"To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness."
So intones Willem Dafoe in the trailer for Jennifer Peedom's epic new cinema documentary, Mountain, which explores the troubled and triumphant story of our ongoing fascination with climbing mountains. Peedom, of course, has an affinity for the subject matter, having previously explored the events surrounding the 2014 tragedy atop Mount Everest in her BAFTA-nominated film Sherpa.
For Mountain, Peedom re-teams with Sherpa's award-winning cinematographer Renan Ozturk to capture sweeping images of the world's summits. She has also collaborated with the Australian Chamber Orchestra for the film, which features a score by ACO artistic director Richard Tognetti.
Dafoe narrates the film, using the words of novelist Robert Macfarlane, which ponder why conquering mountains holds such a strong allure for so many people.
Mountain will have its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House on June 12, where it will screen in a special sidebar screening of the Sydney Film Festival, with live accompaniment by the ACO (before regular festival venue screenings). The Mountain Live concert experience will travel throughout the country in August, before the film is released in cinemas on September 21 through Madman Films.