On the third floor of the townhouse that is "21," Tom Brokaw interviewed Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi, the star and filmmakers of the documentary Meru at a special lunch celebrating the film's success. (Meru is the number two non-fiction film at the box office, behind Amy.) Featuring climbers on the dangerous Shark's Fin of Meru, a mountain in the Himalayas more treacherous than Everest, Meru depicts a breathtaking journey to the top, focusing on the friendship among the climbers. Brokaw joked, for him, the hike up the three flights to the nautical-themed wood-lined dining space is an astonishing achievement.
That got a knowing laugh at a lunch taking place on the eve of the DOCNYC festival, and just as awards season gains momentum. Diners included Chuck Scarborough and others in the media, and much-honored documentary filmmakers Barbara Kopple, Robert Richter, Jehane Noujaim and Katharina Otto-Bernstein.
Barbara Kopple's documentary, Miss Sharon Jones!, about a soul/ funk singer many consider a female James Brown, will open DOCNYC on November 12. Katharina Otto-Bernstein is completing a film about Robert Mapplethorpe, the controversial photographer, for HBO. Noting the ephemeral nature of an action adventure, Otto-Bernstein said she prefers working in the comfort zone of art subjects -- which, of course, present their own challenges.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.