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‘Everest: A Tribute to the Fallen’ – Filmmaker Documents The Tragedy From The Avalanche

By Hanssie on May 3rd 2015

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  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.

[Via Elia Saikaly on Vimeo].

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Thomas Horton

    Taking pictures while others are busy trying to save lives is not a way to make too many friends.

    I hope he, at least, did not hamper or hinder any of the rescuers. Sometimes photographers lose the “big picture” in order get the little picture.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      Agreed. I hope that he didn’t hamper the rescue operation and perhaps chipped in with the rescue efforts. I’ve seen news footage of the recovery of survivors from the towns and the “news paparazzi” are in close contact with the rescuers. Hey guys! Back off!

      But one thing of this video caught my attention! The faux film advance sound used for changing scenes. This is 2015! Who shoots film these days? Okay, I do; but my Canon A-1 and F-1N with their motor drives sound different from my 5D.

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    • Thomas Horton

      When I was an EMT, I remember having to literally elbow my way through a crowd while carrying a gurney with a patient.

      No one cared about the patient, it was all entertainment for them.

      This is one of the reasons we always wanted LE to be at our calls.

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  2. Brandon Dewey

    That was a sad day. Great video!

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    • Ralph Hightower

      Yes it was. No bucket list check-offs for that day. Those that wanted to check off a bucket list of climbing Everest this year since climbing season is closed.

      An even bigger tragedy are those down below base camp in the towns with housing collapsed and religious and cultural places destroyed.

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