1. MT OLYMPUS: A century in the mountain of Mortals //

  2. a feature documentary in development.

  3. Director // Co-producer: Pavlos Tsiantos // http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1394161/combined

  4. Producer // Co-Director: Angelos Tsaousis 

  5. Scriptwriter: Mike Stullas // http://www.olympus-climbing.gr/refuge_en.html

  6. Length: One hour and Feature length Documentary

  7. Format: High Definition (HD)

  8. Shooting locations: Greece


Dawn August 2nd 1913. Three men climbing through steep rocky slopes in the early morning mist. They are roped together feeling cold and tired. The team leader is climbing barefoot, his wounded feet leaving blood marks on the rocks. Despite their different social background they are driven from a mutual desire to climb; their common determination leaving no chances for retreat. Finally, around 11:00 am they reach their goal: They are the first mortals invading the mythical place inhabited by the Olympian Gods. The three men standing atop Mount Olympus.  

It was the local goat hunter Christos Kakkalos together with Swiss mountaineers Fred Boissonnas and Daniel Baud-Bovy. Their inaugural ascent to the highest summit of Greece filled the gap between two eras: The 2500 year period of human history when the mountain was occupied by the twelve Olympian Gods, with the last 100 years when mortals reached the top of Mount Olympus; a century characterized by the rebirth of Greece a result of liberation from the 450 year long Ottoman occupation.

Dr Michael Styllas is managing the highest refuge of Mount Olympus, refuge “Christos Kakkalos”, named after the pioneer goat hunter that was the first mortal to reach the mountain’s top. A climber himself, Michael has found on Mount Olympus the proper conditions to combine his geological background with his passion for climbing. In 2007 Michael together with his friend Vasilis Naxakis began a research project concerning the climate changes in northern Greece, by studying the glacier changes on Mount Olympus. The project ended abruptly when Vasilis died climbing in the mountains of Pakistan’s Hindukush.


Michael wanted to continue the project and he succeeded so by joining forces with researchers from the Norwegian Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. Spending his time between retrieving sediment samples, being a hospitable hut keeper communicating with visitors and climbing on the steep walls of Mount Olympus, Michael is the basic narrator of the documentary as the movie flow jumps from the past to present by highlighting major facts that shaped the history of Greece during the last century.

The representation of the climb to the summit of Mount Olympus based on the journals and photographic material of the Swiss mountaineers comprises the basic script of the documentary. But this is not just another representation of an ascent to a mountain top. Along with the three men climbing, the focus of the movie shifts to the social disturbances characterized the last 100 years of Greek history. Above all the movie highlights a value missing from most people’s everyday life in the name of another economical crisis: Love. Like the love of Fred Boissonnas for Greece illustrated within his journals and his correspondence with his wife Augusta. The love of Christos Kakkalos for his homeland: Mount Olympus. The love of the three men for life expressed through their adventure to reach a certain goal, shaping in their way the flow of modern history.

Fred Boissonnas had stated about Greece: “Where other people observed ruins made of marble, we could see a great civilization fully alive to the present”. Through Michael’s narrating, the story of the first ascent to the top of Mount Olympus together with the description of major socioeconomic disturbances that took place in Greece are contemplated by visual illustrations of Mount Olympus natural richness and beauty. On second view Michael’s relation with his hometown Thessaloniki is also presented permitting in this way the documentary to move outside the strict bounds of Mount Olympus and thus provide a broadened view about the history of Greece. Marching towards the 100th anniversary of the first climb to the summit of Mount Olympus, Michael Styllas the contemporary “Man of Olympus” fills the gap between two time periods: the first one characterized by the tremendous efforts of Greece to stand up as pictured through the lens of Fred Boissonnas and the second one representing the post Second World War Greek reality.   





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