Free Solo Directors Set Patagonia Love Triangle as Next Film

Oscar winners Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are working on their next documentary as they return to the award race for the Thai cave documentary “The Rescue.”

Oscar winners of “Free Solo” Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are already working on their next documentary project as they return to the awards conversation for their Thai cave documentary “The Rescue.” As reported by Variety, the filmmaker duo are now in the editing suite of their next big-screen endeavor, set as a love triangle that spans decades and touches everything from business to romance and, depending on his usual rhythm, the open air.

The documentary, which has yet to be titled, with a view to its release in 2022, will follow the complex relationship involving Yvon Chouinard, the climber and conservationist who also founded the popular clothing company Patagonia; Douglas Tompkins, co-founder of North Face and Esprit; and Kristine McDivitt, the former CEO of Patagonia who married Tompkins.

“It’s kind of a love triangle,” Vasarhelyi told Variety. “It’s a great love story with an important female lead, which is a big step for us. He inhabits the incredibly private worlds of Jimmy’s original mentors, who were best friends, though they were two totally different types of people, with a woman in between. “

Director Chin is a seasoned climber, having co-directed the Himalayan odyssey “Meru” with Vasarhelyi in 2015 before setting his sights on Yosemite icon Alex Honnold for 2018’s “Free Solo.” The upcoming documentary will combine footage of adventures (filmed at Tompkins Private Nature Reserve known as Patagonia Park) along with interviews and archive materials to unravel the triad.

“Doug named the highest mountain in his park Cerro Kristine, after his wife,” Vasarhelyi said. “Jimmy climbed that mountain with Doug and Yvon in 2001, [and, after Doug’s death in 2015] Kris really wanted to climb the mountain that bears her name. So the movie will be more of a meditative journey on how we got there. “

The filmmakers shot the last parts of the footage in February 2019. The project was intended to be a follow-up to “Free Solo,” until they moved on to “The Rescue” (which hits Disney + in December and is currently in select theaters. ).

“This has been a sprint,” Vasarhelyi said of “The Rescue.” “[It’s been] Nonstop for the last eight months! We were so desperate trying to finish it that we showed a version in Telluride, another in Toronto, and [kept working on it] until the premiere of the film. “

Now that “The Rescue” is out in the world, Vasarhelyi said it has allowed them to focus on new material. “You have to distract yourself with something else, to start coming up with new ideas,” he said. “We just saw our first cut of our next document, so creatively, we are in the real moment again. We are understanding what we have, addressing the issues that have been haunting us, and it’s been great to have that. “

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