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David Breashears Interviewed by Here and Now:

By cmiadmin | Sep 24, 2015 | Comments Off

Behind The Devastating Drama Of The New Movie Everest

Dr Beck Weathers (C), who survived a Mount Everest expedition, Mount Everest guide Ang Phula Sherpa (L), and US mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears (R) attend the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Everest,"  September 9, 2015 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

The feature film “Everest” is already out in IMAX and select theaters, but opens across the country on regular screens Friday. And beware, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, it tells what happened in 1996 when eight climbers died on the world’s highest peak.

David Breashears was on the mountain at the time, working on another movie. He helped in the rescue efforts, and years later he became co-producer of this new film on the tragedy. He joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss the film.

Interview Highlights

On the emotion of watching the finished movie
“Watching the film sometimes is actually quite emotional, I’d known Scott Fisher and climbed with him since I was 18 years old, and he dies on the mountain. I’d known Rob for a decade, and to recall the conversations, and the memories of the storm… Our team was below the storm but just to hear the fearsome veracity of the wind and to know they were caught in a blizzard and it was -40 degrees and 80 miles an hour winds. The film takes me back to when we were worrying about 18 people who hadn’t returned to the high camp.”

On what on-screen is real footage and what is computer generated
“First of all what’s very real is the acting, and the way they honor the essence of their characters. The other thing that’s real, most of the time, is the mountain. In 2004 I led an expedition to the summit, we filmed from base camp to the summit with a big team, and it wasn’t until 11 years later that we were able to use that footage in the film. As you move up the mountain there’s a mix of footage we shot, film footage in 2004; there’s a mix of what we call plates, high-resolution background images; and there’s a mix of some computer generated images.”

“The thing we’re still thinking about, every time I see that film … we ask ourselves the question, ‘Rob, what are you doing here, with your skill level as a mountaineer … how did he allow himself and Doug to reach the summit so late?”

On the uncertainties of Everest expeditions
“The crapshoot is more in the unpredictability and idiosyncrasies of human behavior. A lot of people got down from the mountain that night, and a lot more would have if they had considerably more experience. The thing we’re still thinking about, every time I see that film – and I watched it sitting next to Rob Hall’s 19-year-old daughter, whose wife was seven months pregnant when he died, then we find his body 10 days later – we ask ourselves the question ‘Rob, what are you doing here, you know, with your skill level as a mountaineer and skill level as a guide?’ This good-natured fellow, who cared for people on the expedition and cared for his friends, how did he allow himself and Doug to reach the summit so late?”


Veteran mountaineer turned filmmaker David Breashears and Director Baltasar Kormakur explore the challenges of Everest

By cmiadmin | Sep 21, 2015 | Comments Off


This week, the star-studded Everest is released in Cineworld cinemas across the UK. We talk to David Breashears, the 136th person to reach the summit of Everest, and director Baltasar Kormákur about bringing this true-life tale to the big screen. 


“It is always fascinating to have a true story to work with,” is the opening gambit from director Baltasar Kormákur on his latest feature, Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke and Keira Knightley.

This dramatic true-life survival tale follows the doomed 1996 expedition led by veteran mountaineer Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), who ran a commercial company that took climbers up the perilous journey to the summit of Mount Everest, only to be hit by a sudden snow storm.

Aiming to stick to the facts and honour those who lost their lives on the mountain, Kormákur wanted to make an “authentic film”. He said, “I wanted to make [the characters] real, to let them play out their mistakes, while letting audiences judge the action and events for themselves.”

To craft the story, Kormákur drew on the years of experience of climber David Breashears, who was the 136th person to reach the summit of Everest, and who was on the mountain in 1996.   One of the key elements of Everest is how it pulls the audience into the mind-set of the men and women who climbed the mountain. Breashears recalls how he came on board the project: “The film’s producer, Tim Bevan at Working Title, got in contact with me at the development stage. They wanted to know what the mountain experience was all about from beginning to end. They wanted to know every detail, from buying your equipment back home, to what you talk about at night up on the mountain.” Breashears knew many of the people who are featured in the film, including Scott Fisher (played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the film), with whom he first climbed when he was 18, and Rob Hall who he saw at Basecamp in 1996.

As well as having Breashears’ valuable advice, Kormákur also had access to a recording of a phone call that Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) made to his wife, Jan (Kiera Knightley) that hadn’t been heard for 18 years when he was 18000ft up the mountain. All this research and archive material was used by Kormákur to “humanise” the characters, a point that the direct felt incredibly strongly about, explaining that the last thing that he wanted to do was “make a film that was an obituary, I wanted to make a real human drama.” This was also true of his selection of cast, where he wanted to find actors that “completely capture the essence of the characters that they are playing.”


This sentiment was echoed by Breashears, who felt that, “Tim Bevan and Kormákur set the tone of this movie from the start, stating that they were always going to make this film as authentic as possible and rely on the strength of the story, knowing that it didn’t need embellishment.

Crafting a visually epic film like Everest brought with it many challenges, including having to film on the foothills of the Nepal at 16000ft. Kormákur recalls the shoot: “There were challenges, but I like a challenge. What I learned was that after a while of having to deal with altitude sickness and working in freezing conditions, accompanied by avalanche warnings every day, was that we became like those climbers on the mountain. The entire crew were in it together at the mercy of nature. Every day, we would step out of the door and ask, “What is the mountain going to do to us today?”  Ultimately, Kormákur realised that the situation was like banging your head against a wall, “You aren’t going to break the wall; you are going to break your head. So in that sense you can get frustrated you can be ready to shift your plans.”

When asked if Breashears had any hopes for what audiences would take away from Everest, he stated, “I hope that Everest will show people what climbing the mountain is. For me, climbing the mountain isn’t about standing on the summit; it about friendships, relationships, human frailty and human aspirations. This film shows the good in people – we all set out on quests, and we are by our very natures dreamers, and sometimes our dreams can get us into situations that are way over our heads, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop.”

Everest is released in Cineworld Cinemas and available in IMAX and 3D across the UK on 18th September 2015.

What Does it Take to Succeed? | Robyn Benincasa

By cmiadmin | Sep 03, 2015 | Comments Off

What Does it Take to Succeed? | Adversity Management

By Robyn Benincasa


Four training steps to succeed in adversity management personally and professionally. 

  1. Train your brain to be Ruled by the Hope of Success versus the Fear of Failure. Observe your inner thoughts: are you thinking about what it takes to "not lose" or what it takes to "succeed"? Focusing on what it takes to succeed versus not lose creates great innovation, a positive attitude, and more definitive results.
  2. Take one setback you've had in your life and write down 3 ways you can use that setback as a springboard forward--for yourself or for someone else. It's Not About the Setback, it's About  the Comeback! How can you use that setback to take it up a notch and do something great? Do it!
  3. Think of a change in your business/life that has been dominating your thoughts. Write down 2 positive and/or proactive things you can do today to rise to the challenge (or help a teammate through it), and write down 2 ways that your business/life is going to be better on the other side of that change. "Change is the only thing that stays the same. It's how we respond to those changes that dictates our long term success" ~Chief Alan Brunacini
  4. Don't let the perfectionist in you hinder progress this week/month! Do one thing each day/week that you've been putting off because you don't have the time to do it right. :). It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done.