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Winning Films Set To Enthrall At Film Festival

PRESS RELEASE – 18/06/08

Winning Films Set To Enthrall At Film Festival

Conquering fear, discovering new worlds, nurturing nature and gaining great heights are some of the elements featured in the winning films of this year’s New Zealand Mountain Film Festival in July.

The five-day festival programme, to be launched this week, is packed with 45 finalists’ films of inspiring, scenic and entertaining stories offering the armchair explorer unique adventures across the world from the comfort of their seat. Session tickets go on sale Friday 20 June with festival organisers expecting sell-outs, particularly for sessions screening the winning films.

The Grand Prize has been awarded to The Beckoning Silence (UK, 2007 Director Louise Osmond), the story about Tony Kurz, whose climbing colleagues were killed during the first attempt to conquer the Eiger in 1936. Touching the Void’s Joe Simpson returns to the Eiger to tell Kurz's heroic battle for survival, while confronting his own climbing demons and rediscovering the thrill of the climb that once made him feel so alive. Also a winner at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

First Light (NZ, 2007, Director Guy Ryan) is the search for the most perfect surf New Zealand has to offer and wins the title of Best New Zealand-made film. The film takes you on a journey around the magical Otago and Catlins coastline to discover epic surfing, on epic waves, at first light.

The winner of the Best Film on Climbing is Baffin: An Island Of Children (France, 2006, Director Sam Beaugey). Six mountain climbers travel in minus 27 degrees Celsius above the Arctic Circle to discover a lost land of ice, getting there was no easy task. They are welcomed and helped by a community of eight hundred Inuit people (Eskimos) to reach the immense fjords on the Eastern Coast of Baffin Island, attempting to open a new ascension way, using any means to fulfill their dreams, wingsuits, skis, snowboards, para-gliders and kites all came in to play.

The Best Film on Mountain Culture the Environment was awarded to Edge of Eden: Living with Grizzlies (Canada, 2007, Directors Jeff and Sue Turner). In Kamchatka, the most easterly region of Russia, a Canadian conservationist, Charlie Russell becomes a surrogate mother reintroducing orphaned cubs to the wild. Set against the backdrop of a dramatic landscape filled with lurking predators and poachers it was filmed over the course of a year, this relationship will fill viewers with awe and sure to win hearts and minds.

“The diversity of films to be screened at this year’s film festival is outstanding," said festival director Mark Sedon. "The different emotions, senses and imagination to be stirred by this collection of films is quite unreal. The viewer will gain an insight to many different worlds, challenges and experiences and be entertained at the same time.”

The film competition attracted over 85 entries from across the world; with 12 from New Zealand – which is double previous years’ entrants, five of these will be screened during the festival.

All winners and finalists’ films will be screened during the festival, which runs from 4th to 8th July. The weekend passes sold out in a week. There are plenty of session tickets available costing from $10 to $20, on sale from the 20 June through the website and then at the Lake Wanaka Centre from 4 July.

Details of all films are listed in the full programme will be available from stores in Queenstown and Wanaka, next week and on the web site

All winners:
Grand Prize Winner NZMFF 2008 - The Beckoning Silence (UK, 2007, Director Louise Osmond,
73 mins)
Winner of Best NZ Made Film - First Light (NZ, 2007, Director Guy Ryan, 5 min)
Winner of Best Short Film - Trip Box II (France, 2008, Director/Producer Claude Adam, 7 min)
Winner of Best Film on Mountain Culture and the Environment - Edge of Eden: Living with Grizzlies (Canada, 2007, Directors Jeff and Sue Turner, 88 mins)
Winner of Best Film on Climbing Baffin: An Island Of Children (France, 2006, Director Sam Beaugey, 36 mins)
Winner of Best Film on Skiing - Lost and Found (USA, 2007, Directors TGR)
Winner of Best Film on Adventurous Sports & Lifestyles - By Own Strength (Sweden, 2007, Director Renata Chlumska and Blomqvist Productions, 45 min)


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