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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

A.V. Filmmaker Peaks With Everest Documentary

Most filmmakers will go to incredible lengths in support of their art but few would likely go the lengths that Allan Smith did for the documentary “Eight Summits.” The Antelope Valley resident scaled to the top of the world in May 2012 to film an ascent on Mount Everest by 70-year-old Bill Burke, the oldest American to reach the peak. This climb and seven others make up the hour-long “Eight Summits.” Smith is now working with a distributor to get the film on cable channels and in the home entertainment market. Smith has bagged peaks more than 14,000 feet high in California and Colorado but had never done it before the high-altitude climbing required for Everest. Part of his training regimen was working with a personal trainer. “The most important thing was to go to the gym four or five times a week for a lot of cardio work,” he said. Smith owns DreamQuest Productions in Pasadena, a production company specializing in making films in hostile terrains and of indigenous cultures. Recently, Smith was in Transnistria, a separatist region in the former Soviet republic of Moldova hostile to outsiders. Smith and Burke met at the Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles. Burke, a retired corporate lawyer from Orange County, was an inspiration in that he began high-altitude climbing at 60 years old, Smith said. “Just because you are retired you are not destined to go to the golf course,” he added. “That was my driving force (for the film).” The Everest segment of the film takes in not just Burke’s climbs on the north and south faces of the mountain but some of the ancillary activities that people may not be aware of, Smith said. For instance, there is the Himalayan Rescue Association that provides medical care for climbers, and the Trash for Cash program that brings down the garbage that accumulates at the high-altitude base camps. “We featured a lot of things that add to the story that have not been captured before,” Smith said. John McLean Media in Seattle has acquired the distribution rights to “Eight Summits” for the U.S. and international markets. McLean Media had previously distributed a previous documentary by Smith, “Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers.” 3D Trophy Pixar Animation Studios will receive the Sir Charles Wheatstone Award for creative excellence from the International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society. The Studio City-based society is recognizing Pixar for its contributions to filmmaking and storytelling in the 3D format. Pixar, in Emeryville, is owned by Walt Disney Co., the Burbank entertainment and media giant. Receiving the Wheatstone Award is “awesome” in every dimension of the word, said John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. “In our films, story is the most important ingredient and 3D is an incredible tool to help tell those stories; it builds emotion, lands a joke and expands a world; 3D truly helps us make our films great,” Lasseter said in a prepared statement. In 2012, Pixar’s ‘Brave’ received the society’s “Best Animated 3D Feature” award. Other honors include “Best 3D Short Film” awards for “Partly Cloudy” (2010), “Day and Night” (2011) and “La Luna” (2012). The award is named for a 19th century inventor credited with creating the stereoscope, an early machine that displayed 3D images. The awards will be presented Jan. 28 at an event at Warner Bros. Studios. Musical Toast Boutique production music library Black Toast Music placed its 10,000th track in the upcoming feature film, “Can a Song Save Your Life?” So what does that mean for company founder and chief executive Bob Mair? “It means I am a success, I have not fallen by the wayside,” Mair said. Black Toast, in Chatsworth, has a catalogue of more than 6,000 tracks available for use in films, television shows, commercials and video games. “Can a Song Save Your Life?” came to the company through its music supervisor who was looking for a song with a particular style. Mair came up with “This Is Who I Am,” a pop-rock tune from Shelayne heard over the opening credits. At the time of Mair’s involvement, the film was an indie production. A screening at the Toronto International Film Festival attracted the attention of the Weinstein Co. in Santa Monica, which picked it up for U.S. distribution. “It went from an indie to a major release,” Mair said. Black Toast’s extensive catalogue, accessible to clients online, contains a wide diversity of musical styles. The fun of what he does is in the research and learning about new music, Mair said. “On an almost daily basis I get e-mails asking for something that I had no clue existed,” he added. “That is what keeps things fresh, the constant learning.” Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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