Festival promises hardcore adventure & environmental action

The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival has launched its 2019 programme and it promises to be a blast. The 10-day programme boasts 74 adventure films, seven of which are world premieres, a world-class collection of speakers, as well as stimulating workshops. The event will once again take audiences around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic and many places in between, and it can all be experienced right here in Wanaka.

Mark Sedon, the festival director, said, “Disquiet for environmental issues is a common thread woven amongst many of the films this year. The climate issues sit front-and-centre for the adventure community and over the last few years the content has progressed from contemplation to action. And, of course, we have our fair share of incredible adventurers undertaking phenomenal expeditions and hardcore missions. This year’s programme is just world-class; the festival fans will not be disappointed.”

A record 208 films were submitted and four have been nominated as finalists for the 2019 Grand Prize Award and US$1,000. A jury will judge the films during the event and the winner will be announced on Wednesday July 3, the final night of the Wanaka event. Finalists for the grand prize are all New Zealand premieres and category award winners. They are: best climbing film award, Cerro Kishtwar – An Ice Cold Story by director Julian Zanker from Germany; best adventure sports and lifestyles film award: Spectre Expedition — To the End of the Earth by directors Alastair Lee and past festival speaker Leo Houlding, both from the UK; new award for 2019, best solo adventure award, Surviving the Outback from director Michael Atkinson (Australia), and best snow sports film, Between the lines—Entre les lignes from French directors Pierre Cadot and Thomas Guerrin.

The people’s choice award will be announced after the event. Special jury awards were given to 18 films in acknowledgement for outstanding work.

Speakers will include adventurers like Amercan Lynn Hill, who changed the definition of what is possible in rock climbing with her first free climb (not to be confused with free solo) of the most famous big-wall climb in the world; ‘The Nose’ on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California.

Then there’s Ben Kozel, who rowed all the way from the source of the Amazon down to the Atlantic Ocean, an epic and arduous journey of 6,700km.

Added to the lineup is Kiwi cyclist Rebecca Wardell, who went all the way from Lake Geneva in Switzerland to Lake Hawea, Central Otago — by bike. Along the way she encountered Uzbeki heat, Chinese cold, and crashed her 47kg bike in Iran.

The Mountain Film and Book Festival programmes are available from Paper Plus, and tickets are available online at mountainfilm.nz. The festival runs from June 28 to July 3.


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