Emmys: 'Free Solo' Sweeps Creative Arts Categories, Including Direction, Cinematography

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Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

The rock climbing documentary, directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, won awards in all seven of the categories it was nominated in, including outstanding achievement in interactive media, sound editing and mixing.

Rock climbing documentary Free Solo, which captures Alex Honnold's scaling of Yosemite's 3000 ft. high El Capitan wall, was the recipient of seven (out of its seven nominated categories) Creative Emmy Awards on Saturday night.

The film, directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, won for outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program, outstanding cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, picture editing, music composition and best achievement in interactive media. 

"I think it always comes back to Alex, the diligence and discipline and teaching himself over the years," Vasarhelyi said backstage. "I think in terms of the Creative Arts Emmys, Alex brought so much craft to what he did, that all of us, every member of our team, got a nomination. So it's incredible to see the Academy appreciates the hard work that went into it."

Back in February, Free Solo won best documentary feature honors at the 91st Academy Awards. In the pressroom after the awards ceremony, Chin said, "Hanging off the wall, I couldn’t see Alex Honnold below, and I just had to trust that he was just being perfect. We also had to carry the weight of the entire production being perfect, because if we made any mistakes, it could have been catastrophic."

The film also was tapped as best documentary at the BAFTA Awards. 

In completing the climb, Honnold became the first person to ever climb El Capitan without ropes or safety gear.

The 2019 Creative Arts Emmys are being held over two nights (Saturday and Sunday) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. A broadcast of the awards ceremony will air on FXX next Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, ahead of the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on Sept. 22.