Q&A: Director Anson Fogel brings Cold to the Reel Rock Film Tour

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"What the fuck am I doing here?" asks mountain climber Cory Richards, in the opening seconds of Cold, one of six climbing films featured in the 2011 Reel Rock Film Tour that kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. at the Boulder Theater. It's a poignant question: Richards is at 21,959' and freezing his ass off at -51 degrees on February 2, 2011 when he asks it, taking a moment to speak to the camera for posterity just in case he doesn't make it through the ascent of Gasherbrum II, a 26,362' peak in the Himalayas that had foiled all previous winter attempts.

We caught up with Anson Fogel, the Carbondale-based filmmaker responsible for shaping Richards' footage from the trip into one of the year's most chilling documentaries, to see if he came away from the project with any answers.

Westword: So... What the fuck was Cory Richards doing out there?

Anson Fogel: It's a great line, and it's the first line in the film. Great films, and I don't know if this film is great or not, but the films that I love don't answer questions, they ask questions. I think that we all can identify with that character who puts himself into situations and then later second guesses them once he realizes what he's gotten himself into. Now, we're not all going to go climb 8,000-meter peaks in winter, or in summer for that matter, but all of us make decisions to do things that are painful sometimes. The question really is, 'Why do we choose to put ourselves in situations that are painful in the first place?' I think the answer is different for everybody, but it's a fundamental and fascinating part of what makes us human: Sometimes instead of running away from pain we run towards pain.


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