Touching the Void – Story Example (copy)

Touching the Void - Story Example (copy)
Critically acclaimed, Touching the Void was listed in PBS’s “100 Greatest Documentaries of All Time”. The Guardian described it as “the most successful documentary in British cinema history”.

Touching the Void is a 2003 docudrama survival film directed by Kevin MacDonald and starring Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron, and Ollie Ryall. The plot concerns Joe Simpson's and Simon Yates's disastrous and near-fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Cordillera Huayhuashin the Peruvian Andes in 1985. It is based on Simpson's 1988 book of the same name.

Critically acclaimed, Touching the Void was listed in PBS's "100 'Greatest' Documentaries of All Time". The Guardian described it as "the most successful documentary in British cinema history".

snowy mountain covered with fogs
Photographer: Sergei Akulich | Source: Unsplash

Anchor links

  1. Synopsis
  2. Production
  3. Responses
  4. Awards
  5. StoryChief tutorial


In 1985, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, both experienced mountaineers, set out to ascend the previously unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande in Peru. Though they reach the summit, a powerful storm develops and Joe suffers a badly broken leg in a fall during the descent. The pair attempt a self-rescue, deciding to lower Joe with ropes down the steep and snowy slope while an enormous storm rages on. Simon cannot see where he is lowering Joe and Joe eventually drops over the edge of a large cliff and is suspended by the rope in mid-air. Simon arrests his fall, but neither sees the predicament his partner is in nor hears him over the howling wind.

Unable to pull Joe back over the cliff and gradually losing traction in the loose snow, Simon realizes after about an hour that there is little chance of recovery from this situation for either of them and he decides to cut the rope connecting him with Joe. Simon descends after surviving a subzero and stormy night on the mountain but cannot find his partner. He assumes Joe is dead and returns to the base camp alone, where he stays to recover.

Joe, however, has actually survived the fall and is now trapped in a large crevasse. He manages to lower himself further into the dark abyss and finds an exit leading to the base of the mountain. He then spends days crawling back to base camp across glaciers and rocks, despite his broken leg, frostbite, and severe dehydration. Exhausted and near delirium, Joe reaches camp only a few hours before Simon intends to leave and return to civilization.

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The film stars Brendan Mackey as Joe Simpson, Nicholas Aaron as Simon Yates, and Ollie Ryall as Richard Hawking, and combines dramatizations with interviews with Simpson, Yates, and Hawking. Simpson and Yates doubled as their younger selves for long-distance shots of the snow-fluted couloirs of Siula Grande.[2] The film was directed by Kevin MacDonald.

When they collaborated on the film in 2003, Simpson and Yates had not seen one another for 10 years. – QUOTE

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During the making of the film, the director and producers invited Yates and Simpson to return to Siula Grande in 2002 for the first time since the events of 1985. Simpson, despite finding the return emotionally difficult and experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome on his return, eventually said that he was happy with the film and its portrayal of the events. Yates, on the other hand, reported having no emotional response to returning to Siula Grande, and decided to have nothing to do with the film once he had returned from the mountain.[4]

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According to the film's end notes, Yates received a great deal of criticism from the mountaineering community for cutting the rope on his partner during the descent after the climbers returned to Britain and the story of what happened emerged. In reality, Simpson has fully accepted that Yates did the right thing by cutting the rope, and risked his own life to help save Simpson's life, and has always defended him on that matter.

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Touching the Void won Best British Film at the 2004 BAFTA Awards.[6]

Peter Knegt at Indiewire called it one of the "10 incredible documentaries that weren't nominated for an Oscar".[7]

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The BBC1's Film 2011 included Brendan Mackey's performance as Joe Simpson in their 'Top Five Actors' who "Should Have Won An Oscar", along with Ingrid Bergman (for Casablanca), Anthony Perkins (for Psycho), Ralph Fiennes (for Schindler's List) and Jeff Bridges (for The Big Lebowski).

The film was released in theaters on 23 January 2004 and grossed $96,973 in the opening weekend. It went on to gross $4,593,598 in America and $9,292,204 from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $13,885,802 after 20 weeks.

