As photographers and filmmakers, we tend to see and process life through our lens. In the midst of tragedy, we face the much-debated dilemma: shoot or intervene? One filmmaker did both in the midst of a terrible tragedy.
Filmmaker Elia Saikaly was at Basecamp on Mt. Everest last week as a major earthquake shook Nepal and triggered an avalanche which killed 16 people at the camp; many more were injured. Upwards of 7,000 people have lost their lives in the quake, 14,000 were injured and the fate of many more still unknown. In the days that followed, Elia did what he knew best – he picked up his camera and began documenting the rescue efforts and the devastation on the mountain before putting down his camera to help the injured.
Elia, part of a team for 6 Summits Challenge, was there to document the trip to raise money and awareness for child trafficking, but found himself with a very different task – honoring the brave and those who died in the tragedy, including his close friend, Dan Fredinburg. In the midst of the rescue efforts, Elia bore the brunt of people threatening him, shouting at him and chasing him, but he knew that this was a story that he had to tell.
This video does not do the real heroes of the day any justice at all. I wish I could have shown their bravery, but I was not welcomed anywhere with a camera. It was a hard moral dilema to even shoot this much. I hope those heroes step forward soon and share their stories. Their acts of bravery were remarkable. All of basecamp rallied together.
From 17,500 ft above sea level and with a 21kb/sec upload speed, Elia painstakingly edited and created the following video – a tribute to the fallen from his perspective. Our hearts go out to the people in Nepal, those still on Everest and those who lost their lives.