Adventures / Climbing / Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo Nominated for Academy Award

Written by Mary Anne Potts

UPDATE: On January 22, 2018, it was announced that Free Solo has been nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary category! Congrats to Jimmy Chin, ROAM’s Chief Creative Officer, and Chai!

We are excited to share news about Free Solo, the upcoming film by co-directors Chai Vasarhelyi and ROAM Founding Contributor Jimmy Chin and featuring our buddy Alex Honnold. The National Geographic Documentary Film, which has been in development for 2.5 years, will screen in theaters across the country in this fall.

For Jimmy and Chai, this is their first feature film since they collaborated on the awarding-winning documentary Meru in 2015. Meru traces Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, and Jimmy’s personal struggles to make the first ascent to the peak’s Shark’s Fin. Hard to top, but this look into the life of iconoclastic Alex Honnold might just do it.

Even before pulling off one of the greatest athletic achievements of all time by climbing El Cap without ropes, Alex had transcended his rock climbing dirtbag status to capture a rarified place in the public eye. He wrote a bestselling book and appeared on the cover of National Geographic, Outside, and countless other magazines and news shows. He even penned an Op-Ed for the New York Times. Then Alex’s transcendent free solo climb up 3,200 feet of granite in Yosemite lit it all up—cameras rolling.

The film looks deeper into Alex’s life than purely his athletic achievements. Says Jimmy: “Free Solo follows my good friend Alex Honnold as he navigates life’s hard choices and prepares meticulously over two years to free solo El Cap, a 3,200-foot wall in Yosemite Valley. On June 3, 2017, Alex achieved what we all thought was impossible. In reality, we didn’t even think it was impossible. Until Alex came along, no one was thinking about it, period.”

We asked Alex last summer after he’d successfully free soloed El Cap if he was nervous about his life hitting the big screen. His answer was very Alex: “Not really, my life is already on display to some extent. And movies come and go–this will just be a new phase in life for a little while. In 10 years no one will remember or care. Or certainly not in 30. . . .”

Time will tell, Alex, this film could very well be a new classic!

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