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Mountain Film and Book Festival more popular than ever

The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival more popular than ever

The 16th annual NZ Mountain Film Festival has come to a close following a hugely successful nine days. The festival had many sell out shows and received an incredibly positive response to the films, speakers and community initiatives. The world-class quality of the films, the speakers and the tales of the extraordinary expeditions and adventures once again thrilled festival-goers. The audience comprised locals as well as loyal fans from Christchurch and Dunedin, and visitors to Wanaka. Attendance increased on previous years across Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown.

Mark Sedon, Festival Director, says, “The format and structure of the programme worked well this year. Integrating the book events into the programme, all in one venue, has been really successful. Being able to broaden the genre has expanded our audience. It is really satisfying to see a wider range of folks attending our event and enjoying stories of adventure.”

Sedon, a keynote speaker himself, gave an inspirational and entertaining talk in both Wanaka and Queenstown about his epic 1,700km kite ski, climbing expedition in Antarctica. After many years of seeing Mark host the event the audience was intrigued to hear move about his life of adventures. Talks from Conrad Anker and Dulkara Martig entertained the audience and authors Lawrence Fearnley and Paul Hersey were particularly well received.

The audience supported the zero waste initiative aiming to achieve a goal of only one QLDC blue rubbish bag; three bags were used in the end. Activity to reduce waste included the installation of a free water fountain, free tea and coffee for audience members with their own cups, a digital ticketing system and a recycling regime. Festival-goers were encouraged to purchase only compostable cups from local cafes. The concept was well received and provided an opportunity for the Charitable Trust to convey a clear message about reducing use and waste, and choosing recyclable packaging.

The free family shows were also well received by over 300 people in Wanaka and Queenstown, as were the youth programmes where schools from Maniototo, Wakatipu, Cromwell and Wanaka were invited to attend free film sessions in Wanaka, with around 300 students attending. The NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust provided free transport to bus children in from the regions. The free youth programme is part of the non-profit Charitable Trust’s mission to encourage people, especially youth, to enjoy safe adventures in the outdoors.

The silent auction in Wanaka raised over $4,000 for the NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust’s grant scheme. Sponsors and local businesses donated items for the auction held over five days of the Wanaka film event. The auction items included ski area passes, heli-skiing, art walk images and other outdoor products from donors.

The grant scheme provides funds to support youth in adventure filmmaking courses or adventure skills training, local environmental projects like river clean ups, native tree re-planting and other similar projects, or to assist people with disabilities to buy specialist sporting equipment. Applications can be sent to the NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust Board of Trustees, P.O. Box 563, Wanaka 9343 or emailed to before August 30.

The non-profit Charitable Trust’s mandate is to promote healthy and active lifestyles, to encourage youth to make small safe adventures in the outdoors, to inspire people to reach their full potential, to work cooperatively with others in the youth development area, to help people with disabilities get into outdoor activities, and to promote NZ arts, film, culture, environment and outdoor lifestyles. The festival celebrates adventure sports and lifestyles and the silent auction and grant scheme assist in making them happen.

The People’s Choice Award went to a stand out favourite film called Stumped, which follows Maureen ‘Mo’ Beck climbing incredibly difficult rock routes with one arm.

Audiences will still have the ability to see this film as the festival travels throughout New Zealand on the national tour. Dates and venues can be found at

The festival was made possible with the support of many sponsors and benefactors and grants received from the Otago Community Trust, Central Lakes Trust, the Lion Foundation, Sargood Bequest, the QLDC and Creative NZ. The dates for the 17th NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival in 2019 are Friday June 28 to July 3 in Wanaka, and Queenstown from July 4 to July 6.

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