What I Love About ... Sherpa

Sherpa: Trouble on Everest    Dir: Jennifer Peedom | Australia

What I loved about Sherpa was its strong narrative and character arc. Peedom and her team set out to document the 2014 climbing season from the Sherpa’s point of view. What they never anticipated was following the tragic loss of sixteen Sherpas and the impact of that loss on their families and community.

The film shows how the people on Everest - the tour operators, the climbers and most importantly the Sherpa community – react as the tragedy of the 2014 climbing season unfolds. The balance between the commercial interests of the tour operators, the expectations of the climbers and the well-being of the Sherpas is a central tension explored throughout the film.

The other great strength of the film is the focus on a central character – Phurba Tashi Sherpa. A distinct character arc emerges as we follow Phurba Tashi Sherpa’s journey during the 2014 climbing season and learn about his family and their feelings on his dangerous job. He is struggling with his desire to continue climbing and his family’s fears for his safety. Following his story, the audience is drawn into his world and this fosters an empathy and understanding for the challenging work the Sherpas undertake.

Visually, the film is stunning. It contrasts the breathtaking beauty of Everest with the increasing tourism on the mountain that is likely to compromise this magnificent place. The shot of a line of climbers on the mountain, reminiscent of visitors at a theme park waiting for a ride, is a powerful illustration of how Everest is changing.  The film demonstrates the extent to which the mountain and the Sherpa people are exploited in the pursuit of the tourist dollar.   

If you have ever had a passing interest in what happens in the climbing seasons on Everest, Sherpa is the film to watch. Visit the Sherpa website to view the trailer and buy. 


By Bec Flemming

Announcing Stronger Than Fiction News!

We recently announced on Facebook that we're stepping back for a year.

After tripling in size over four successful years, Stronger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival has decided to take a break in 2017 in order to concentrate on developing partnerships to ensure that we can keep knocking your socks off with breathtaking documentaries and events for many more years to come.

Our first step is this - our new blogspace - Stronger Than Fiction News!

For several years we've been sharing news and updates on documentaries we've screened, and other related topics (if you don't already, please follow us here). Now, we've engaged a number of contributors to write for us on our very own site.

You'll meet them all in the coming months, and we'll share them with you both through the newsletter and social media. We'll put any updates on the next festival up here as well. We hope you'll read and follow and participate in the discussion.

We look forward to hearing from you - and we very much look forward to bringing you more jaw-dropping documentaries in 2018!


- The STF Team