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Venice Film Festival to open with Jake Gyllenhall blockbuster Everest

Big screen, big stars, and the biggest of all mountains. That combination was enough to earn Universal Pictures’ Everest the right to open the 72nd Venice Film Festival. The film will premiere on September 2, 2015 at Venice’s Palazzo del Cinema.

First held in 1932, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest of its kind. The event is part of the “Big Three,” which includes the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival, traditionally considered to be the most influential film festivals in the industry. The festival is also one of the highlights of the Venice Biennale, a city-wide art exhibition that takes place once every two years.

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Everest is based on the story of two ill-fated climbing expeditions that were derailed by a fearsome snowstorm. The struggle that ensued pushed everyone involved to the breaking point and some well beyond it. The deep cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, and John Hawkes.

The film is reportedly adapted from several different accounts of the disaster and it will be interesting to see how the plot shakes out. Many of the climbers involved disagree on the details of the incident and some have been highly critical of the actions of their peers. Director Baltasar Kormakur is the man tasked with sorting all that out.

While the narrative is sure to create some controversy, the film’s setting should be undeniably authentic. THR reports that the cast and crew traveled to Nepal, shooting a portion of the film in the foothills of Everest itself.

The tragic 1996 expedition is well-chronicled, but this is the first time a big-budget Hollywood movie has tackled the subject. Previous retellings included a TV movie (Into Thin Air), and a Documentary (also called Everest).

Everest will hit large-format and Imax 3D screens on September 18th in the U.S., and all screens on September 25th.