The Wall Of Shadows

“Conjure[s] up a real sense of awe and majesty.”
FILMUFORIA

A Tull Stories Adventure Club release.

A breathtaking and beautifully-filmed story from the Sherpas’ perspective, The Wall Of Shadows presents the meeting of two worlds and a clash of values at the heart of climbing culture.

Amongst many others, The Wall Of Shadows’ has received the award for Best Climbing Film at Banff 2020, the Documentaire Extraordinaire award at the Bergen International Film Festival, the Mario Bello Award at the Trento Film Festival and the Grand Prize at Ulju Mountain Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Best Documentary award at Hot Docs 2020.

In faraway Eastern Nepal, there is a holy mountain called Kumbhakarna (aka Jannu). Its peak is home to gods and demons. No man can touch its slopes and it is believed that a Sherpa who dares set foot on the mountain, will die. It is also a Himalayan peak (7710m) famous for its 3000m unclimbed east face, the most difficult climb in modern alpinism, and the top trophy. 

The Westerners’ and local people’s attitude to the mountain is a world apart.

At the foot of Kumbhakarna at 4000m lays the small Sherpa village Kambachen. There are just 30 houses and in one of them lives Ngada Sherpa and his family.

Ngada is born and bred in the mountains. He is the best high-altitude porter in the area: he carries equipment and sets the ropes for alpinists up to the summits, very often risking his life with little in return. He has climbed Everest nine times, and Kanchenjunga two times. His wife, Jomdoe Sherpa works as a porter, carrying heavy loads on steep icy tracks to base camps. They have a son – Dawa, who is 16-year-old.

Life in the Himalayas at this altitude is a struggle for survival. Despite the fact that for a decade Ngada has worked with international expeditions, his family lives on the edge of poverty. When he works in the mountains, his wife and son work in the fields planting and harvesting potatoes. Dawa dreams of becoming a doctor, but his family cannot afford his further education. 

When Ngada is offered work on an expedition to the forbidden slopes of Kumbhakarna, he must decide whether or not to accept the work, opposing his faith and lamas’ warnings.

The stakes are high. If he agrees, he will earn big money, much more than on other expeditions, and pay for first two years of Dawa’s medical school in Kathmandu. 

Will the Gods of Kumbhakarna forgive the people for their insolence?

The film features Marcin Tomaszewski, one of the most prominent Polish climbers, and the Russian climbers Dmitry Golovchenko and Sergey Nilov, the double recipients of ‘the climbing Oscar’: Piolet d’Or.

 

ELIZA KUBARSKA
Eliza is a director, alpinist and traveller. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Wajda Film School in Poland. Since 2004 she directed awarded worldwide documentary films, often produced in extreme locations: What happened on Pam Island (TVP, 2010), made on Greenland; Walking Under Water, ZDF/Arte, 2014), filmed on the seas around Borneo and underwater, (Hot Docs Jury Prize and Special Mentions at Los Angeles IFF and Palm Springs IFF) and K2. Touching the Sky (HBO, 2015),  filmed in Karakorum, and one of the most awarded Polish mountain films in the history. Since 2008 she is a director of Vertical Vision Film Studio.

Enquire about this film

Released in the UK in spring 2022

  • Director: Eliza Kubarska
  • Year: 2020
  • Duration: 94 mins
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Production company: Braidmade Films

Official website

“Conjure[s] up a real sense of awe and majesty…creates a sense of slowly building tension…allowing the unique serenity of the place to beguile the audience.”

Meredith Taylor
Filmuforia

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