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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Daniel Meincke
Tim & Maureen Clark, Wendy Ellis, Tom & Yolanda Lobacz, Paul Meincke
Running Time
16 Mins.

 "Climbing Kili" Review 
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Far more entertaining and inspiring than anything brought forth by Jack Nicholson or Morgan Freeman, "Climbing Kili" is the true story of three middle-aged couples who decide to tackle one big ole' bucket list item...climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

While it is common for directors to wrap a film such as "Climbing Kili" around a heartwarming story of overcoming obstacles, triumphing over nature or some other weepy storyline, in "Climbing Kili" director Daniel Meincke wisely trusts his intelligent, sensitive subjects to sell the story themselves along with the stellar camera work of Michael Noens and an excellent original score by Theadore. In a mere 16 minutes, Meincke patiently brings out the story of a group of friends whose loyalty, perseverance and self-sacrifice is a lesson for us all.

Nominated for a 2009 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award, "Climbing Kili" works beautifully because Meincke focuses the film on the ensemble nature of the adventure. While each person involved may very well be there for a different reason, it quickly becomes clear that they are sharing this adventure together with great intention and genuine affection for one another. Each individual succeeds in different ways, while each individual faces different challenges along the way.

Meincke incorporates footage of the climb itself with post-climb interviews and personal reflections from each climber about the impact of the experience. The final result is a short film that feels less manipulative and histrionic and more grounded in the very real human thoughts and feelings of accomplishing most Americans will never accomplish.