Mountain Love: An Interview With Film Director Jennifer Peedom

"What compels some people to risk their lives for love of something that cannot love them back?" ​

Traveller, mountain lover and BAFTA-nominated director, Jennifer Peedom, asks this very question, exploring our enduring obsession with the world's highest and most extreme peaks in her recently released film, Mountain.

To celebrate the launch of the film and her collaboration on it with Richard Tognetti and members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), Peedom recently visited Niseko for a special screening of the film.

We caught up with Peedom during her recent trip.

Jennifer Peedom

Jennifer in her element exploring the Himalayas. © Jennifer Peedom

Welcome back to Niseko! When was your first trip and what brought you here?

My first trip was in 2016 when we came over to shoot footage for the film. We also set up our edit suite here for a week, and did some work on the music with Richard Tognetti and members of the ACO who were over here as well. 

Your new film Mountain features Niseko’s iconic Mt. Yotei – how did that come about?

Our cinematographer, Renan Ozturk, came with us in 2016 to shoot and we shot some scenes on the mountain. Mt. Yotei is pretty hard to miss!

The film explores many facets of our relationship with mountains – which one do you find the most interesting?

I’ve always been interested by the human fascination for mountains: What compels some people to risk their lives for love of something that cannot love them back? I used to work as a climbing camera operator, so have experienced the allure of mountains. 

How did your own fascination with mountains begin?

I did a lot of hiking and skiing as a kid around Thredbo in Australia. Later, as a documentary filmmaker, I started to get work in the Himalayas. By genetic luck, my body works quite well at high altitudes, so my career as a filmmaker really began in the mountains. 

Alongside your film commitments, what else will you be doing during your time in Niseko?

This time, I’ve brought my family with me, so the kids are learning to ski. We’ve been having a great time and also visiting the local onsens. 

Jennifer Peedom

Jennifer on the slopes of Niseko, pictured here with her daughter, Tashi, and husband, Mark. © Jennifer Peedom

Where is your favourite place to eat in Niseko?

The sushi restaurant in the main street (Fuji Sushi) and also the Ramen restaurant near Rhythm (Tozanken Ramen). 

What do you love most about Niseko?

For me, Niseko is like a magical winter wonderland. I love that this world-class resort sits in a culturally rich area, so you can experience local culture while skiing world-class runs. 

Where are you travelling to next?

I’ll be travelling to New York in March. 

What are your top travel tips?

Pack light!

What advice would you give to budding filmmakers looking to take their work to new heights?

Being a filmmaker is about having something to say. So my advice is to figure out what you are interested in, and develop that interest, follow it passionately. 

Then, practice, practice, practice. Shoot and edit as much as you can, so you can learn from your mistakes. 

Missed the special Niseko screening of Mountain together with Richard Tognetti and the ACO?
Read our wrap-up and watch the video.