Sherpa director Jen Peedom partners with Richard Tognetti on Mountain
Sherpa director Jen Peedom is hard at work on her next feature, Mountain, which she describes as "something I've been discussing with Richard Tognetti from the Australian Chamber Orchestra for a long time".
The film was "primarily conceived as a visual work", said Peedom, "to explore the history of our fascination with mountains, why we're so drawn to them and why some people risk their lives for them".
Mountain sees Peedom again collaborating with Renan Ozturk, Sherpa's main altitude cinematographer and a North-Face sponsored climber.
"He's got an incredible library, and has hooked us up with all these other cinematographers".
Peedom also brought in a writer, Robert Macfarlane, who wrote the multi-award winning book Mountains of the Mind, to provide narration.
"He's writing this really sparse narration script, almost poetry".
Alongside Tognetti (providing the film's score), Ozturk and McFarland, Peedom's other key collaborator on the film is her Sherpa editor Christian Gazal, whom the director says she never wants to work without.
"[On Sherpa] He really introduced me to this test screening idea, where you invite people in and really test your ideas and test your story", said Peedom.
"It's brutal but really productive. [Gazal] calls them punter screenings. He says they can't be in the film industry, they can't be trying to be clever".
"You can't get away with anything with Christian. He'll make you really articulate and think through exacly what it is you're trying to say. I prefer to be really pushed".
Peedom is still rolling out Sherpa, with the film in its second week in Australia cinemas and premiering in the U.S. on National Geographic.
The last six months have been a whirlwind.
"To be in official competition at Sydney was pretty amazing", Peedom said. "I don't think an Australian doco has been in it before so it was really a great honour".
"The first international one was Telluride, which premiered Spotlight, Room, Malala, most of the Oscar contenders. It's an amazing festival. There's no publicists. They fly you all in on a corporate jet, and it's just directors. I was sitting next to the director of 45 Years, and Rooney Mara's sitting behind me, and next to me's the director of that amazing film Son of Saul".
"We all did Telluride, Toronto, London, so you become really good friends. Everything after Telluride is hard, because it's a market, [whereas in Telluride] there's no market, it's just about filmmakers. You wander down the street and Meryl Streep's there going 'can you tell me the way to such and such'?