“Free Solo” Directors Unveil Upcoming Slate of Film Projects
E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin won an Oscar for their work capturing climber Alex Honnold’s historic ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan.
The creative team behind the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo has unveiled a full slate of projects they’re set to take on.
E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the filmmaking duo who captured climber Alex Honnold’s historic ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan—a death-defying feat he accomplished in just 3 hours and 56 minutes—recently confirmed plans for four upcoming projects through Nat Geo, including a 10-episode miniseries, two feature length documentaries, and a one-hour pilot special, the website Deadline first announced.
Titled Into the Unknown, the miniseries will spend each episode highlighting the most daring personalities in adventure sports—from climbers to polar explorers—performing in unforgiving conditions around globe.
The pair of feature documentaries the duo is set to direct includes Thai Cave Rescue, the story of 12 youth soccer players and a coach who were saved from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 by a team of international rescue divers in what ABC News called “one of the most dramatic rescues that the world has ever seen.”
Vasarhelyi and Chin will also be tackling a documentary about Kristine Tompkins, the former Patagonia CEO, who, alongside her husband Doug Tompkins, the co-founder of The North Face, established Tompkins Conservation to fight climate change through the creation of more national parks and the ecological restoration method of rewilding.
“National Geographic shares our deep commitment to bringing honest and inspiring stories to audiences around the world,” said Vasarhelyi and Chin. “We are thrilled to be working with them again on these powerful new projects that not only push the boundaries of filmmaking but also shine a light on the incredible resilience and determination of humankind.”
“Chai and Jimmy are masterful storytellers who bring unparalleled artistry and distinctive vision to everything they do,” added Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic. “We are proud to continue our partnership with them to tell these profound stories in an authentic yet innovative way.”
The last item on the agenda for Chai and Jimmy, who also co-directed the 2015 Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary Meru, will be an hour-long pilot for a proposed series Photographer, an in-depth look at Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen’s photographic work over the course of a four-year expedition.
Similar to the visually-stunning Netflix series Tales by Light, additional episodes, if the series is picked up, would focus on the work of individual Nat Geo photographers in their respective arenas.