Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Sir Ed film set for premiere

Hillary adventure to make 3D screen debut at Toronto film festival.

Chad Moffitt plays a young Sir Edmund Hillary in  Beyond the Edge .
Chad Moffitt plays a young Sir Edmund Hillary in Beyond the Edge .

A 3D depiction of Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Mt Everest will premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Beyond the Edge stars Kiwi actor Chad Moffitt as a young Sir Edmund and Mt Cook resident Sonam Sherpa as Tenzing Norgay. It was filmed in the Southern Alps, Himalayas and at Mt Everest and integrates George Lowe's original footage from the 1953 expedition.

Director Leanne Pooley said it was an honour for the film to be invited to the festival which is regarded as second only to the Cannes Film Festival.

"It's just such a wonderful story," she said. "That's what you need when you're making a movie ... a wonderful story and this is the wonderful story.

"It's a story of endurance, of self-sacrifice, of adventure - it has it all."

Sir Edmund's son, Peter Hillary, said the film's acceptance into the festival acknowledged his father's legacy.

"Ed Hillary was a remarkable character but he was an indelibly New Zealand character too, so this film speaks volumes about the attributes of our national psyche and our competitive and yet congenial personality.

"The film is a fine tribute to the spirit of the man and selection for [Toronto] is a great fillip to the prospects of the film."

Pooley said the film's overseas premiere was not a bad thing.

"When you're launching a film like this, Toronto is one of the world's greatest film festivals. It is just a really lovely launching pad and we are releasing in New Zealand not long after.

"This is making it possible to launch the film on to the world stage."

Production of the film started last August and was financed by the New Zealand Film Commission in association with NZ On Air's Platinum Fund, TVNZ, Digifilm and Rialto Distribution.

The film is produced by Matthew Metcalfe and is written and directed by Pooley, whose The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls received the Audience Award at the 2009 festival.

Beyond The Edge will be released in New Zealand on October 24 by Rialto Distribution. The Toronto festival runs from September 5 to 15.

- NZ Herald

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