Oscar-winning filmmaker Jimmy Chin and his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi find culture of Indian cinema incredible.
“Culture of cinema in India is incredible, and the way it has become part of the global language of cinema is also very cool,” Chai told IANS over phone.
“Jimmy and I are both interested in safely representing the voices of other places in the world, both of us grew up as children of immigrants, and that global experience is something that’s very important to us,” added Chai, the documentary filmmaker with Hungarian roots.
The star couple’s documentary ‘Free Solo’ won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2019 Academy Awards.
The movie is all set to release in India. And the couple is looking forward to it.
“We are big admirers of Indian cinema. We are very excited about the release. We can’t wait to hear how Indian audiences receive the film,” Chai said.
“Free Solo” is a documentary which captures the life of rock climber Alex Honnold, who climbed Yosemite’s 3,000-foot-tall El Capitan mountain peak without any safety gears.
On the Oscar win, Chai said: “We are very honoured. It was very much a surprise for us. I mean, we are humbled that Alex’s story has seemed to capture the hearts and minds of audiences and that they find courage in his courage and are inspired by his dream to, kind of, make the impossible possible.”
Chin, also a professional climber, has scaled high peaks in his career of climbing. But this year, the 45-year-old achieved new heights in filmmaking by winning an Oscar. He wants young people to get inspired by the documentary.
“We have heard there has been a real spike of attendance in climbing gyms… It’s really good for people. We’re really happy that young people seem to be inspired by the film and they ask their parents to go to the gym.”
Chai and Chin also opened up about the process of making the National Geographic film. Chai asserts that it was “challenging”.
She said: “It was very difficult. The greatest difficulty was probably being able to manage the risk and make sure that we were there for the right reasons and being able to inflate Alex from our own feelings and also this ambition to do justice through Alex’s climb.”
According to Chin, it was a proper team coordination which helped him in making the film successful.
“Just like in climbing, it requires a lot of commitment, perseverance, and hope and beliefs. It is important to surround yourself with really good people, having a great team, all things that I think apply to a lot of different things in life,” he said.
“We have been concurrently developing a film about Kristine Tompkins (conservationist) and the late Doug Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard and Tompkins Conservation. It is basically the story of some of the greatest conservationists of our time,” Chai said.
(Simran Sethi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)