touba reveals a different face of Islam, one which is so essential to these divisive times. The film chronicles the annual Grand Magaal pilgrimage of one million Sufi Muslims to the holy Senegalese city of Touba. One of the rare films still shot on celluloid film, its breath-takingly vivid cinematography by Scott Duncan and integrated soundtrack elevates it to the level of a humanist film poem. This dynamic and immersive observational film takes us inside the Mouride Brotherhood–one of West Africa’s most elusive organizations and one of the world’s largest Sufi communities. The pilgrims travel from all over the world to pay homage to the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba. His non-violent resistance to the French colonial persecution of Muslims in the late 19th century inspired a national movement and doctrine. Until this day, freedom of religious expression through pacifism is still practiced by millions of his followers. In light of what’s been happening recently in Mali and the region, these are lessons the world can learn.

Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love

I Bring What I Love follows Senegalese icon Youssou N’Dour as he releases his Grammy-winning album Egypt in an effort to present his Islamic faith as a peaceable and tolerant religion. While the album receives international acclaim, it is denounced as blasphemy in his native Senegal. Following N’Dour over two years in Africa, Europe, and America, the film tells the story of how he faces these challenges and eventually wins over audiences both at home and abroad.

A Normal Life

Through their stories of trauma and recovery, despair and renewed hope, we witness young Kosovars’ remarkable transformation from children of conflict into the young leaders of a fledgling state. Awards: Winner, Best Documentary Award, Tribeca Film Festival, 2003 Official Selection, Woodstock Film Festival, 2003 Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal, 2003 Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, 2003 Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, New York City, 2003