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The Alpinist Wins an Emmy

The Alpinist wins "Outstanding Long Documentary" award, accepted with these words: "Most of all, thanks to Mr. Marc-André Leclerc, his family, his friends and his community."

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And the Emmy goes to … The Alpinist.

Leading into the first in-person ceremony in three years, The Alpinist had been nominated in two categories.

The first of the two nominations came up two hours and 55 minutes into the broadcast. “Outstanding Camera Work – Long Form” went to The Ultimate Run, a ski film from Red Bull Media House.

One of the very last awards, over three hours in, at 10:10 p.m. EST, was “Outstanding Long Documentary”—and in a stacked field, The Alpinist took it. As Nick Rosen, co-director, had expressed earlier (see our preview article), the prospect had not seemed cause to exult; the film is much too sad for that. Yet there it was, The Alpinist won, bringing a deep sense of satisfaction to anyone who had been moved by it.

Ben Bryan, producer with Red Bull Media House, accepted the award, flanked by the co-directors, Rosen and Peter Mortimer of Sender Films. Bryan hugged Mortimer and handed him the statue.

“I want to thank our entire producing team, who stuck with this film for years,” Bryan said. “Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, thank you so much for your vision.

“Most of all, to Mr. Marc-André Leclerc, his family, his friends, and his community, without you sharing your vision with us, this film would not have been possible. This award is for you, Mr. Marc-André Leclerc.”

See all 15 persons named in the award in the list below. They include Josh Lowell as an executive producer and Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell, and Austin Siadak in cinematography.

The Alpinist
For The Alpinist: Chad Stanley, Clark Fyans, Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer, Ben Bryan and Isabella Franca attend the Emmys at the Lincoln Center, May 24, 2022. (Photo: Burke Scotland)

The dictionary definition of a nova is of a star that flares up and becomes extremely bright, but the sudden light is transient. Marc-André Leclerc was such a star.

The Alpinist is a superb, layered study of someone who was part visionary climber, with the physicality to do the things others had not dreamed of; part forest creature, hilariously insouciant and elusive; a wild one who once did a lot of drugs, but switched out; and a multi-talent who hauled out a guitar and played it, or hauled off and started speaking Spanish (well). As to the climbing sequences, there are only so many ways to say how stunning they are, and writers have used a lot of them. I alone have used a lot of them. How is it that we got both Free Solo and The Alpinist, one after another?

The Alpinist is Up for Two Sports Emmys

The Alpinist
Passing beneath the East Face of Whitehorn, adjacent to Robson. Leclerc soloed the Emperor Face. (Photo: Scott Serfas)

Either way, win or not, it would have the same film. Either way, it is different from what was intended, when the film was considered completed, before its star went missing in Alaska.

The Calculated Madness of Marc-André Leclerc

I’ve seen it twice. My family has seen it. My sons (who are only occasional climbers) and all their friends have seen it. So have a relative in a nursing home, and my neighbors and all my old teachers, and whoever I sit next to on a plane.

The Alpinist
Marc-Andre Leclerc in the wild. (Photo: Scott Serfas)

Marc-André’s is an incalculable loss. While he represented a genre of climbing—i.e., he was often solo, ropeless (though be aware that he was with someone else and roped when disaster hit)—that I would never encourage anyone to do, he presented himself in a way that I have always admired and saw in my earliest role models and mentors. He could joke about it all; he shrugged; he didn’t brag. He ditched out on his own filmmakers. Yet he was also a thinker and reader, and did want to make his mark, to contribute to the history of climbing.

A nova does not disappear but fades back to its normal state. That cannot happen, but we have this film, a monument, and can understand what Leclerc did. Now it has been recognized with this top honor.

Free Soloing Means No Rope. These Climbers Have Defined the Pursuit.

Sports Emmy
A past Sports Emmy winner, Olav Zipser, skydiver. (Photo: By Olav Zipser / wikimedia)

Named on the award are:
OUTSTANDING LONG DOCUMENTARY
The Alpinist Netflix
[Red Bull Media House]
Executive Producers:
Scott Bradfield, Josh Lowell, Philipp Manderla
Producer:
Ben Bryan
Directors:
Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen
Cinematographers:
Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell, Austin Siadak
Editors:
Joshua Steele Minor, Fernando Villena
Co-Producers:
Isabella Franca, Clark Fyans, Mike Negri, Chad Stanle

 

This year’s Emmys had the most nominations in Sports Emmy history, with nominations in 47 categories including Outstanding Live Special, Live Series and Playoff Coverage, Outstanding Play-by-Play Announcer, and four documentary divisions.

The documentary categories were:

  • Outstanding Short Documentary
  • Outstanding Long Documentary (division in which The Alpinist appeared)
  • Outstanding Documentary Series
  • Outstanding Documentary Series – Serialized
The Alpinist
Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, co directors, creative partners.

The Outstanding Long Documentary nominees were:

  • 144, ESPN [ESPN Films]
  • LFG, HBO | HBO Max [CNN Films | Everywoman Studios]
  • Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In, Paramount+ [DNA Films | Passion Pictures | Ventureland]
  • The Alpinist, Netflix [Red Bull Media House]
  • VICE VERSA Fear of a Black Quarterback, VICE TV [44 Blue]

Outstanding Camera Work – Long Form nominees were:

  • Dispatches: Wall of Skulls
  • NFL 360: Mark Pattison: Searching for the Summit [NFL Network]
  • NFL 360: Solomon Thomas: Breathe, NFL Network
  • Outsiders of the Year: Tommy Rivs, Outside TV
  • The Alpinist, Netflix [Red Bull Media House]
  • The Ultimate Run Red Bull TV [LOS & Sons GmbH]

The Last Days of Marc-André Leclerc

Marc-André Leclerc and His Impossible Dreams: A Remembrance

Weekend Whipper: Miscommunication Almost Causes Mid-air Collision

Brette Harrington Recalls Life With “The Alpinist” and Daring Soloist Marc-André Leclerc