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THE EVEREST CONNECTION is a series of three visually stunning, award winning, half hour films shot in the spectacular Mount Everest region of Nepal and featuring Sir Edmund Hillary. They provides a multi-dimensional portrait of the remarkable Sherpa people, as they face new forces of cultural and environmental change. It also traces their link to Canada through the development work of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada.

Produced, written and directed by Jack Micay (except as noted)

“Models of the short documentary form that has almost disappeared from TV.”
- The Toronto Star

Part 1: KUNDE HOSPITAL (27 minutes)

This film was originally broadcast on CBC’s “The Nature of Things”. It tells the story of the world’s highest hospital, situated at 12,000 feet in the Kumbu region of Nepal, near Mount Everest. Built by Sir Edmund Hillary for his Sherpa friends, it is now funded from Canada. The film follows the hospital’s two Canadian doctors, Jamie Uhrig and Penny Dawson, as they deal with the unique health problems of the Himalayas, such as mountaineering accidents and iodide deficiency leading to cretinism and goitre. They must also accommodate their practice to the local shamanistic forms of medicine. The film also captures some of the Sherpas’ colourful religious ceremonies and climaxes with the spectacular dance festival of Mani Rimdu. Written by William Whitehead.

Part 2: RESCUING EVEREST (27 minutes)

This film tells two stories. One is environmental, as it details the crisis of deforestation in the Mount Everest region of Nepal, which, like much of the Himalayas, is losing its forest cover. The consequences are disastrous, both locally and downstream in India where flooding from the run off is a major problem. The causes of the deforestation include tourism, a lack of alternative fuel, and the loss of local control over the forests. The other story is personal. Mingma Norbu is a young Sherpa forester in charge of Mount Everest National Park and its new reforestation program. With his family, he leaves his mountain home and journeys to the flatness of the Canadian prairies to further his studies in resource management. His thesis at the U. of Manitoba will become a plan to rescue the forests of Everest. The film contrasts their strange, new way of life in Winnipeg with the Sherpa culture they left behind.

Part 3: TENGBOCHE: A Threatened Sanctuary
(27 minutes)

This film provides a rare glimpse inside a Himalayan monastery. The viewer discovers the sensuous ritual life of Tibetan Buddhism, with its unique lineage of reincarnate lamas. Through a fluke of history, the migration of the Sherpas from Tibet to Nepal four hundred years ago, the famous Sherpa monastery at Tengboche survived intact while most monasteries in the motherland of Tibet were destroyed by the Chinese.This traditional institution is now threatened by another kind of foreign invasion, Western tourism. Unseen by foreign eyes until 1950, the Tengboche region is now visited by thousands of tourists a year. Their cash and consumer goods have undermined traditional values, which has led to a drastic drop in the enrollment of new young monks at Tengboche. With the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary and funding from Canada, the monastery is attempting to revitalize itself by building a new school combining religious and secular studies. The film follows the construction of this unusual building and climaxes with the opening ceremony where Sir Edmund is honored for his life long contribution to the Sherpa people.


Banff Mountainfilm Festival

Telluride Mountainfilm Festival

New Zealand International Film Festival

Festival International a Vila de Torello, Spain

Festival Int. de Cinema de Muntanya a Vila de Torello, Spain

Best Environmental Film, Calcutta Film Festival on Mountains