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The 17th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival


The 2019 NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will host two of the greatest athletes of all time. Keynote speakers, Lynn Hill (USA) and Annabel Anderson (NZ), will present during the festival that runs from June 28 to July 6 in Wanaka and Queenstown. Both women are world champions in their vastly different disciplines; rock climbing and stand-up paddle boarding; they are known for pushing physical boundaries and dominating in their respective sports.

Lyn Hill’s presentation at the festival, ‘Ascending Women’ is the story of Lynn’s life as a pioneer in what was once a male-dominated community: the sport of rock climbing. Hill changed the definition of what is possible in rock climbing with her first free ascent of the most famous big wall climb in the world; “The Nose” on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California. Over nineteen years later, Tommy Caldwell and Lynn are still the only two people in the world to have succeeded in making a free one-day ascent of The Nose.

The year following her first one-day free ascent of The Nose in 1994, Lynn took her big wall skills to the high peaks of Kyrgyzstan. There she made the first free ascents of two difficult big walls: the 4,000-foot west face of Peak 4810 with the late Alex Lowe and the Perestroika Crack of Peak 4240 with Greg Child.

In 1999, Lynn led a small team of women to the island of Madagascar (off the coast of Africa) to do a first ascent up a steep, two-thousand-foot wall of granite. This route turned out to be perhaps the most difficult first ascent of a big wall ever done by a team of women (5.13d).

Lynn started out as a traditional rock climber in Southern California in 1975, where she joined a group of climbers known as the Stonemasters. She discovered sport climbing on her first trip to France and went on to become one of the champions of competitive rock climbing for almost two decades.

Her travels have taken her to various places throughout Europe and to remote climbing destinations in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Morocco, Australia, Madagascar and South America. Currently living in Boulder, Colorado, Lynn balances her time between climbing, running, skiing, travelling to cool places around the world, and raising her son Owen.

Annabel, a Wanaka local, has held the world title for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) for 6 years in a row. She is one of the most dominating performers in her sport. She stepped down from defending her title in 2018 after she comfortably won the world championships at the Pacific Paddle Games in 2017. She also won the 2018 Female Performance of the Year award and the title of overall number one SUP racer in the world – male or female. She is the only woman to have ever achieved the honour.

Her career wins in both technical and distance races are too numerous to mention. She held the national title for 7 years and in 2018 she was crowned the supreme winner at the Otago Sports Awards as well as taking home the Sportswoman of the Year trophy.

Annabel’s physical strength is phenomenal but it is her mental capacity and fortitude that stand her in good stead. She has used her psychological toughness and mental agility to adapt to a barrage of challenges in her career. She has had her fair share of adversity and has faced it with humour and strength of character. Annabel will be speaking at the festival about her life in sport, her adventures and the challenges of high performance.


The festival holds an international adventure filmmaking competition that receives submissions from filmmakers from all corners of the globe. The finalists make up the festival programme screened in Lake Wanaka Centre and Queenstown Events Centre. The standard is exceptionally high and the event sits on the world stage alongside other well-known events. The deadline for submissions is April 20.

The Mountain Book competition champions the theme of ‘adventure sports and lifestyles’. Written work is submitted under a range of categories to win prize money and go in contention for the Grand Prize. The Mountain Book event also features author readings, old fashion storytelling, writing workshops and children’s events. The deadline for submissions is March 30.

The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival is a member of the International Alliance for Adventure Film hosting both international and NZ speakers, a world-class line up of films, and a broad range of literary events, all celebrating adventurous sports and lifestyles. The 2019 event will run in Wanaka June 28 to July 3, Queenstown July 4 to 6 and Cromwell July 7.

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