News has just come in from Kendal Mountain Festival HQ, that the event has secured the second-ever public screening of ‘Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia’.
Only completed in the last two weeks and premiered at the Banff Mountain Festival on 2 November, this is a major film that has been in production for several years. Not only will the film be screened, but Jeff Lowe himself will travel across from the USA to be in Kendal, despite the terminal illness he is suffering from.
“We’ve been in discussion for a little while with Jeff and Connie Self, his partner and the film’s producer”, says Festival director Clive Allen. “I have to say it’s a huge privilege that they have allowed us to screen the film so soon; Jeff is determined to come across and share it with us. It wouldn’t have happened though with out the support of Lowe Alpine who have stepped in to ensure we have the resource to bring Jeff and Connie across.”
‘Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia’ explores the life and climbs of the legendary US alpinist. The most talented technical climber of his generation, for 40 years Jeff made his mark across the world; from the big walls of Yosemite and Utah, to the Alps and the great Himalayan peaks. And of course in 1967, along with his brothers Greg and Mike, Jeff founded Lowe Alpine Systems in Colorado.
Jeff’s ‘piece de resistance’ lies on North Face of the Eiger. Climbed in 1991, and still unrepeated, Metanoia (graded VII, 5.10, M6, A4) is the hub of this biographical documentary. Narrated by Jon Krakauer, the film tells the compelling story behind that climb and what lay beneath Jeff’s high adventure lifestyle. For the past decade Jeff has suffered from a relentlessly progressive neurological deterioration, and is now confined to a wheelchair. Since being diagnosed with this terminal disease, he has brought the strength that characterised his climbing career to the physical challenges he faces today, and also to a reassessment of his own mortality. A tribute to a remarkable man and climber, this is a film about one man’s journey from the top of the world to the end of the line. Kendal Mountain Festival and Lowe Alpine are proud to bring you the British premiere; to introduce and talk about the movie Jeff himself has taken the big decision to travel especially to Kendal for this occasion.
Jeff Lowe and the film ‘Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia’ are being brought to Kendal Mountain Festival with the kind assistance of Lowe Alpine.
Jeff Lowe answers a few questions about the screening of ‘Metanoia’ at Kendal Mountain Festival
1) Why did you participate in the making of this film?
Jeff Lowe: I want to share the experiences and lessons of a life based in love rather than fear; embracing the reality of each moment and digging deep for beauty and wonder. I know my time is short. Film can convey so much, so succinctly. As time went on during the making of the film, my experience of Metanoia on my Eiger climb, where I had “…a fundamental change of thinking, a transformative change of heart…”, continued to unfold and I found myself on the greatest adventure of all. In our culture, death and dying are seen as horrible. Connie and I see it all quite differently. On the Eiger I saw what might be on the other side of death and I am honestly curious about that and very interested in what is happening to me as I make my way towards that ultimate transition. I have always known that love powers the universe and that all that is creative and good in our world is born out of love. What I didn’t know is that it is the most powerful motivator in life and should be pursued with passion, sensitivity and skill: Love for people, mountains, art, music – whatever it is that you love, you must make it a priority. I was lucky that I did that with climbing… and now I do it with everything and everyone.
Connie Self (Jeff’s partner and the film’s producer): No one leaves our apartment without hearing those 3 little words from Jeff: I love you.
2) How do you feel about it showing at KMF?
We are thrilled to have our United Kingdom Premier at KMF. This is my tribe. I have premiered other films here, but this one is my legacy – the last hurrah, so to speak. This one is my heart on the screen. KMF brings the climbing community together like very few other places – I am especially grateful that I get to be here – still on the planet – to attend our first UK screening of the film with my all of my tribe that can get here.
3) What do you hope the audience takes away from learning about how you’re living with your illness?
Life is life and it is really always the same. The chaplain from Hospice once told me that we die the way we live. I am seeing that happening. As a climber, I did the best I could with what I had from where ever I was – on a big wall like the South Face of Snow Patch Spire in the Bugaboos, an alpine climb with a small team on Latok in the Karakoram, or just cragging in Eldorado Canyon – and designing clothing and equipment to have more freedom and fun in the hills – focused on the present moment, having fun, working hard and figuring it out as I go. With the help of loving people, I am still doing the same thing; adjusting my wheelchair to suit me better, finding ways to move and get around so that I can still participate fully in my life, finding new tools to help me speak, new exercises to keep me flexible – and simply enjoying each moment to the best of my ability. It comes pretty easily to me these days. I don’t spend time wishing things were different than they are. There is always plenty to be grateful for – plenty of beauty and wonder and love – so I focus on that. If people take a little from my experience and find a positive personal resonance, that will make this whole project worthwhile.