Jurek is a documentary about Jerzy Kukuczka (1948-1986), a Polish mountaineer, considered to be one of the best high-altitude climbers in history. He ascended fourteen of the world’s tallest mountains in less than eight years, a world record he held for 27 years. Kukuczka established several new mountain routes, ascending often in winter, and mostly without oxygen.
Jurek documents the success of a mountaineer during the era of Communism in Poland. The challenges of finding financial support and good equipment did not prevent Jerzy Kukuczka from competing with the famous Reinhold Messner in a rivalry to climb the highest Himalayan peaks. The film depicts the difficult yet stimulating environment in 1980’s Poland during the golden age of Polish climbing, when idealism was valued more than fame. It contains interviews with family and friends, archival recordings, and excerpts from TV shows.
Jurek was recently awarded a Grand Prix at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. The director, Paweł Wysoczański, one of the most talented young Polish documentary filmmakers and winner of numerous awards in Poland and abroad, will be present at the screening.