Filming at 17,000 feet in the remote Himalayan region of Zanskar, Frederick Marx ran out of breath. 

Forced to focus on suriviving the extreme altitude, Marx instructed his younger, Colorado-bred cinematographer to stick with the lead party: two Tibetan monks  leading a group of 17 handpicked children to a new school at the Stongde Monastery in neighboring Ladakh.

Isolated in the Himalayas on the Northern tip of India, bordering Tibet and Pakistan, Zanskar is considered the last stronghold of traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice, and it’s threatened now by poverty, environmental degradation, and globalization.  The Dalai Lama has empowered these two monks to preserve Zanskar’s cultural heritage through an educational campaign.

Marx, producer and editor of seminal local basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, returns to Chicago after 10 years on the West Coast, for two preview screenings this weekend of his work-in-progress documentary Journey from Zanskar.

It screens Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM at Primitive, 130 N. Jefferson. Marx will attend both screenings.  Friday screening is $50.  Saturday’s screening is $250 and features Year One director and Highland Park resident Harold Ramis, composer Michael Fitzpatrick, cocktails, h’ors d’oeuvrres and valet parking.  Tax deductible admissions goes toward completion expenses for the film (including narration by Richard Gere).