April 28, 2022

Cheryl Crooks, Executive Director
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival
(360) 543-0149

The Little Known Heroine Who Conquered a Mountain Portrayed in New Documentary Premiering at CASCADIA

She had courage. She had incredible strength. She inspired a nation yet few know the story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa's historic story to become the first Nepalese woman to summit Everest in 1993. CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is proud to present the Pacific Northwest Premiere of the documentary about this remarkable woman in Nancy Svendsen's feature directorial debut: "Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest" during its festival, May 12-15 in person and online May 19-30.

As an uneducated, Indigenous woman and a Buddhist in a Hindu kingdom, Pasang’s dream to scale the legendary mountain pits her against family, foreign climbers, her own government, and nature itself. Her determined pursuit of Everest plays out within the context of her nation’s quest for democracy and the emergence of the commercial climbing industry. As told by the Nepalis who knew her, by some of the world's most notable alpinists, and by Pasang herself, her historic quest would transfix her country and uplift a new generation's belief in its possibilities.

Ten Years from Story to Screen

Director Nancy Svendsen first learned of Pasang's amazing story ten years ago from her brother-in-law, Dorjee Sherpa, Pasang's oldest brother, who appears in the film. Both will be in attendance, along with anthropologist Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, who's also in the film, to talk with the audience at the screening Saturday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham.

"'I hope people see that she was a complex woman awakened to her role as an inspirational leader at a time of great change," Svendsen told Women and Hollywood's Rachel Montpelier. "Amidst her country’s tumultuous politics and the postcolonial attitudes of the international climbing elite, her courage to face mounting obstacles inspired her country."

Svendsen left a two-decade-long career in corporate healthcare to pursue independent filmmaking. “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” is her first documentary feature. “I have always believed in the power of stories to change people’s minds,” she says. “I have loved stories since childhood. This is my second career. I left the corporate world because I wanted to do something that personally inspired me.”

The film is included in CASCADIA’s All Access Pass or may be purchased individually here through CASCADIA’s website. Passes may be purchased both for the May 12-15 in-person festival or the online festival, to be May 19-30.

View PASANG trailer here.


CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of women filmmakers, was formed in Bellingham, Washington, in 2015. The organization also works year-round to provide film production, exhibition, and distribution education. More information about CASCADIA may be found on their website at

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