An adventure feature film based on the book by one of the real climbers: Mr. David Nott.
The project is still in pre-production due to the SarsCoV-2 pandemic.
Principal photography is planned for October 2022 in Venezuela.
120 minutes, 4K, colour, MR Productions, 2023.
Co-Writer, Producer and Director.
In January 1971, four men tried a never-attempted-before heroic feat, becoming the first humans to climb the face of the Angel Falls in Venezuela. Their adventure became the first epic ascent of the highest waterfall in the world. The film is based on their true story, pleasantly narrated in the book “Angels Four” by one of the climbers.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
On December 28, 1970 a tiny, single-engine Mooney plane arrives in Maiquetía Airport, Venezuela, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Three American explorers step out: John Timo, the leader, tall and lean. George Bogel, with down-curving Mexican mustachios and a shaved head, strong and big. Paul Straub, the pilot, a strapping athlete, who had never climbed before. They meet for the first time with old jungle-hand David Nott, a British climber and journalist, the oldest of the team.
Setback number one: their dehydrated rations had not arrived from New York. Expedition blocked from the start. After a rousing battle with the airline the rations arrive the next day.
The four climbers are ready and off, up and away towards Ciudad Bolivar, the last civilized place of 100,000 souls and gateway to the vast southeastern jungles of Venezuela. They land exactly on New Year’s Eve, between fizzing and exploding rockets and fireworks.
Setback two: The plane is streaked with oil from engine to tail. Flight into the jungle impossible. In the morning with hungovered mechanics, they manage to tighten up enough hopefully to get them to the next airstrip. They take off, dangerously late to fly over Devil Mountain, home of the Angel Falls, and 3000 feet down to their unlit airstrip before dark.
The flat mountain top is some of the roughest terrain on earth, bleak rock, scrub, towers hundreds of feet high. Paul weaved his way amongst them through trails of mist. At last they reach the edge. The plane dives almost vertically out of the cloud to search until a faint light shows Camarata and the strip. Straight in, says Straub and just as well. It is already night.
The next day they choose guides among the local Indians, to make the journey along the rivers and rapids to the base of the falls.
Two days later they finally set camp on the river below the Angel Falls. Their guides, still skeptical about their undertaking, agree to wait for them at base camp for their return. John, George, Paul and David set off towards the face of the mountain and start the climb.
For 10 long days they will fight against all odds. Unpredictable and heavy rain, slimy and slippery rock, overhanging and often heavy-vegetation-covered walls, losing equipment and clothing in the confusion of forced night climbing, a chockstone in the rift over thousands of feet above the trees. The climb becomes a survival epic where only their persistence and strength together with unbeatable friendship and comradeship and a bit of luck, get them to the top on January 13th 1971.
Nearing the top their rations are finished. They dump everything they can, attack the final ramparts, win through, turn and, through incessant rainstorm and thunder drop down the rappels for two days until they finally stumble into base camp again.
One last surprise is about to welcome them. Their Indian guides are gone, leaving just a message on a board: “We’re looking for food. We’ll be back.”
Desperate and starving they begin to fear the worst, not knowing if the Indians are coming back soon with food and the boat before it is too late or if they are not coming back at all.
Moved by hunger and exhaustion they start to argue about the last rations of food and what to do. Cut logs and float four rivers? Soon the argument begins to look serious, until like a deus-ex-machina, the long canoe of the Indian guides appears from behind the bend of the river.
The film is currently in pre-production, a teaser will be available soon.