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Oscar-Winning Documentary ‘Free Solo’ Lands Seven Emmy Nominations

The film's director says "surgical" precision was required to shoot the documentary and is now being honored with an Emmy nomination.

"Free Solo"

“Free Solo”

Nat Geo

Five months after winning the Oscar for best documentary, “Free Solo” landed seven Emmy nominations Tuesday. The National Geographic film, which chronicles mountaineer Alex Honnold’s nail-biting climb up the 3,000-foot El Capitan without a rope, landed Television Academy nods for directing, editing, cinematography, interactive media, sound editing, sound mixing, and music composition.

“We are so happy to see everyone who worked on this film recognized — from our spectacular cinematography team, editing, score and sound. It’s amazing to have our peers celebrate them as we do. We’re very honored to be recognized for directing in such an important and competitive year in non-fiction filmmaking,” said E. Chai Vasarhelyi, who directed the movie with her husband Jimmy Chin, who was also one of its cinematographers.

Vasarhelyi and Chin are vying for outstanding documentary directing against Chris Smith for “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” Dan Reed for “Leaving Neverland,” Julie Cohen and Betsy West for “RGB,” and Tim Wardle for “Three Identical Strangers

Deft verité filmmaking was on display in “Free Solo” as the wife-husband pair and their crew faced their own struggles in safely capturing Honnold’s physical and emotional feats. Chin told IndieWire in February that “surgical” precision was required to shoot Honnold’s risky climb up the Yosemite rock face.

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One of the film’s cameramen, Andrew Berends, died in the spring.

“OJ: Made in America” was a recent prominent example of documentary Oscar-Emmy double-dipping. The 2016 ESPN five-parter won best documentary at the 89th Academy Awards and went on to win directing and editing Emmys.

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