Issue date: 
Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Award-winning filmmaker Leanne Pooley's feature film Beyond The Edge, about Sir Edmund Hillary’s legendary ascent of Mt. Everest, will have its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Pooley’s The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls received the Audience Award at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

Filmed on location in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Himalayas and Mt. Everest itself in 3D, post-production of Beyond The Edge was undertaken in Auckland by Digital Post.  Mixing archival footage with dramatic re-creations of the ascent, the film has been rendered in 3D, allowing the details and difficulties of the 1953 climb to be fully experienced by the cinema audience.  Oscar-winning production designer Grant Major and acclaimed New Zealand cinematographer, Richard Bluck both worked on the film which cast Nelson actor Chad Moffitt as a young Ed Hillary, and Mt. Cook resident Sonam Sherpa as Tenzing Norgay.

Peter Hillary commented, “We are delighted that Beyond The Edge has been accepted for the Toronto International Film Festival, which is a huge acknowledgement of both the quality of the storytelling and the legacy of the first ascent of Mt. Everest.  Ed Hillary was a remarkable character but he was an indelibly New Zealand character too, so this film speaks volumes about the attributes of our national psyche and our competitive and yet congenial personality.  The film is a fine tribute to the spirit of the man and selection for TIFF is a great fillip to the prospects of the film.  We are very proud of this achievement."

Leanne Pooley added, “Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mt. Everest is a wonderful opportunity for a filmmaker, the chance to bring to life one of the great adventure tales of all time.  Sir Ed's story comes with all the elements of an epic journey: personal sacrifice, high stakes, political intrigue, and extreme risk, all set in an extraordinary landscape.  It is important to me that the audience really goes on this journey experiencing with the young Ed what it means to reach beyond what we know to be possible."

The film is produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley, Love Birds) and is written and directed by Leanne Pooley (The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Shackleton’s Captain).  Metcalfe was last in Toronto with Dean Spanley, the first New Zealand film to receive a gala premiere at Toronto.  Both will be in Toronto for the film’s premiere, along with Sir Ed’s son Peter and Tenzing's son Norbu.

The film was financed by the New Zealand Film Commission in association with NZ On Air’s Platinum Fund, TVNZ, Digifilm and Rialto Distribution.  The project is being made with the assistance of the New Zealand government’s Screen Production Incentive Fund (with finance by ANZ).  UK sales agents Altitude Film Sales are handling world sales of the film.

Beyond The Edge will be released in New Zealand on October 24 by Rialto Distribution.  The Toronto International Film Festival will be held from September 5 - 15 2013.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 31 July 2013