Tom Brokaw Quips Wise at Lunch for Meru

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.