stephen-grynbergBorn in Denver, Colorado, Stephen shot his first movies as a teenager, carrying a VHS tape deck in a backpack and a massive camera in hand, to capture his friends skiing deep snow in the Rockies.  Unfortunately, those first visual forays gave way to more confined pursuits as Grynberg had brief careers as a chemical engineer and a television executive.  Somewhere in the midst of this business haze, Stephen found himself with a camera again and began writing and directing short films.

After graduating from the American Film Institute’s director’s program, he wrote and directed his first feature film, the critically acclaimed Love From Ground Zero in 1998.  Stephen created his first documentary short film, Past Forward in 2005, as part of Envisioning the Future, a city-wide art project curated by renowned artist Judy Chicago.

A Life Ascending marks Stephen’s first feature length documentary film and his long overdue return to carrying and using a camera in the mountains.   Stephen has a degree in directing from the American Film Institute, an MBA from Columbia University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Stephen also teaches personal story writing. He lives with his wife and eight year old twins, Stella and Oliver, in Santa Monica, California.


pat-morrowAward-winning DP Pat Morrow’s desire to experience and document life in wild places has led him on countless assignments and expeditions, including being first person in the world to have climbed the highest peaks of all seven continents: Mount McKinley, Aconcagua, Mount Everest, Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro, Vinson Massif, and Puncak Jaya. Recent projects include a film for the BBC Nature’s Great Events series; shooting in the Canadian Rockies for the NFB documentary The Sweetest Embrace – Return to Afghanistan; and a film shot on location in Baltistan and Afghanistan.

Pat lives with his wife and filming partner Baiba in the mountains of British Columbia.


roger-vernonA native of Alberta, Roger Vernon has combined his love of the mountains and his desire to make images into a flourishing career as an internationally respected cinematographer.

His expertise has taken him onto mountains and glaciers around the world, including Pakistan, to photograph K2 for the feature film Vertical Limit. He joined David Breashears on the 1996 American expedition to Everest to photograph the two documentaries: The Search for Mallory and Irvine and American Firsts – Women on Everest.

He has also worked on a multitude of documentaries ranging from natural history and science to the arts. In 1993, he was inducted into the prestigious Canadian Society of Cinematographers.

Roger has worked on a number of feature-length dramas for Hollywood, including Unforgiven, the 1992 western that was nominated for Best Cinematography, the Oscar award winning film Legends of the Fall, and most recently New Moon.


Editor Pam Wise, A.C.E., began her career editing cinema verite documentaries with Ricky Leacock, Charlotte Zwerin, and the Maysles brothers.

She is the 1998 A.C.E. Eddie Award Winner for the Oscar Nominated, Best Feature Documentary –DANCEMAKER.  Ms. Wise has edited numerous award winning narrative features, including Secretary, Transamerica, Dark Matter, and Then She Found Me.  She has done extensive music and dance editing on such films as Horowitz Plays Mozart, a Maysles feature documentary, Carnegie Hall Gets Plastered, (co-director), A Tribute to Hank Williams, John Lennon Live in NY, and Accumulation with Water Motor, directed by Jonathan Demme.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and a member of American Cinema Editors.


A native of New York City and the son of a studio musician, Adam Gorgoni has numerous scoring credits which include Sundance favorite Starting Out in the Evening, Karen Moncrieff’s The Dead Girl which was nominated for 3 Independent Spirit Awards in 2006 including Best Picture, Blue Car for Miramax, the hit comedy Waiting for Lions Gate, Ray Romano’s comedy 95 Miles to Go, and the HBO Original Path to Paradise.

Television work includes the critically acclaimed Aliens in America, Sons and Daughters as well as shows for NBC, Disney, Discovery Channel, Bravo, and National Geographic Network among others. GorgoniI is a graduate of Harvard University and has also studied composition and orchestration at Manhattan School of Music, Eastman Conservatory, and production/engineering at the Berklee College of Music.

He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


Ruedi Beglinger crow_small
Nicoline Beglinger
Florina Beglinger
Charlotte Beglinger
Kim Kirwan
Joe Pojar
Dan Madell
Douglas Maclean
Monte Paynter
Lindsay Corbett
Clair Israelson


• Produced and Directed by:
Stephen Grynberg

• Cinematography by:
Pat Morrow & Roger Vernon

• Edited by:
Pam Wise & Adam Fox Forrest

• Music by:
Adam Gorgoni

• Associate Producer:
Sarah Gaboury

• Additional editing:
Jane Abramowitz
Charlie Weber

• Additional Cinematography:
Stephen Grynberg
Monte Paynter

• Assistant to Director:
Erin Kuntze
Dawn Burdue
Jonathan Rosenfeld

• Editorial Assistant:
Katy Skjerping

• German Translation:
Marco Lillich

• Transcribers:
Livi Guttman
Christine Stoeber
Matt Rudolph

Allied Post Audio
Sound Design and Re-Recording Mixer –Woody Woodhall, CAS
Dialogue Editor  – Jackie Johnson
Sound Editor Assistant – Roxanna Sandoval
Post Production Sound Intern – Rafael Brustoloni

Timecode Multimedia – Finishing and Mastering
Colorist and Online Editor – Stuart Ferreyra

Stephen Stecina

Cello – Cameron Stone
Guitars and Keyboard – Adam Gorgoni

The Point Media – Harold Brook
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz – Gabriella Ludlow

Berson Financial Group – Steve Berson and Debra Keighley

Arrow Helicopters
Selkirk Helicopters

Steve Kroschel

BBC motion gallery
CTV British Columbia
CBC Vancouver

There Is Beauty © 2004
written by Anne Sibley, Peace Mountain Music, BMI. performed by Anne and Pete Sibley

Barry Blanchard
Paula Couturier
Ben Gadd
Stella Grynberg
Oliver Grynberg
Clair Israelson
Urs Kallen
Ted Kerasote
Adam Lichenstein
Ari Macht
Pat Morrow
Geoff Powter
Susan Winfield

Nancy Bacal
David Diamond
David Geen
Neil Goldblatt
Celeste Grynberg
Jack Grynberg
Bonnie Hamilton
Sandy Itkoff
Elliot Kotek
Frank Langen
Scott and Ann Lew
David Lussier
Matrix Rental House
Steven Macht
Nancy McCabe
Baiba Morrow
Peter Reid
Ken Robin
Tim Ryan
Rochus Schneble
David Weissman
Philip Widmer
Ben Wilkey
Victor Wolfenstein
Robert Workman

David Finnerty
Naomi Heffler
Craig Kelly
Kathleen Kessler
Vern Lunsford
Jean-Luc Schwendener
Dennis Yates

Steven J. Levin
(1949 – 2008)