Having participated in many festivals around the world, and gained international recognition, The Seventh Summit real-life film, produced and directed by Lebanese multi-award winning filmmaker Elia Youssef, is featured on Oryx Media, streaming on all Qatar Airways flights, as well as on iTunes and Amazon Prime.
With a running time of 1h 5min, The Seventh Summit documentary tells the real story of four mountaineers who took on the Seven Summits Challenge as of 2009. As you know by now from our previous articles, the Seven Summits Challenge is a mountaineering adventure that involves scaling the highest peak on each of the seven continents of the world.
At this stage, these four intrepid mountaineers had already summited six of the seven summits together and now face the challenge of summiting Mt. Denali in Alaska. Who are they? Will they achieve their long-awaited dream? Will they eventually make it or not?
That successful real-life thrilling film has earned the producer and director many awards and international recognition. Born in Beirut in 1986, Elia Youssef started achieving early in his career a variety of exciting assignments that brought him to master the art of filmmaking.
For the past 10+ years, he has pushed through cultural boundaries in his creation of groundbreaking documentaries, determined to make a difference in the filmmaking industry.
From filmmaking and directing TV commercials, music videos, television shows, and documentaries, Elia continues to “fuel his desire to create thought-provoking work that touches the soul of humanity,” believing that “truth is often stranger and more entertaining than fiction.” Hence the importance for him to resurrect nonfiction storytelling in his trade, which we see in his 2016 documentary film The Seventh Summit.
For Elia, the art of filmmaking is a constant source of new learnings. Passionate about life, traveling, and human diversity, Elia stands as an explorer in his own right, always seeking to learn about -and capture- realities, which characters he films in a truthful, meaningful, and insightful way.
In The Seventh Summit, he brings the viewers to enter a world of “the unexpected” with the mountaineers, triggering their emotions with uncertainty and suspense.
He accompanies the four mountaineers with his camera, from preparation to final: Suzanne Al Houby, the first Arab woman to summit Mt. Everest in 2011, joins the team of Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, a 34-year-old from Qatar, and his friends 44-year-old Raed Zidan from Palestine and 36-year-old Massoud Kalafji from Iran; the three having climbed already 6 of the 7 summits together.
Seeking to sensibilize the public to the real characters, Elia starts his documentary with Sheikh Mohammad’s motivational talks at schools, universities, and companies. He then moved into giving us insights into the team’s conversations as each mountaineer tells about their adventures together and about each other, revealing how they each play a role when together in the mountains.
The film is not just about the climbing challenge but also about the people involved, bringing this artwork to another level, a human one, as we get to relate to and identify with them, while the adventure is closely monitored, and conveyed in the film.
We get to see them doing special workouts at the gym, preparing their equipment, and arriving at the starting point of their exploit at the foot of the mountain, to then enjoy in suspense a day-to-day account of their trip.
The movie goes back and forth between them scaling the mountain and them reminiscing about being back home with their family and friends. As the days go by, they start to face tough challenges, temperatures of -40 degrees, and winds reaching a record speed of 140km/h. And we get to wonder in apprehension if the mighty mountain will conquer them instead…
The Seventh Summit is a masterpiece of real-life movie. It affords the public a unique up-close perspective at the characters and the challenge of climbing Mount Denali in Alaska, and on summiting the world’s mighty mountains in general.
In addition to the insights from the mountaineers’ perspectives, the film brings us the thrill and suspense as we get to feel their experience…. from the safety and warmth of our comfy spots.
This memorable cinematography with heart and purpose -which you can watch it via iTunes or Amazon Prime, or if you are taking any flight with Qatar Airways- positions our Lebanese filmmaker Elia Youssef towards new heights in his profession.
His main life motto states, “Live your life with purpose and not by default, strengthen your life rather than living in comfort.” And he encourages the Lebanese youth to dream big and to follow their dreams, no matter what.