National Geographic Entertainment Acquires ’The Wildest Dream’ For Distribution
Film Retraces George Mallory’s Final Adventure to Summit Mount Everest; Features Narration by Liam Neeson and Voices of Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson as George and Ruth Mallory
LOS ANGELES -- National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) has acquired “The Wildest Dream” for distribution in both 35mm and Imax® in the United States as well as for Imax® and giant-screen theaters throughout the world. “The Wildest Dream” is the third major acquisition for NGE this year, following Cherien Dabis’ Sundance comedy hit “Amreeka,” which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 4 and other cities soon afterward, and “City of Life and Death” which screens at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and will be released under the National Geographic World Films label in North America in early 2010.
Eighty-five years after George Mallory’s final attempt to summit Mount Everest, “The Wildest Dream” explores Mallory’s obsession with becoming the first person to reach the highest place on Earth. Told through the explorer’s poignant and evocative letters to his wife, Ruth, previously unseen photos and film archive from 1924 (restored from the original nitrate especially for the film), dramatization and a modern-day expedition retracing the original route taken in 1924, Mallory’s incredible adventure lives again. The expedition was led by renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, whose life became inextricably linked with Mallory’s after he found Mallory’s body on Everest in 1999. Using replica 1920s-era clothing and equipment, Anker sets out to solve the great mystery of whether Mallory succeeded in summiting Everest before he died -- he was last seen just 800 feet from the summit before the clouds closed in and he disappeared into legend. The most heartbreaking clue: All of Mallory’s belongings were found intact on his body, except the photograph of his beloved Ruth, which he promised to leave at the top of the world if he succeeded.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Anthony Geffen and produced by Geffen and Claudia Perkins, “The Wildest Dream” is narrated by Liam Neeson and features the voices of Ralph Fiennes as George Mallory, the late Natasha Richardson as Ruth Mallory, Hugh Dancy as Mallory’s fellow climber Andrew Irvine and Alan Rickman as Noel Odell, the last person to see Mallory alive. Mike Medavoy is the executive producer. Peter Miller is the editor, and Mark Halliley is the edit producer and writer. The directors of photography are Ken Sauls and Chris Openshaw. Joel Douek composed the music, which was recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and includes the song “Edge of Heaven” by Lisbeth Scott.
NGE presents “The Wildest Dream,” an Altitude Films production with Atlantic Productions.
Lisa Truitt, president, National Geographic Cinema Ventures, said, “We are thrilled to release ’The Wildest Dream,’ which captures one of history’s greatest feats of exploration and mountaineering. The film tells a gripping story from many different perspectives -- from that of George Mallory and his beloved wife, Ruth, to the modern climbers who follow Mallory’s last footsteps, seeking to solve the enduring mystery of his last ascent of Everest. The story soars in the hands of talented filmmaker Anthony Geffen and such great actors as Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, who voice this tale of adventure and mystery, of challenges met and fears conquered, and of great love. The film is dedicated to Richardson, whose readings of Ruth Mallory’s love letters to her husband are especially heartfelt and moving.”
David Beal, president, NGE, said: “With the acquisition of Cherien Dabis’ ’Amreeka,’ Lu Chuan’s ’City of Life and Death,’ and now ’The Wildest Dream,’ we feel that National Geographic Entertainment is hitting its stride in working with innovative filmmakers and finding the right movies for our distribution platform. Each of these films makes its mark as wonderful entertainment, but each project also presents the depth and breadth of the endless supply of the world’s great stories.”
Added Executive Producer Mike Medavoy, “What got me so enthusiastic was that this wasn’t just a film about mountain climbing but it was a passionate love story between George and Ruth Mallory that had never been told before. I’ve been really impressed with how Anthony Geffen has blended together Mallory’s story and the original archive with Conrad Anker’s modern-day expedition. We always felt that the project was a great fit for National Geographic, so we’re delighted they will be distributing it in both regular and Imax theaters, which is usually done just for wide tent pole releases and not for specialized releases.”
Said Director Anthony Geffen, “Mallory fascinates me because he dared to dream the impossible. In a golden age of exploration, he was the pioneering adventurer determined to reach into the world’s last great untouched wilderness. The Mallory story is still as tantalizing and compelling today as it was in 1924.”
Negotiations for “Wildest Dream” were handled by Lisa Truitt, Tiffany Leclere, Angelo Grima and Mark Katz for NGE; by Mimi Gilligan for Altitude Films; and by Claudia Perkins for Atlantic Productions.
About National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Entertainment combines into a single operating group National Geographic’s Cinema Ventures and National Geographic Films and World Films, along with Kids Entertainment, Home Entertainment and Music & Radio. In 2005, National Geographic Films (NGF) co-presented the 2005 Academy Award-winning “March of the Penguins, ” and National Geographic World Films co-presented the 2004 Oscar-nominated film “The Story of the Weeping Camel” as well as Lu Chuan’s “Mountain Patrol: Kekexili.” National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV), released domestically and internationally the 3-D concert film “U2 3D” to critical acclaim and set giant-screen box office records with “Mysteries of Egypt” and “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure.” Adam Leipzig is president of NGF, Lisa Truitt is president of NGCV and Mark Katz is president of NGCV Distribution.
NGE is part of National Geographic Global Media, bringing together all of National Geographic’s editorial platforms to streamline collaboration and support the Society’s mission. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” National Geographic works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 375 million people worldwide each month through magazines, books, digital media, television, radio, music, film and live events. It funds over 250 scientific research, exploration and conservation projects each year and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
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