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Birdman of the Karakoram
Birdman of the Karakoram has won the adventure film category at the St. Hilaire du Touvet - Lumbin flying festival in France [ed. Having seen the film I believe it'll be the first of many prizes]. Not yet available on DVD, editing of the film by Ray Saunders was only completed a few days before the festival started.
The film focuses on one of the worlds most respected high altitude paraglider pilots, John Silvester, who lives tucked away on the edge of Snowdonia National Park.
Filmed by prize winning local cameraman, Alun Hughes, the centre piece of the film is a dizzying journey through Himalayan skies on a tandem flight around Shishpare Peak (7619m) - the first time this route has ever been flown by a paraglider. Crossing over a col to the Batura Glacier they find themselves totally committed and literally flying to survive above one of the world's longest glaciers outside of the polar regions.
Totally in the hands of John's skillful flying and without time to acclimatise, Al Hughes found himself going from 2000m in the Hunza Valley to just over 6000m in an hour - without supplementary oxygen. This meant contending with altitude sickness as well as motion sickness. Bob Drury, editor of Cross Country magazine, has described the film as: "Mind blowing! The most audacious flying film ever made."
The Welsh premiere of the film will be shown with an introduction by John Silvester at the Caban, Brynrefail on September 25th. Booking essential: 01286 685500. Food available from 6pm - 7.30pm. Film £2.50, Food(2 courses) £8.00.
You can pre-order the DVD at alhughes.tv or flyskyhigh.net which includes as extras, an hour-long interview with John about his motivations and early flying days in Wales plus John's original footage of his circumnavigation of Nanga Parbat in 2005 - the first of an 8000m giant. Here's a trailer for the film: