Director: Paweł Wysoczański, Production: TVP, Country: Poland, Language: Polish, 80′, 2014, Rights: US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, Scandinavia. 

On October 24, 1989 Jerzy Kukuczka fell to his death while climbing Lhotse. It was the first time he went to the Himalayas with money, proper equipment, and international fame. The mysterious death of the climber is not the focus of Pawel Wysoczanski’s film though. Literally and metaphorically Jurek shows a man getting to the top. Kukuczka was a socialist worker, a poor climber with homemade equipment who rose to compete with Reinhold Messner in a rivalry to climb the highest Himalayan peaks. The film contains interviews with family and friends, archival recordings and TV shows, all of which make up for a portrait of the Polish climbing community in the 1980s. It also depicts the difficult, yet, stimulating environment in Poland during the golden age of Polish climbing, when idealism was valued more than fame.

“A fascinating portrait of hardcore Polish climbers in the Communist era, enduring extreme conditions and funding expeditions through smuggling! Yet it’s also a demonstration of the dilemma of adventure: how courage turns into machismo and selfishness.”

Paul Hodgson Sheffield Adventure Film Festival

2015 – International Mountain and Adventure Film Festival “Hory a Mesto”, Bratislava – V4 Award
2015 – Internationales BergFilm Festival, Tegernsee – Special Jury Distinction
2015 – International Mountain Film Festival, Autrans – The Jury of the Mountain Guides Association Award
2015 – Mountain Film Festival, Poprad – Grand Prix
2015 – Bansko Mountain Film Festival – The Award for the Film about Mountains, Adventure and Exploration
2015 – Mendi Film Festival, Bilbao – Best Mountain Film Award
2015 – International Mountain Film Festival, Kathmandu – 2nd Place
2015 – Copenhagen Danish Adventure Film Festival – Special Jury Award
2016 – Domzale International Mountain Film Festival – Town of Domzale Main Award
2016 – International Mountain Film Festival “Ushuaia SHH” – Distinction for a feature film
2016 – Ulju Mountain Film Festival, Ulsan – Grand Prix
2016 – Mountain Film Festival – Silver Edelweiss for the Best Mountain Film, Silver Edelweiss for the Best Script
2016 – Echo Mountain Film Festival, Skopje – Grand Prix
2016 – Kendal Mountain Festival – The Best Movie for Climbing Mountain
2016 – Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival – Best Film Award
2017 – Sheffield Adventure Film Festival – II Award