Multi-Platform Documentary Film Marks the Launch of Theatrical Production Initiative VOOM HD PICTURES
Cannes, FRANCE – April 19, 2007 – Rainbow Media's VOOM HD Networks, the largest and most diverse suite of HD channels available worldwide and British production company, Altitude Films announced today The Altitude Everest Expedition 2007, a major multi-platform documentary film that follows a team of the world's leading high altitude climbers as they retrace the last steps of British climbing legend George Mallory on Mount Everest.
The feature-length documentary film of their journey will be released theatrically in 2008, under VOOM's new theatrical initiative VOOM HD Pictures before its North American television premiere on VOOM's Rush HD, a channel dedicated to extreme sports in high-definition. Globally, an audience will be able to follow the progress of the expedition on a fully interactive web portal, to be launched later this month. The announcement was made today by VOOM's General Manager Greg Moyer and Altitude Films' CEO Anthony Geffen.
The Altitude Everest Expedition 2007 venture with Altitude Films will roll-out as a three-prong multi-platform project: a theatrical film, the fully interactive web site that offers regular video streaming from the expedition and a made for television documentary. All three will give unique insights into the challenges faced by the team as they fight for survival more than a mile above the death zone. The production–shot entirely in HD–will allow the audience to live vicariously during each step of the expedition in one of the most dangerous and foreboding environments the human body can endure.
"We are delighted to be working with VOOM on this exciting project. Not only is it the most ambitious documentary project ever to be filmed on Everest, it will also provide the ultimate Everest experience through the innovative web portal," said Geffen.
"Bringing this story alive as a theatrical release under the new VOOM HD Pictures banner provides another way to reach audiences beyond the linear networks we provide. We can't think of a more compelling project than The Altitude Everest Expedition. This certainly will be an incredible documentary in of itself but when you couple it with the technology that high definition provides, we are truly maximizing the use of this medium to deliver compelling, original programming," said Moyer.
Three decades before Everest was conquered by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing, Mallory, along with his climbing partner Sandy Irvine, was spotted just a few hundred yards short of the summit before a snowstorm closed in. They were never seen alive again. The 2007 expedition team will investigate Mallory and Irvine's last journey in forensic detail; test the durability of their clothing and equipment in the unforgiving conditions of Everest; and piece together eyewitness accounts – all to reconstruct Mallory and Irvine's final, fateful hours. The expedition, led by explorer and mountaineer Conrad Anker, will include an attempt to climb the Second Step, the treacherous, 90-foot cliff that defied every climber after Mallory for half a century and may have stopped him from reaching the summit in 1924.
Anker, who actually discovered Mallory's body on the mountain in 1999, 75 years after he disappeared, will go in search of the real man behind the Mallory legend and seek to resolve the great mystery Mallory and Irvine left behind: were they the first men to climb to the top of the world's highest mountain? Anker, named as the world's Number One adventurer in 'Outside' magazine, has climbed the world's most technically challenging terrain, including the mountains of the Karakoram Himalayas, the Khumbu Himalayas, Baffin Island, Alaska, Antarctica, and Patagonia. Several times he was the first climber to reach the summit of treacherous peaks that defied dozens of attempts. Ever since he discovered Mallory's body, Conrad has been obsessed by the mystery of his disappearance.
Accompanying Anker to retrace Mallory's steps is British climber Leo Houlding, described by the BBC's Jeremy Clarkson as 'one of the twenty best climbers ever to have lived'. Houlding has set a blazing trail through the climbing world, specializing in speed climbing and base jumping. As well as appearing on the BBC's Top Gear program when he raced Jeremy Clarkson up the face of the Verdon Gorge (while Clarkson drove up), Houlding has free climbed the El Nino route in Yosemite and recently completed the first free ascent of the Casserato pillar on Fitzroy in Patagonia. Anker and Houlding will be joined by Ken Sauls and Jimmy Chin (who recently skied down Everest), two of the world's leading high altitude cameramen and a back-up team that includes technical and medical support. Overseeing the expedition is Russell Brice, who has been leading expeditions to the Himalayas since 1974, and is now widely regarded as one of the most professional leaders of all guided expeditions to the Himalayas.
About VOOM HD Networks
Rainbow's VOOM HD Networks comprise the world's largest suite of high-definition content for distribution through satellite and cable operators. With programming in categories as diverse as sports, movies, fashion, music and art, the VOOM HD Networks are available in the U.S. on Echostar's DISH Network. The 24/7 linear VOOM HD channel is available internationally, is currently distributed in Scandinavia, Estonia and Latvia, and is debuting in Asia with the launch on PCCW's now TV. Similarly, select VOOM HD programming is available worldwide and has been licensed to viewers in more than 50 countries. Building on Rainbow's history of original programming innovation, VOOM HD was developed to meet the growing worldwide demand for quality high-definition programming.
About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC). Rainbow Media is a leading producer of targeted, multi-platform programming for global distribution, creating and managing some of the world's most compelling and dynamic entertainment brands, including AMC, fuse, IFC, WE tv, Rainbow Sports Networks managed FSN Bay Area and FSN New England, LIFESKOOL, SPORTSKOOL, and VOOM HD Networks. The company also manages Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation, its advertising sales division, and Rainbow Network Communications, its full service network programming origination and distribution company.