Nepal earthquake: Canadian filmmaker survives avalanche, pays tribute in film
WATCH ABOVE: Canadian filmmaker Elia Saikaly pays tribute to rescuers and victims of Mount Everest avalanche in short film
A Canadian filmmaker is paying tribute and sharing the shock and grief of living through the Nepalese earthquake and resulting Mount Everest avalanche in film.
Elia Saikaly was near Mount Everest base camp when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake triggered a deadly avalanche. The Ottawa filmmaker and climber, who is still on Mount Everest, channelled his grief into creativity creating a moving short film, Everest a Tribute to the Fallen.
“It’s all been incredibly surreal. A nightmare I desperately want to wake up from,” Saikaly posted on his Facebook page.
“No single person can come close to accurately portraying the incredible acts of bravery on the part of the many ordinary men and women at base camp that day,” wrote Saikaly. “I did the best I could, under extreme circumstances, to tell the story through our team’s eyes. There were hundreds of these stories that dreadful day.”
The film shows dramatic footage of a wall of white starting to engulf base camp. Saikaly was pulled into a dining tent by a sherpa as the “tidal wave” of snow hit. When they emerged he pulled his camera out to document the devastation. In the following hours and days, his footage shows the aftermath, helicopters removing the injured, and the grief for those who perished.
Saikaly had been hired by Under Armour executive Nick Cienski to follow and document his quest to climb six 8,000 peaks in one year.
Despite his own exhaustion and personal grief, Saikaly said he stayed up late to finish the tribute, editing it in his tent at 17,500 feet above sea level. He posted it on Tuesday.
“It was very difficult to assemble in this environment and it was tough reliving the tragedy,” wrote Saikaly.
The film is also dedicated to Saikaly’s close personal friend, Google’s Don Fredinburg who died on the mountain that day.
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