Michael Brown
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Michael Brown When asked what separates Michael Brown from other adventure filmmakers, Erik Weihenmayer (the first blind person to summit Mount Everest) remarks that the award-winning director has an incomparable level of focus, skill and commitment. “There are only a handful of candidates with the athletic ability and tireless drive to pull off what Michael accomplishes routinely,” says Weihenmayer. “The pool of candidates narrows even further when you consider Michael's eye for assembling the subtle pieces of a story.”

Brown’s tenacity and upbeat attitude have brought him to the summit of Mount Everest five times—once while shooting and directing Farther Than the Eye Can See which documented Weihenmayer’s historic ascent. The acclaimed film marked the first time a high-definition (HD) video camera was brought to the mountain’s peak. On Brown’s most recent summit in 2007 he co-directed MacGillivray Freeman Films' Return to Everest in 3D IMAX. Outside the Himalaya, he’s made first kayak descents of wild rivers in places like Bhutan and Chile and summited remote peaks on all seven continents, all with the camera rolling.

Brown, a pioneer of adventure filmmaking, founded Serac Adventure Films in 1992 both to make original documentaries and to lend his production and adventuring skills to filmmakers like MacGillivray Freeman Films, for whom he was Director of Mountain Photography on the award-winning IMAX film Alps: Giants of Nature. Brown was also a specialty cameraman on the critically-acclaimed film BLINDSIGHT; on A&E’s show “Touch the Top;” and on a number of feature films.

Since starting Serac, Brown has received over 40 international film festival and industry awards, including three national Emmys from five nominations. But making films is about more than winning awards and exploring uncharted territories. Serac is committed to “giving back” to their subjects in some profound way while capturing the intense emotion that make their films so powerful. Few who have seen them forget the poignant moment in Light of the Himalaya after the bandages are removed from the eyes of a Nepalese woman once blind with cataracts; or the elated exhaustion of 10 women in 3 Peaks 3 Weeks as they push beyond pain to achieve their goal.

While Brown has always loved telling stories (he grew up in family of adventure filmmakers), he also has a passion for science–especially climate, weather and geography, all of which he studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder while working at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. He’s put that knowledge into practice during productions for National Geographic Television, NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, OLN, the BBC, Rush HD, and the Discovery Channel.

With camera in hand, Brown goes into some of the world’s most hostile environments—where there’s little room for error—and comes away with stunning visual footage and stirring stories that remind us of our shared humanity. He believes that if you can imagine a goal, you can achieve it, and he brings that spirit, intensity, and invaluable expertise, to every project that Serac takes on.

“He's the only guy I know who can tell a funny joke at 26,000 feet, beat all of his teammates in chess, carry a 25-pound camera to the summit of Mount Everest, create an award-winning documentary, and through it all, remain just one of the guys, pouring every bit of his heart and soul into getting his team to the top,” says Weihenmayer. “[He] is the most accomplished filmmaker with whom I've ever worked.”

Selected Clients and Projects:

President & CEO:

  • Serac Adventure Films, founder 1992 – present
  • Adventure Film School, founder 2006 - present


  • Independent Feature Documentary, Farther Than the Eye Can See
  • MacGillivray Freeman Films, Return to Everest IMAX in 3D, (Co-Director)
  • Voom/Rush HD, 3 Peaks 3 Weeks
  • Voom/Rush HD, The Endless Knot
  • Voom/Rush HD, Light of the Himalaya
  • Indus Films/Discovery, Expedition Alasksa
  • Outside/OLN, In the Shadow of the Condor

Director of Photography:

  • BBC Wales, Human Planet
  • NOVA/National Geographic, Extreme Ice
  • MacGillivray Freeman Films, The Alps IMAX (Director of Mountain Photography)
  • Original Media/Discovery, Stormchasers

Producer/Field Producer:

  • NBC/The North Face Expeditions: Shishapangma a Celebration of Life
  • NBC/The North Face Expeditions: Madagascar: A Women's First Ascent
  • National Geographic Television, South Pole Station: Braving Antarctica
  • ABC Sports, Global Extremes, Mount Everest (Summit #3 of 5)
  • OLN/Adventure Quest: Sixteen Hour Episodes in Series
  • MTV Sports, Cave Wave
  • National Geographic Explorer, Wave Warriors, Jungle Kayakers
  • Independent, The Climb of My Life, The Kelly Perkins Story
  • Independent/Ski the Summit, The Magic Skis


  • Robson Productions, BLINDSIGHT
  • Citizen Pictures, Race Across the Sky
  • ESPN, X-Games
  • NBC Sports, Jeep World of Adventure Sports
  • Octagon/NBC Sports, Balance Bar 24 Hour Adventure Race New York City
  • Octagon/NBC Sports, Ford Balance Bar 24 Hour Adventure Race, Beaver Creek, Colorado
  • Octagon/NBC Sports, Divide and Conquer Adventure Race, Colorado
  • CBS Sports: Rocky Mountain Adventure Games
  • MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, The Making of EFX With Michael Crawford
  • March of Dimes PSA, Abuse for Two
  • Outside Television Great Adventures; The Grand Teton
  • ESPN, Expedition Earth: Rivers of the Maya, Mt Cook Summit of Extremes
  • Independent: Kamchatka: Land of Fire & Ice
  • Fox Sports, Ultimate Challenge: Indonesia
  • A&E, Touch the Top

Executive Producer/Director:

  • NBC Sports: Everest Dreams
  • Independent: Blind Climber Erik Weihenmayer's Seven Summits (In production)
  • Promotional: Blind Skiers Edge

Health & Safety (Mountain Guide and Specialty Camera):
BBC/Discovery Channel, Climate Chaos, Global Warming What You Need to Know with Tom Brokaw

Public Speaking:
Wells Fargo Advisors, Adventure Travel Trade Association, Vail Symposium, Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Banff Mountain Film Festival, Explorers Festival, Montana State University, Pelican Products, Rock & Ice Magazine, Ignite Boulder, Boulder Digital Arts, Optimists Club, International Mountain Festival in Bansko, Bulgaria, Leeds School of Business, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Honorary Positions:
Banff Mountain Film Festival Fimmakers Seminar Leader (three years), Shoot Out Film Festival Jury, Telluride Mountain Film Festival Board of Advisors, Banff Mountain Film Festival Jury, Kendal Mountain Film Festival Jury, Sports Emmy Awards Blue Ribbon Judjing Panel.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • International Alliance for Mountain Film, Grand Prize
  • Explorers Festival Camera Extreme
  • High Adventure LifeClimb Achievement Award

Industry Awards:

  • Giant Screen Cinema Association (IMAX), Best Cinematography
  • Three Sports Emmy Awards (Cinematography)
  • Two Sports Emmy Nominations (Directing, Camera)
  • Three Telly Awards
  • Four Aurora Awards
  • Two Teddy Awards
  • Cindy Award
  • Cine Golden Eagle
  • Joey Award
  • Addy Award

Film Festival Awards (as director)

  • Montreal International Adventure Film Festival, Grand Prize
  • My Hero Film Festival, Grand Prize and First Place in Category
  • Two Years: Banff Mountain Film Festival, Special Jury Award and Best Film on Mountain Sports
  • Breckenridge Festival of Film, Best of Festival: Documentary
  • Beverly Hills Film Festival Audience Choice, Best Documentary
  • Graz International Mountain and Adventure Film Festival, Austria, Kamera Alpin in Gold Newport Beach Film Festival: Audience Award and Cinematography in the Documentary Category
  • Two Years: Explorer's Festival, Ascent (First Place)
  • Three Years: Taos Mountain Film Festival Awards, Best Film of Mountain Culture x2 and Best of Festival
  • International Mountaineering Film Festival Teplice Nad Metuji, Czech Republic, Best Documentary
  • Festival International De L'Aventure Sportive, Vallauris, France, La Jarre d'Or
  • HeSCA Media Festival, Silver Award
  • Three Years: Boulder Adventure Film Festival Awards, Funniest Adventure Film, Most Inspiring Film
  • Houston International Film Festival, Bronze REMI Award
  • Chicago Film Festival (Intercom), Certificate of Merit
  • Two Years: Wanaka Mountain Film Festival, Best Film on Culture and Environment and Best film on Climbing
  • Three Years: Boulder International Film Festival, Best Colorado Film, Best Adventure Film, and Best Adventure Biography
  • International Environmental Film Festival in Barcelona Spain, Special Prize Documentary
  • Hory a Mesto International Festival of Mountain Film and Adventure in Bratislava, Slovakia: Best Film in 'Earth' Category
  • Four Years: Worldfest Houston: Gold, Silver, Platinum and Special Jury Award
  • Golden Film Festival, Best Documentary Director and Best Action Documentary
  • Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, Best Mountain Adventure Feature
  • Whistler Film Festival, Butch Freedhoff Human Spirit Award
  • Explorers Club Film Festival, Special Jury Award, Environmental Film
  • The New York International Mountain Film Festival Alpinfilm: Best Film on Climbing
  • New York Alpine Film Festival, Peoples Choice and Best Climbing Film
  • Two Years: Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Best Film on Mountain Culture and Special Jury Award
  • Gravity Sports Film Festival, Runner Up, Best Climbing Film
  • Teplice & Metuji, Czech Republic, Best Adventure Film
  • Two Years: Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Most Inspiring Adventure Film

Shooting in the Khumbu Ice Fall 2001
Photo by Didrik Johnck

Filming Lynn Hill, Beth Rodden, Nancy Feagin and Kath Pyke in Tsoronoro, Madagascar.
Photo by Greg Epperson

Trimming sails on Nirvana on the way to Bermuda.
Photo by Gary Swain

Extreme Ice Survey for National Geographic/NOVA
Photo by Jeff Orlowski

On the Eiger with an IMAX camera filming for MacGillivray Freeman's The Alps.
Photo by Simon Anthematten

In the Shadow of the Condor
Photo by Pablo Sandor

Light of the Himalaya; Cholatse, Nepal
Photo by Ace Kvale

Dawa and Michael at an eye camp, Light of the Himalaya, Phaplu, Nepal.
Photo by David D'Angelo

Michael rappelling into a moulin for the Emmy Award winning Global Warming What You Need to Know with Tom Brokaw.
Photo by Nicolas Brown

At 6,000m above the Khumbu Valley, Light of the Himalaya
Photo by Ace Kvale

Camera Housing
The 16mm camera housing for Jungle Kayakers: National Geographic Explorer
Photo by Michele Cardamone

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