The Chamonix Film Festival prize list: The Grand Prix for The Alpinist

For its second edition, the Chamonix Film Festival ends with the awards ceremony in the presence of Conrad Anker, the festival’s patron. The Alpinist was awarded the Grand Prix of the Festival. We have seen some astonishing films, which show the diversity of the production of films with the common denominator of the abundant universe of the mountain.

It is a striking film that impressed the Jury of the 2nd Chamonix Film Festival: The Alpinist retraces the meteoric career of Marc-André Leclerc, the late Canadian mountaineer. As we have said, we shudder to follow Marc-André Leclerc hanging on his ice axes, without a rope, and obviously this journey struck a chord with the jury. The Alpinist was awarded the Grand Prix at the Chamonix Film Festival.


Chamonix Film Festival this 19 June ©Jocelyn Chavy

Peter Mortimer receives the Grand Prix of the festival, to his left Hélias Millerioux member of the jury ©Jocelyn Chavy

Special Prize to Vertiges

The second major prize was awarded to Vertiges, a step towards freedom. Supported by Canal+, this documentary film tells the unusual experience of three prisoners who attempt the Mont Blanc. The camera follows these three long-sentenced prisoners. To be part of the adventure, the prisoners must be willing and physically fit. From the prison of Bourg-en-Bresse to the Alps, the journey of the prisoners for whom this project offers a real revenge on their tormented lives.

A film that stands out, and above all one that casts a different light on prison life and the window to freedom and reintegration that the high mountains – and the association En passant par la montagne – have enabled them to experience, thanks to the determination and support of a sports instructor, Jean-Bernard, who convinced the hierarchy, and of prison officials. A film directed by Clément Chauveau and Fabien Douillard.

Narrative Award and Nature Award

The Narrative Award goes to The Last Mountain, which follows the life of missing mountaineer Tom Ballard on Nanga Parbat. Ballard was the son of Alison Heargraves, who herself disappeared on K2 when he was a child. Christopher Terrill’s film traces this tragic story, exploring the issue of grief and how the Ballard family – father and sister – overcome both traumas.

The Nature Prize goes to La Panthère des Neiges, the film by Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier with Sylvain Tesson. Sylvain Tesson, who was visiting the festival and gave one of the festival’s conferences with his eloquence. A just reward for La Panthère des Neiges, which in the meantime had received a César in Cannes, so a full house for the duo of animal directors.

Jérémie Villet receives the Coup de coeur award for Mathieu Le Lay and Yukon un rêve blanc ©Jocelyn Chavy

Conrad Anker receives one of the “coup de coeur” awards for My Father (Torn)©Jocelyn Chavy

« Coup de coeur » Awards 

Two films tied for the Chamonix Film Festival “Coup de Coeur” Award : My Father (Torn) and Yukon. In My Father, director Max Lowe examines the long-buried feelings that the disappearance of his father Alex and his mother’s remarriage to Conrad Anker has brought out in him and his family, including his mother, Jennifer, his younger brothers, Sam and Isaac, and his stepfather, Conrad Anker, Alex’s climbing partner and best friend. Conrad Anker himself gave us his own take on the film.

Directed by Mathieu Le Lay, Yukon, un rêve blanc follows the journey of wildlife photographer Jérémie Villet in Canada.