Original music for the film was scored by Alex Heffes. The climbers reach the summit to the climax of Thomas Tallis's Spem in alium. During one of Simpson's many deliriums, he experiences a very strong reminiscence of a Boney M song he hated thoroughly, "Brown Girl in the Ring"; at one point thinking "Bloody hell, I'm going to die to Boney M".

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From Wikipedia

StoryChief Tutorial

Hi. I'm Dummy Story. You read that right. Dummy Story is right in the title but it also happens to be my name. My parents, Mr. and Mrs. Story, named me Dummy. They gave me life just so I could be here for you. I wish they'd named me Helpful or even Sample, but they chose Dummy. We're going to pretend it's okay.Anytime you want to quit and close the window, just think about the fact that I was born a Dummy and how sorry you feel for me. This is going to be an interactive process, so please stick with me. Stay with me until the end of the page. Please.

Formatting your words just right

See what I did there? "Formatting your words" used to be regular text just like you're reading now. But I made it a subheading. Just let me know when all of this gets too exciting for you.

Formatting toolbar

Once you select the words you want to format, and you'll see a toolbar pop up where you can choose to:

  • bold,
  • italicize, or
  • underline a word

You can even go really nuts make words:

  1. really small, or
  2. add links to redirect your readers elsewhere
  3. become in bulleted or numbered lists

I bet I just gave you goosebumps.The whole Dummy Story needs to be a success, so please humor me and play along. I just can't bear to be the laughing stock of the family.

"Here lies our beloved but failed Dummy Story."

Please don't let that be my epitaph. I need something better on my tombstone when I'm finally retired from StoryChief. At best, I've just not-so-subtly taught you how to add a quote to your story, haven't I?

Are you're wondering what that text bubble at the end of the toolbar is for>

Well, it's meant for comments during the editing process. Just select the questionable text in your story and click on the text box icon. Your text will turn orange. (Look at the top right of your screen NOW and you'll see there's a comment for you already.)

Adding stuff to your story (or Dummy Story)

I hear that adding stuff to your stories is all the rage now. Everybody's doing it and research shows that readers like you love all kinds of visual content.

So. I'm gonna need you to hit <Enter ↩> at the end of this sentence so I can start showing you how to add stuff. <HIT ↩ NOW>

Leave your cursor on the line above so I can tell you what each icon is for. Or, you can take your mouse and hover over each one of those grey icons on the toolbar and read for yourself. This is what you should see:

Media toolbar

Adding an image

All you have to do is click on the first icon in the bar and follow the instructions:

Now, once you've added an image (or even clicked on an image you've added previously), you'll see this menu pop up:

It means you can choose to make the image bigger or keep it the way it is. Big life decisions eh?

You can also hyperlink the image so that when your readers click on the image, it redirects them somewhere else.

Most importantly, don't forget about the eyeball.


The eyeball serves as a reminder for you to add an ALT tag. The ALT tag is not only important for SEO purposes, but for your blind or visually impaired visitors who need to know what the image is about.

Adding an image gallery

Apparently image galleries are considered way fancier than just adding one single image. Now you can include a gallery of your 18 best selfies of all time!Just click on the image gallery icon and…

Adding rich media

Because ain't nobody got time for poor media! Seriously though, adding rich media is a good way to be extra superficial. Showing off your social media posts can make you feel better about yourself. You can even embed quizzes or polls asking people how much they like you.

Embed media
Add rich media to your stories like Social posts, Videos, Forms, Tables and audio
View supported providers

Integrations marketplace

Adding lead capture forms

Lots of people use this for sales purposes. But you can also use it for finding people to stalk—er, I mean—date.

SEO and Readability

It's free! Just look at the top left corner of your screen and you'll see how you're doing. You can even click up there and you'll get details and guidance to live your very best storytelling life.If you look at the top right corner of your screen, then you'll see that you get to invite people to read the draft of your story and give feedback. Please be sure to check out the comments while you're there. There's lots more cool stuff that StoryChief has come up for you. Most questions you have will be answered by going to this link.

If you've made it to the end…

Thank you. You make me feel like I'm more than just a Dummy Story.

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