National Geographic Documentary Films announced today that Torn, from photographer and National Geographic Explorer Max Lowe and producer Chris Murphy, along with Lightbox’s award-winning producers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, will open in select theaters on Dec. 3, 2021.
The film premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival and won the award for Best Feature Film at BANFF. Released in partnership with Dada Films, Torn captures the Lowe-Ankers’ intense personal journey through love and loss with eldest son, Max, behind the lens.
On Oct. 5, 1999, Alex was tragically lost alongside cameraman and fellow climber David Bridges in a deadly avalanche on the slopes of the Tibetan mountain, Shishapangma.
Miraculously surviving the avalanche was Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker.
After the tragedy, Anker and Alex’s widow, Jennifer, fell in love, married, and Anker stepped in to help raise Alex’s three sons.
In 2016, 17 years after their deaths, Lowe’s and Bridges’ bodies were discovered, and Lowe’s family journeyed to the remote Himalayan Mountains to recover the men’s remains.
In the powerful and deeply moving Torn, director Max Lowe examines the long-buried feelings that the discovery unearthed for him and his family members.
Weaving together archival footage of Alex’s spellbinding adventures, revealing home movies, and emotional interviews with Jennifer, Sam, Isaac and Conrad, Lowe challenges long-held family myths and questions his own beliefs as he creates an insightful examination of fatherhood, love, loss and resilience set against the high-stakes world of professional mountain climbing.
“I will never make another film in my life quite like Torn,” said director Max Lowe. “I have poured my soul into this intimate story of my family’s loss and redemption. To be able to share that with audiences across the world is a very special opportunity.”
“Their story is singular but its themes of healing and resilience in the face of tragedy are universal,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president of Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films for National Geographic. “We know Torn will provide a beautiful and cathartic emotional experience for audiences around the world.”
Torn is directed by first-time feature filmmaker Max Lowe with Murphy as producer.
Producing for Lightbox is two-time Academy Award winner Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) and Academy Award nominee Jonathan Chinn (Black Sheep, LA 92); the editor is Michael Harte (Three Identical Strangers).
Other critically-acclaimed films under the banner include Ron Howard’s Rebuilding Paradise; Sundance Audience Award winners Science Fair and Sea of Shadows; Emmy winners LA 92 and Jane, both of which were included in the top 15 documentaries considered for an Academy Award in 2017; and Dupont Award winner Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS.