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Director Baltasar Kormákur's 'Everest' to Open Venice Film Festival

12 July 2015 7:00 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

"Everest," directed by Baltasar Kormákur, has been selected as the opening film, out of Competition, of the 72nd Venice Film Festival (September 2-12 2015). The festival is directed by Alberto Barbera, organized by the Biennale, and chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The world premiere of "Everest" will be screened on September 2nd  in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema) at the Lido. Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain,"Everest" documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival. 

"Everest" is a Working Title Films production starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John HawkesRobin WrightMichael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley,Emily Watson  and Jake Gyllenhaal, produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Baltasar Kormákur, Nicky Kentish BarnesBrian Oliver and Tyler Thompson. The story was adapted for the screen by William Nicholson ("Gladiator") and Oscar® winner Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire").

The film was shot on location in Nepal on the foothills of Everest, the Italian Alps and at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K.Universal will distribute Everest worldwide, and it will be released in the U.S. exclusively on IMAX 3D and premium-large format 3D screens on September 18th.  It will be released wide in the U.S.—including standard 2D and 3D—on September 25th.  Italy releases the film on September 24th.

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Baltasar Kormákur is an actor, producer and director whose truly global work spans theater, movies and television.  After "Everest," he will produce and direct "Vikingr," a big-budget action adventure set in the world of the famed Norse warriors that is inspired by the Iceland’s epic Sagas.  He is also set to direct the eco-disaster film "Cascade" and write and direct a crime thriller based on the events that inspired the Filipino film "On the Job." Recently, Kormákur and his frequent collaborator, Agnes Johansen, produced the Icelandic comedy "Virgin Mountain," directed by Dagur Kari.

Kormákur has directed several feature films in the U.S: 2010’s "Inhale," an independent film produced by the L.A.-based 26 Films, starring Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger and Sam Shepard; 2012’s "Contraband"—starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, and Kate Beckinsale—which is a remake of Oskar Johansson’s "Reykjavik Rotterdam," written by Arnaldur Indridason, and in which Kormákur played the leading role and produced it with Agnes Johansen through his Blueeyes Productions.  His last American film, the action-comedy 2013’s "2 Guns," starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, has grossed more than $131 million worldwide to date.

He also has several Icelandic projects in the works, including the psychological thriller "The Oath," which he plans to direct, from a script he co-wrote with Olafur Egillsson. Inspired by true events and set in modern Iceland, Kormákur will produce “The Oath” with Johansen.

The director graduated as an actor from Iceland’s National Academy of Fine Arts in 1990.  He was immediately signed on by the National Theatre of Iceland, where he worked as one of the leading young performing artists until 1997.  During the last two years of his assignment he also directed several ambitious works, after having produced and directed highly popular, independent stage productions alongside his projects with the National Theatre.

In 2000, he wrote, directed, acted in and produced the feature film "101 Reykjavik." Subsequently, Variety selected him as one of the “10 Directors to Watch.”  Soon after, Kormákur formed Blueeyes Productions and has maintained his focus on feature film writing, producing and directing.  His films "The Sea," "A Little Trip to Heaven," "Jar City" and "White Night Wedding" have all been very successful in Iceland and won numerous international awards.  Kormákur’s "The Deep," which eerily captures the tragic real-life story of the lone survivor of a capsized fishing boat off the frigid Icelandic coast, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was shortlisted for the foreign language Academy Awards®.

Recently, Kormákur optioned Iceland’s beloved, Nobel Prize-winning book “Independent People” to develop as a feature film and will produce the American remake of "Jar City," along with CEO of Lava Bear Films, David Linde.  He also partnered with Ccp Games to bring the "Eve Universe" game to television.  The Rvk Studios team, in collaboration with Ccp, will create an original concept and storyline set in the "Eve Universe." Additionally, he also produced and directed the Icelandic original serialized crime drama "Trapped."

All of Kormákur’s films are made under his Rvk Studios (formerly Blueeyes Productions), which recently opened a television arm and partnered with Dadi Einarsson and the Icelandic VFX company Framestore, now called Rvx Studios. »

- Sydney Levine

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