EXCLUSIVE: Angels of the Avalanche, the longform GQ story written by Joshua Hammer, tells the story of helicopter rescue team battling life-and-death obstacles in the high mountain slopes of the Swiss Alps.
It is now being developed for the screen as a documentary.
GQ Studios, the Condé Nast Entertainment-run production arm of the glossy monthly, has teamed up with Meadowlark, the production company run by former ESPN chief John Skipper to adapt the story.
It marks one of the highest profile developments for GQ Studios and forms part of Condé Nast Entertainment President Agnes Chu’s plan to turn high-profile magazine IP into TV series, films and documentaries. The company is adapting stories about Kundalini yoga and megachurch Hillsong with VF Studios, the production arm of Vanity Fair, turning History of Black Twitter from Wired Studios into a three-part documentary and making a feature film based on short story Cat Person, starring Nicholas Braun and Emilia Clarke, with New Yorker Studios.
Angels of the Avalanche, which is featured in the February 2022 issue of GQ, follows the elite Air-Glaciers Rescue team of the Alps. It will feature select participants of the Air-Glaciers team that undertake all types of rescue missions. Hammer’s first-hand reporting provided an inside look at the storied Air-Glaciers rescue team, who make roughly 2,500 rescue runs in the Alps each year. Skiers and snowboarders are venturing further in the backcountry than ever before—at a moment when climate change is making mountain conditions dangerous and unpredictable.
It comes as Meadowlark Media, which Skipper, who also previously ran sports streamer DAZN, set up with Dan Le Batard last year, struck a first-look deal with Apple. The company is also working with Skydance Sports on docuseries Good Neighbors, about the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexican national football teams, and a project about women’s basketball star Diana Taurasi.
Condé Nast Entertainment global head of film and TV Helen Estabrook said, “Josh’s reporting — centering on a helicopter rescue team battling life-and-death obstacles in the high mountain slopes of the Swiss Alps — is plenty dramatic. But what makes it a quintessential GQ Studios project is that it tells a deeper and more urgent story about survival, climate change, and why one of the world’s most dangerous jobs is suddenly getting both harder and more important.”
“We’re excited to have our first project with GQ Studios and Condé Nast Entertainment given their long history of great storytelling across their magazines and incredible roster of talent,” added Deirdre Fenton, Meadowlark’s Executive Director of Unscripted. “We look forward to working with them to tell the story of Switzerland’s renowned and heroic Air-Glaciers team.”