Park City Film Series gets ‘Psycho Vertical’ |

Park City Film Series gets ‘Psycho Vertical’

Park City is a town that thrives on adventure, especially when it comes to outdoor adventure.

Keeping that in mind, the Park City Film Series will present a special screening of Jen Randall’s “Psycho Vertical,” Jen Randall’s Banff Mountain Film Festival-winning documentary about British mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick’s 18-day solo ascent of El Capitan, one of the most technical and extreme climbs in Yosemite National Park, in 2015.

The film, which will screen at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave., is not rated and part of the Park City Film Series’ REEL Community Series, said Executive Director Katharine Wang.

“We have wanted to bring the Banff Mountain Film Festival to town for many years,” Wang said. “This year they did a collection on Salt Lake, and since it was an involved process to bring the whole collection up, we decided to bring one of the winners that speaks to our community to town.”

“He had a very difficult childhood and found his life’s passion in climbing…” — Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director

The film is based on Kirkpatrick’s memoir of the same title.

“He is a world-renowned alpinist and is just fearless in his pursuit and passion,” Wang said. “He’s also honest and continues to overcome his demons. He had a very difficult childhood and found his life’s passion in climbing, which encompasses his goals, aspirations and unquenchable search for adventure.”

The film’s narrative swings back and forth between telling the climber’s personal story and him making the ascent.

“The cinematography is amazing, and you feel that you’re right with him on the mountain,” Wang said.

The film won’t just appeal to climbers.

“Climbers can relate to the technical difficulties Andy is going through in this particular climb, and the span of his career, but the film also does a good job, through visual imagery and build up, to tell his life story and relay what it takes to persevere on a climb like this for someone who is not a climber,” Wang explained.

Viewers will all conclude that if Kirkpatrick makes a wrong move, he can potentially fall to his death.

“There’s a quote in the movie, where he says, ‘sometimes the thing that you love can be the thing that kills you, but it doesn’t have to dictate who you become,’” Wang said. “And the audience gets a glimpse of the dichotomy of whose controlling whom? Is it his demons driving him or is he controlling his passion and realizing his dreams?”

“Psycho Vertical” runs just a little over an hour.

“It’s a tight story and the right length for this type of documentary,” Wang said. “Andy is a very funny person and while there are some intense segments, some scenes have a lightheartedness to them. I’m not surprised that this film won the [Best Film: Climbing honors] at Banff.”

In addition to the screening, Thursday evening’s event will include some giveaways and a post-screening discussion.

“The film is sponsored by Montane, an outdoor clothing company, so we will have some fun prizes,” Wang said. “We are in the process of scheduling the speaker. And we’ll announce that sometime this week.”

The Park City Film Series will screen Jen Randall’s “Psycho Vertical,” not rated, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for admission. For information, visit

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