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THE MOVIE
Summary
In the Autumn of 2003, a team of Greek mountaineers is climbing, in Tibet, to the top of Cho Oyu of altitude 8201m. This mountain, situated in the area of Everest, is where the expedition prepares for the ascent, planned for the upcoming year, to the highest summit of the world. The efforts of the team attribute, however on the last day the unexpected occurs. During the descent the leader of the team, Christos Barouchas, leaves his last breath in the hands of the team's filmmaker Pavlos Tsiantos. With their return to Greece, the mountaineers are ready to quit the project, but as soon as they discover an old letter written by Christos they acquire a new motivation. The team reunites and finds the necessary strength to continue. In the Spring of 2004, the ascent to Everest begins, enhanced by the well known Greek-American mountaineer Pete Athans. However when the team faces the harsh reality of a death on the mountain for the second time, faith to the vision and the team's spirit are the only remains in order to reach their goal.


Director's Note
The idea of filming the first Greek expedition to the top of Everest, was born simultaneously with the foundation of the Climbing Team. At first due to the absence of financial support, our optimism was restrained, however after the presence of Pavlos Aggelatos as the sponsor of the expedition HELLAS EVEREST 2004, our project soon began to form.

The first test took place in the spring of 2003 at the top of Cho Oyu at 8201m. The purpose of that expedition was to serve as practice to all levels. The consistency of the team, the telecommunications, the tents, the climbing and filming equipment and many more had to be checked. Specifically, the filming at an altitude of more than eight thousand meters was to happen for the first time from a Greek film crew, which put an extra burden on the project with the need of more specialized technical knowledge and planning. The cameras for example had to work for a whole one and a half month in an area where there was no electricity and the temperatures, most of the time, were below zero.

The unforeseen event of Christos Barouchas losing his life on the last day of the expedition, forced the project to take a dramatic turn. From that moment on, for me personally it was not about just filming the climbing action. After having lost our partner, something deep that influenced all members started grow inside. A driving force which brought us together and even more was pushing us to continue. When back from Cho Oyu everyone tried to deal with the strong emotions and I , who was editing the footage in the studio, was reliving all the moments of the expedition. The outcome of that period was the documentary film called "Cho Oyu", which was first screened at the 7th International Documentary Film Festival of Thessaloniki.



The colorful audience which filled the halls in the two screenings at the festival, helped the movie win the Audience Award for Documentaries up to 45mins. This award is the only one which is given out in the festival, except the Award of the International Committee FIPRESCI. The distinction was huge, giving me courage but on the other hand simultaneously increasing requirements of the future.

At Everest, the forearm scaled even higher, but right organization, avoidance of mistakes and favorable weather conditions, contributed to the exemplary conduct of the ascent and its filming.

After the completion of the expedition, in June 2004, around 70 hours of footage were stored on the shelves waiting to be edited into a movie. Pavlos Aggelatos, who at first had expressed his will to participate in the production, left from the forefront as unexpected as he had appeared at first. Suddenly the production was left without financial support. In the meantime, in anticipation and hope for some financial support, I participated in the audiovisual production of a school bands festival, Schoolwave, which absorbed me for the next two years, giving me memorable moments and another Audience Award at the Festival of Thessaloniki.

In the spring of 2009 , after the valuable contribution of all the associates and friends who believed in this idea and helped without being paid the production the movie "From Olympus to Everest" finally gets screened for the first time at the 11th Documentary Festival of Thessaloniki. This time though competing in the category of feature length movies. The movie was appointed second at the Audience Award, being at the same time the first independent production. Regretfully, its independent character did not help its way in a Greek state-financed cinematic reality.

Despite the huge success of the screenings and the touching feedback of the audience - climbers or not- issuing the movie into a DVD had one last hitch to overcome. This was the reassurance of all copyright. This task required mainly money. In any other case, it would need the same ingredients that were used in the expedition to Everest, vision, faith, hard work, patience and insistence. In this stage though we weren't alone anymore. The audience was aware of the movie and its hearty support and sympathy worked from then on as our driving force.

Eight years after the expedition to Everest , the DVD is finalized and ready - and I must say that even if it sounds exaggerating- it was an even harder task than that of the actual expedition. On the mountain the opposing force is clear and straightforward. In every day life though is suppressed and elusive and we, citizens of this country, unfortunately experience it everyday in all levels…

Despite all that, I never thought of quitting the project. Furthermore, when I began receiving messages from people I did not know personally, such as: "You give hope to all people who have goals but have lost their faith.", for me, from this point on, the completion of this movie was the only way.

A warm thank you to all of you who with your presence became fellow travelers to this wonderful trip.

PAVLOS TSIANTOS
 
 
 
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It will require vision, faith and hard work
C. Barouchas
 
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