K2 and the Invisible Footmen


Pakistan, 2015, 54 min. Director Iara Lee.

Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. For many climbers, it is an even greater prize than Everest, with limited routes, a steeper ascent, and a harder push to its summit. In 2008, a tragic disaster on K2 claimed the lives of 11 mountaineers. Four of those who lost their lives in the disaster were porters hired to carry the equipment and provisions of foreign climbing expeditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters — whether they provide critical supplies to expedition base camps or take on higher-altitude tasks in support of ascending climbers — take on difficult and dangerous work. These efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering.

Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker.  In 2010, she released a feature-length documentary entitled CULTURES OF RESISTANCE, which explores how creative action contributes to conflict prevention and resolution. As an extension of her commitment to the issues explored in the film, she also founded the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organization that promotes global solidarity, supports efforts to secure peace and social justice, and brings together artists and change-makers from around the world.