Award-winning film Touching The Void to be screened LIVE in a World Premiere, accompanied by 60-piece orchestra with exclusive Q&A

Touching The Void

Touching The Void

The Bafta Award-winning film Touching the Void will return to the big screen on Sunday 18 June for one night only. A world premiere, composer Alex Heffes, a long-time collaborator of director Kevin Macdonald, will bring his brilliant and dramatic score to life in a live presentation of the whole film with a 60-piece orchestra at the Barbican Hall in London.

In an exclusive Q&A before the event, author and legendary climber Joe Simpson, director Kevin Macdonald and composer Alex Heffes will be reunited on stage to discuss the background and making of the film; a unique chance for the audience to hear, directly from the filmmakers, how Simpson’s book was brought to the screen.

In 2003, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) adapted Joe Simpson’s book into a drama-documentary film, featuring interviews with Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates, together with dramatised scenes of the events. Touching the Void won Best British Film at the 2004 Bafta Awards after opening to critical acclaim; critic Roger Ebert described it as “an unforgettable experience… enthralling, fascinating, terrifying” and Time Out proclaimed it to be “a meditation on extreme human endeavour, character, friendship…”

Alex Heffes says: “Its a thrill to be performing my music to Touching the Void live to picture. Its a wonderful chance to bring this amazing film to a new audience and for me to revisit it with my long-time friend and great director Kevin Macdonald.

Joe Simpson says: “It will be great to see the film on the big screen again and thrilling to hear Alex’s score played live, as well as discuss the story and film in front of an audience at the Barbican.

Touching the Void tells the extraordinary story of two British climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who attempt the west face of Siula Grande in Peru. Hampered by snowstorms on their descent, Simpson fell through a hole masked by a snow drift and, still attached to Yates by rope and with a severely broken leg, was hanging in mid-air over a precipice. Yates cut the rope so at least one of them would survive. Simpson, by some miracle, also survived and, despite terrible injuries, crawled to safety. The story, of life-changing decisions and incredible survival against the odds, captivated the world and Simpson’s book on his experience became a best-seller.

This vivid and pulsating film, enhanced by Heffes’ original music played live promises to be a unique presentation of this incredible tale of survival and human endurance.


Joe Simpson is a mountaineer, author and motivational speaker. He was made famous by his book Touching the Void(winner of the 1988 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and subsequently made into a movie) in which he described a successful but disastrous and near-fatal attempt by himself and Simon Yates to climb Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. In 1997 he began another career as a motivational speaker, talking at corporate events throughout the world. He has also survived many other major accidents, notably breaking his other leg in the Himalaya while climbing with Mal Duff. His later non-fiction books describe other expeditions including an attempt on the North Face of the Eiger, and his changing feeling towards extreme mountaineering brought on by the many deaths that surround the pursuit. One of his books, The Beckoning Silence was made into a documentary that was released on Channel 4


Alex Heffes was born in the UK. It was his scores to Kevin Macdonald’s Academy Award-winning films One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland and BAFTA-winning Touching the Void that brought him to international attention. Alongside his long collaboration with Macdonald, he has worked with many of cinema’s other top filmmakers such as Stephen Frears, Mira Nair, Peter Webber and Tim Burton. Alex received his first BAFTA nomination for his score to the HBO drama Tsunami: The Aftermath and has gone on to score across an incredible variety of genres including Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award-winning Inside Job, the horror film The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Hardwicke’s fantasy movie Red Riding Hood, Peter Webber’s World War II drama Emperor and Mikael Hafstrom’s action thrillerEscape Plan starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger for. He collaborated with director Tim Burton on his screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Alex’s score to State of Playstarring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck was widely noted for his collaboration with classic British rock producer Flood.

In 2012 Alex won the Ivor Novello Award for best film score of the year for The First Grader starring Naomie Harris, directed by Chadwick. In 2013, Alex received a Golden Globe award nomination for his score to Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which starred Idris Elba.

Alex’s most recent credits include the Hulu Original eight-part event series 11.22.63 starring James Franco and based on the Stephen King best-selling novel, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk; the event TV series Roots; Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-qiang which premiered at Sundance, the Stephen Frears-directed Lance Armstrong biopic The Program, Disney’s Queen of Katwe starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o and directed by Mira Nair and the Idris Elba thriller The Take.


Kevin is one of the most revered storytellers of his generation. He is a hugely awarded filmmaker who has worked across game-changing documentaries through to emotive and inspiring features.  The Last King of Scotland won Forrest Whittaker the Academy Award for Best Actor, along with 3 BAFTAs for Best British Film, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay – and Kevin, the Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards.  Touching The Void won him Best British Film at The Evening Standard British Film Awards and at BAFTA – the first time a documentary / drama has beaten a feature film in the Best Film category.

One Day In September, which explored the tragic events surrounding the Israeli Olympic team hostage-taking at the 1972 Munich Games, won Kevin an Academy Award for Best Documentary, together with an EMMY in the same category.  He was also voted Best New Director at the British Independent Film Awards in the same year.

Life in a Day, the revolutionary 90-minute document of highly personal footage was assembled by Kevin from YouTube videos shot by ordinary people on a single day during the course of a year. It was noted by The Telegraph as ‘a bold new adventure in cinema’ which was then re-appropriated for the multi-award winning Sainsbury’s Christmas campaign in both TVC’s and a 40 minute documentary.

Kevin gained more critical acclaim for his hugely respected biopic Marley, a definitive documentary on the life, legacy and global impact of Bob Marley, one of the 20th centuries most enduring icons.

Recent projects include the thriller Black Sea starring Jude Law and the TV series 11.22.63.