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S4C climbing documentary reaches new heights

12/11/2009

An emotionally-charged S4C documentary about the brilliant young rock climber, Ioan Doyle, has scooped another major award - this time at the Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival in Germany.

Dringo i'r Eitha' (Climbing to the Limits), a programme in the Wynebau Newydd series first broadcast last year, won the top prize in the 'Mountain Experience' category at the 7th Tegernsee festival.

It follows other major awards, including the prestigious Spirit of the Festival award at this year's Celtic Media Festival, both The Special Jury Award and The Slovenian National Television Award at the 2009 International Mountain Film Festival held in Domzale, Slovenia and the Camera Alpine Gold Award at the Graz Film Festival in Austria.

The film was directed by Llanberis-based filmmaker and climber Alun Hughes for production company Cwmni Da and portrays climber Ioan Doyle as he tackles his most challenging climbs yet during his first summer of real rock climbing.

Dringo i'r Eitha' follows Ioan, 16 at the time, from Bethesda, Gwynedd, as he tackles extreme climbs in Snowdonia, and then his first 8a sports climb in Kalymnos, Greece, whose technical difficulty is only mastered by a small elite of climbers; finally we see him on the big walls of Yosemite Valley, California, USA.

Producer Ifor ap Glyn of Cwmni Da, said, “Alun's own excellence as a climber means he can get stunning shots that others can only dream of. However, he is also a sensitive observational documentary maker and it's this combination of talents that has made Dringo i'r Eitha such a success.”

The programme also gives a vivid portrayal of Ioan's mother Catrin, who has to cope with her own fears as her son's ever-soaring ambition as a climber leads him to tackle ever more challenging climbs. The programme also features Ioan's climbing partner, Malcolm ‘Mills’ Davies, who remarkably has a fear of heights.

The jury at Tegernsee Festival said: "Dringo i'r Eitha' distinguishes itself from other climbing films in that it points at realities far beyond sportive exploits. The film inquires into the motivation of young mountaineers. The result is a gripping and very personal portrait."

S4C's Director of Commissioning, Rhian Gibson said: "We are delighted that the documentary film Dringo i'r Eitha has enjoyed further success at this major international mountain festival. The programme reflects S4C's benchmark of quality in documentary programming and combines a powerful human interest story with striking filming to produce an unforgettable programme. We congratulate everyone involved in the production."

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