Want to watch the world’s first all-Black Everest expedition reach the roof of the world? Grab the popcorn and get comfy.
REI and a coterie of filmmakers announced today that they would produce a feature-length film covering the Full Circle Everest expedition.
Emmy-nominated director and producer Rolake Bamgbose (“The Weekly,” “The Day Sports Stood Still”) and acclaimed writer, director, and producer Justice A. Whitaker (“Restrictions Apply,” “Vice News”) will direct and produce the project via their Shango Light Films banner.
Executive producers for REI are also on board, including Paolo Mottola, Joe Z. Crosby, and Hanna Boyd.
The documentary-style action follows the nine Full Circle Everest summiteers as they reckon with racial issues and stereotypes in mountaineering and seek to conduct a global cultural exchange as part of their expedition.
Along with eight Nepali Sherpas, the team reached the Mount Everest summit early on May 12. When they stood on the summit, they nearly doubled the number of Black mountaineers to do so in its entire history, per the Full Circle website.
Bamgbose and Whitaker started discussing the documentary in early 2020 with Full Circle climbing team leader Phil Henderson. Henderson and the team then decided to give the husband-and-wife duo exclusive access to the expedition.
In a statement, the filmmaking team said, “The film’s true emotional anchor is embedded in the individual journeys undertaken by each of the climbers, representing the diversity of the Black experience in the outdoor community.”
The nine Full Circle climbers to summit Everest included Henderson, Manoah Aniuu, Fred Campbell, Abby Dione, James “KG” Kagambi, Thomas Moore, Demond “Dom” Mullins, Rosemary Saal, and Eddie Taylor.
“REI Co-op Studios is committed to producing transformative stories that challenge historically narrow depictions of what it means to be outside and who the outdoors is for,” said Mottola, REI Co-op’s director of content and media.
“We’re honored to support filmmakers Bamgbose and Whitaker in their vision, help celebrate the Full Circle team’s achievement, and contribute to a more equitable outdoor community.”
Per REI, release dates, cost to watch, and distribution plans for the film were still undefined as of this writing.