'Free Solo' Director on Why the Kavanaugh Hearings Made Film's Release Day "Emotional"

"Free Solo' has got nothing to do with politics, so to speak, but why are audiences responding to it in the degree that they did?" Chai Vasarhelyi asked during THR's Documentary Roundtable.

"Free Solo has got nothing to do with politics, so to speak, but why are audiences responding to it in the degree that they did?" director Chai Vasarhelyi asked during The Hollywood Reporter's Documentary Roundtable.

"I think it's because we give people an opportunity to see someone. Also, he's able to connect, when you don't think he could connect. It's a respite."

The timing of the film's release was rather "emotional" for Vasarhelyi, who noted that the film's release day was the same day as the Kavanaugh hearings. "Getting up to do those Q&As and looking at the audience when all I want to do is look on Twitter and see what happened was really emotional for us," she said.

But Free Solo, which follows climber Alex Honnold as he completes the first free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, was also a "respite from what we were living," the director noted. She said the film is an "inspiring story of courage that we can all have this vision and work really hard and do something."

"We knew that the climb was going be terrifying," she told the roundtable. "We did become immune from editing and editing and editing, but it was also always about, how can we manage that for our audience?"

During the making of the film, "Alex was online dating and setting up dates in every stop of his book tour. So our great surprise was when he brought a woman home, Sanni. It just really provided this opportunity for us to make it about a connection and modulate how the climb went. So it was about climbing, but it was actually about connecting and falling in love."