Return to Mount Kennedy
50 years after their fathers Jim Whitaker and Robert F. Kennedy summited an untouched Yukon mountain in honor of the late JFK, Bob Whitaker and Christopher Kennedy decided to retrace their steps and climb the unforgiving peak, gracing family history and pushing their resolve to its limits.
In 1965, Robert Kennedy was the first man to summit Mount Kennedy in the Yukon Territory, named in honor of his late brother. Leading that expedition was Jim Whitaker, the first American to summit Everest and original fulltime employee of REI. 50 years later, Jim's sons Bob and Leif, along with Christopher Kennedy, decide to climb the mountain again in honor of their fathers' joint accomplishment and unique friendship. Seattle-based filmmaker Eric Becker's touching documentary combines archival footage—including several Kennedy home movies—with interviews from Jim himself and those who them best as we follow three sons and the journey literally in their fathers' footsteps. The biggest focus is on Bob, who began his career as a groupie-turned-tour manager for Seattle grunge legends Mudhoney, which would lead him on to work with bands like R.E.M. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; now he leads government-based environmental projects in Eastern Washington. With the original intention of reconnecting with his father, brother, and the vastness of nature around him, Bob learns more than expected about himself and why he does what he does. Eddie Vedder, a personal friend of Bob's, writes original music for film that tailor shots of the expansive mountain ranges together in this wholesome story.
Eric Becker is an Emmy Award-winning director based in Idaho. His two previous works shown at SIFF include "Honor the Treaties" and "Dear Klara." Return to Mount Kennedy is his first feature length film.
Sponsored by 4Culture, Encore City Arts, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Weekly, Washington State Arts Commission, Shoreline Community College, National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle University Film Studies
- Director: Eric Becker
- Principal Cast: Chris Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Bob Whittaker, Jim Whittaker, Lief Whittaker
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: USA
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 80 minutes
- Editors: Andrew Franks
- Music: Eddie Vedder
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP