Up Against The Wall: Read Phil Barber's story on the Dawn Wall climbers at Sonoma Magazine.

On Jan. 14, 2015, Santa Rosa native Kevin Jorgeson and Colorado rock climber Tommy Caldwell emerged from their 19-day ascent of the Dawn Wall, the 3,000-foot vertical face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, and stepped into the international spotlight.

On Sunday, the two dauntless climbers will light up the movie screen, when the new documentary film, “The Dawn Wall,” has its premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

“It’s going to be like going down memory lane,” Jorgeson said.

Jorgeson, 33, and Caldwell, 39, will attend Sunday’s showing and two more festival screenings of the film Tuesday and Wednesday, each followed by a question-and-answer session and a panel discussion.

“I hope I get some time to see some of the other films,” Jorgeson said. “My wife Jacqui is a filmmaker and she’s really excited about going to South by Southwest.”

The 100-minute Dawn Wall documentary, directed by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer, was adapted from Caldwell’s memoir, “The Push,” published last year.

“The documentary is Tommy’s life story, and the Dawn Wall is part of it,” Jorgeson said. “He’s had a pretty exciting life.”

On a climbing trip to Kyrgyzstan in 2000, Caldwell and three others were taken hostage by Islamist rebels and eventually escaped, after Caldwell pushed one of their captors into ravine.

“It’s a more compelling story for a mainstream audience than just a rock-climbing movie,” Jorgeson said.

But the Dawn Wall climb is thoroughly documented in the film, including the climbers’ six years of planning and practice in preparation for the ascent. A film crew followed them right up the rock face, with Brett Lowell, the co-director’s brother, doing most of the filming, Jorgeson said.

“Brett was up there with us the whole time,” he said. “It gets pretty complicated shooting a movie on the side of a rock wall. There were lots of logistics to deal with.”

The climb was a major media event even as it was happening. With people from all over the world watching the climbers’ Twitter and Instagram accounts during the ascent, the pair won the kind of global attention usually accorded to outstanding Olympic athletes.

The duo’s triumphant arrival at the top of the Dawn Wall won them congratulations from corporations, civic organizations, conservations groups and even President Barack Obama.

But the most powerful record of Jorgeson’s and Caldwell’s achievement comes from the team of filmmakers who documented the event.

“The Dawn Wall” had its international premiere late last year at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. The film is expected to go into wider release later this year.

“I want to arrange a screening locally,” Jorgeson said. It’s too soon to tell when that will be, he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.