MERU: Highly Anticipated Climbing Film Premieres August 14th

The film Meru – which chronicles the first successful ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru Central by climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk – will premiere in theaters in the United States beginning August 14th. [with complete list of showings]

By Patrick McCormick | July 23rd, 2015

View from the Shark’s Fin, Meru Central. [Photo: Video screen-shot, see below]The film Meru – which chronicles the first successful ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru Central by climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk – will premiere in theaters in the United States beginning August 14th.

“This is the anti-Everest,” says Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer in the film’s trailer, “It’s the test of the master-climber.”

Anker, Chin, and Ozturk’s efforts to meet that test – a high altitude alpine climb capped by a 1,500 foot big wall of blank, overhanging granite – propel the plot of Meru codirected by Chin and his wife, documentary filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi.

“The reason Meru is different is that on Everest you can climb it with a lot of support. You have Sherpa support,” says Vasarhelyi, in remarks to Park City Television. While on Meru, “it was just the three guys on the mountain.”

The Shark’s Fin on Meru Central (20,700 feet) slices skyward at the headwaters of the Ganges River in Northern India.

To succeed on Meru, “You can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good rock climber,” says Krakauer. “It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for all time.”

Many thought ascent to be impossible. In fact, the Shark’s Fin has been the site of a higher number of failed ascents than any other Himalayan peak in the last three decades.

 The Shark’s Fin has been the site of a higher number of failed ascents than any other Himalayan peak in the last three decades. [Photo: Video screen-shot, see below]The name of the peak itself is imbued with cosmological overtones.

Meru names the sacred mountain in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cosmology that marks the epicenter of both the physical and metaphysical universes.

Its Himalayan namesake seems to have occupied a similar interior topography for Anker, Chin, and Ozturk.

The singular challenge posed by a first ascent of the Shark’s Fin became a haunting quest for each of them. For Anker in particular, the climb was a means of fulfilling the vision of his own mentor Mugs Stump.

The team first attempted the climb in October 2008, yet what was intended to be, as the filmmakers describe, “a seven-day trip with the equivalent amount of food became a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures, thanks to the setback of a massive storm that showered the mountain with at least 10 feet of snow.”

Unfortunately, this required the team to abandon their push just one hundred heartbreaking meters away from the summit.

Anker successfully convinced Chin and Ozturk to return in September 2011.

Meru tells the story of what happens next. And it is already attracting the attention of an audience far beyond just the climbing community.

The film won the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for U.S. Documentaries – which could be a harbinger of even more acclaim to come – as other recipients of this honor have later received Academy Award nominations.

Jimmy Chin: Climber and cinematographer.“I have always felt a certain level of ambivalence towards climbing in the big mountains,” says codirector Jimmy Chin in a recent blog post.

“In making Meru, our hope was not just to give people a visceral experience of modern, cutting edge ‘mountain climbing,’ but more importantly, an honest look at the life, the loss, the elation and ultimately, the intractable decisions faced by people who’ve made a life of climbing high altitude alpine peaks…The process may have only deepened my ambivalence. Love or hate? Freedom or incarceration? I don’t have the answer but I am proud and grateful to share a film…that will hopefully open your eyes to another world and let you decide for yourself which side of the ridge to stand on.”

For further information and showtimes see below, or visit


MERU – Official Trailer

City | Opening Date Theater

New York, NY – Aug 14, 2015 – Lincoln Plaza

New York, NY – Aug 14, 2015 – Angelika Film Center New York

Los Angeles, CA – Aug 14, 2015 – Nuart Theatre

Minneapolis, MN – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Lagoon Cinema

Seattle, WA – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Guild 45th

Denver, CO – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Theatres

Boulder, CO – Aug 14, 2015 – Cinemark

San Francisco, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas

Berkeley, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Shattuck Cinema

San Rafael, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Smith Rafael Film Center

San Jose, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Camera Cinemas – Camera 7

Pasadena, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Laemmle Playhouse

Encino, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Laemmle Town Center

Camarillo, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Regency Paseo Camarillo

Santa Cruz, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Nickelodeon, Santa Cruz

Laguna Niguel, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Regency Rancho Niguel

San Diego, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Ken Cinema

Washington, D.C. – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark E Street Cinemas

Tacoma, WA – Aug 21, 2015 – Grand Cinema

Atlanta, GA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Midtown Art

Baltimore, MD – Aug 21, 2015 – The Charles

Philadelphia, PA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Ritz Five

Palm Springs, CA – Aug 28, 2015 – Camelot Theatres

Palm Desert, CA – Aug 28, 2015 – Cinemas Palme d’Or

Boston, MA – Aug 28, 2015 – Landmark Kendall Square

Dallas, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Angelika Film Center Dallas

Plano, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Angelika Film Center Plano

Ft. Worth, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – The Modern

Houston, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Sundance Cinemas Houston

Austin, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Regal Arbor 8

Salt Lake City, UT – Aug 28, 2015 – Broadway Centre Cinemas

Bellingham, WA – Aug 28, 2015 – Pickford Film Center

Boise, ID – Aug 28, 2015 – The Flicks

Portland, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Cinema 21

Eugene, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Bijou Theatre

Bend, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Tin Pan Theater

Lancaster, CA – Sep 4, 2015 – BLVD Cinemas

Madison, WI – Sep 4, 2015 – Sundance Cinemas Madison

Winston Salem, NC – Sep 4, 2015 – Aperture Cinema

Chicago, IL – Sep 4, 2015 – Music Box Theatre

Honolulu, HI – Sep 4, 2015 – Kahala Theatre

Cleveland, OH – Sep 4, 2015 – Cedar Lee Theatre

Cincinnati, OH – Sep 4, 2015 – Danbarry Turfway

Winston-Salem, NC – Sep 4, 2015 – a/perture cinema

Ft. Collins, CO – Sep 4, 2015 – Lyric Cinema Cafe

Corvallis, OR – Sep 11, 2015 – Darkside Cinema

Winchester, VA – Sep 25, 2015 – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema


About the Author

Patrick McCormick is a visiting scholar at the University of Notre Dame. His writing on human rights and multilateral affairs has been published by a range of outlets including CNN, Ethics and International Affairs, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

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