Cinema and meetings under the Karakorum Sky: opening in Skardu of the new headquarters of the park 

SKARDU, Pakistan - The axe sinks into the snow searching the ice, a woman climbs the steep slope of the Aiguille Verte. Under the vertical two ropes climb down, tied to two climbers far below. In the background of this image, Mont Blanc and beyond the profile of the pyramid of the Italian K2 Museum in Skardu.

In the garden of the Museum, crammed in front of the screen, 500 people are lingering, enchanted by Catherine Destivelle’s simple and precise gestures, by her smile, by the embrace joining on the top her and two older friends of hers. The profiles of the Pakistani mountains can be seen through the beams of light from the projector.

We are in Skardu, the gateway to the great mountains of the Karakoram. This image of so many people, Pakistani and Italian, in silence in front of a memorable scene of mountaineering and friendship, the final of the movie “Beyond the Summits”, is best suited to tell “The Italian Science and Cooperation at the Shadow of K2”. Four days full of events to celebrate the cooperation between Italy and Pakistan. For the Pakistanis who live in these mountains, listening every morning to the mullah, struggling against cold for seven months a year, this is a special evening.

On September 10th the events in Islamabad closed and the festival in fact continued in Skardu. Upon arrival, the Italian delegation was invited by the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Mr Syed Mehdi Shah to visit Kaplu and spend the evening with him.

On the afternoon of September 12th Michele Locatelli and Hermes Invernizzi from the Politecnico di Milano, curators of the exhibition “Through the CKNP”, showed the Chief Minister, the local authorities, the Italian researchers and many Skardu citizens the new exhibition installed for this occasion in the Italian K2 Museum. Maps, animals, graphics, and mountains: the exhibition wants to illustrate the Park and the results of the studies carried out as part of the SEED Project for the preparation and implementation of the Management Plan of the Park.

Raffaele Del Cima alla mostra Through CKNP

Then, in a garden where there were more than 500 people, the Concordia Rescue Team was presented and the Mountain Film Festival began. The first movie was “Scientist on the roof of Asia” of Stefano Ardito, dedicated to the figure of Filippo De Filippi and to the Italian scientific research in Karakorum, that continues to this day with the EvK2CNR activities.

Once the first night of the festival was over, a large delegation went to the new home of CKNP, for what the Chief Minister Mr Syed Mehdi Shah said, smiling, to be the first night opening of his life.

The new headquarters of the park are made as part of the SEED Project. “This venue will be a landmark of great importance for the Park. Here we will collect data and we will manage the park” a glowing Abid Ali, Director of the Central Karakorum National Park, said. “I want to thank EvK2CNR, that followed the making of the building, and in particular Agostino Da Polenza, Raffaele Del Cima, Maurizio Gallo and the architect Michele Locatelli”.

This evening, with the second and final meeting, the Mountain Film Festival ended. During the beautiful documentary by Nicholas Square, “The Karakoram Anomaly”, some inhabitants of Skardu has been able to recognize himself on the screen; some other instead, carrier or driver, saw himself in the Spanish movie “Next time Inshallah” on the 2011 winter trial to climb Gasherbrum I.  The festival ended with the projection of “Mount St. Elias”, about the first descent on ski from the peak. The same mountain was climbed for the first time in 1909 by the Duke of the Abruzzi and De Filippi. Thus, in an indirect way, one of the figures we wanted to celebrate to tell one hundred years of relationships and scientific cooperation between Italy and Pakistan, comes back once again.


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