A film about courage, passion and the freedom to leave out-dated gender roles behind
It was in Switzerland that an important part of modern alpinism’s foundation of was laid 200 years ago. This period also witnessed the rise of the profession of the highly skilled and well-respected mountain guide. Nowadays 1300 mountain guides officially work in the Swiss Alps. Only 36 of them are women.
In the present as in the past, mountaineering is and was not always easy for women. In the early days they were bothered by hooped skirts, lateron they were held back by institutional barriers. Until the 1980ies they were banned from entering the Swiss Alpine Club or qualifying as mountain guides. The first Swiss female qualified as a professional mountain guide in 1986.
Today female mountaineers in Switzerland are free from institutionl and social obstacles. At least at first glance. If you look more closely it becomes clear that mountaineering is a perfect mirror of our society as a whole: On the way to the top women still encounter many hindrances. Due to old boy networks and out-dated gender stereotypes in both men’s and women’s heads young ambitious female mountaineers still encounter a glass ceiling on the way to the top.
It is this situation that is portrayed in the documentary «The Steep Way Up» (52’), showing the struggles and success of three protagonists: A young alpinist dreaming of becoming a mountain guide and therefore voluntarily entering the Swiss Armed Forces’ mountain specialists for training reasons. An already strong alpinist completing the tough four-year-course to become a mountain guide and therefore having to prove herself in an environment where there has never been a female instructor or examiner to date. And last but not least an established alpinist and professional mountain guide in her 40ies, mother of two kids, knowing the dedication it takes for her and her partner to organize everyday family life with both parents working – one of them on narrow ridges and high summits.
To complete the picture, the film tells the eventful and emotional history of female mountaineering in Switzerland by presenting some impressive historic material of the last 150 years. With all of this, the film takes the spectator on an alpine journey, that starts over a century ago and brings us to the present and future of the modern Swiss society, telling an inspiring story of courage, passion and the freedom to leave out-dated gender attributions behind.
Mountaineering as a mirror of society
«The Steep Way Up» is way more than a film about mountaineering. It is also a film about an important part of women’s history of Switzerland and engages with questions about social realities today. With its bold protagonists the film furthermore shows three great examples of women who decided to ignore all obstacles and conventions and just climb to the top.
This is what I need backing for & who is behind it
We will use your support to finish the shootings in the mountains which are complex and costly.
Swiss Television and 3sat have already assured their support. The film will be broadcasted by both stations. Additionally some foundations declared their intent to support our project. Yet, so far we are not fully funded and some liquidity squeezes are not solved, yet.
Talking about «we» – who are we? Besides director Caroline Fink there is the fantastic team of producer Gitta Gsell with her production company Mirapix, cameraman Christoph Frutiger, film music composer Jordi Forniés and cutter Michi Hess.
BTW: For shooting in high altitude we replace any helicopter flights by pure manpower and womanpower. With this we keep costs and environmental pollution to a minimum.