National Geographic Channel has set March 3 for the broadcast TV premiere of Free Solo, the Oscar-nominated documentary that chronicles the first ropeless ascent of Yosemite’s 3,200-foot El Capitan. It will air commercial-free on Nat Geo in the U.S., followed by a global rollout in 172 countries and 43 languages.
Free Solo directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin follow Alex Honnold as he begins training for the climb but sees the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly break apart when he begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. The docu captures deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb that results in a triumph of the human spirit.
“When we were making this film, we could not have imagined the response we have received,” Vasarhelyi and Chin said. “While most of us wouldn’t dream of free-soloing 3,000 feet, Alex’s story of courage, dedication and determination is very relatable.”
Since premiering at Telluride last year, Free Solo has won an ACE Eddie Award, Critics’ Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. It set a number of box office records and will battle for the Oscar this month against RBG, Minding the Gap, Of Fathers and Sons and Hale County This Morning, This Evening.