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NZ Mountain Film Festival – Opening Night

NZ Mountain Film Festival – Opening Night

This Friday night the 14th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will open the doors at the Lake Wanaka Centre. Opening Night will be a taste of what the festival has to offer, award-winning films, short films, a world premier and New Zealand made films featuring several locals. The evening will begin with live music, drinks and nibbles, adventure trade show and a presentation of the adventure film and book awards. Festival Director Mark Sedon will formally open the event and introduce the biggest programme the festival has had on offer to date. “The festival has evolved through the years, feedback tells us that our event is now considered one of the best adventure film festivals internationally. We know the film content rivals the bigger festivals, however the strong Kiwi lean adds an extra edge and flavour that suits our audience. As the reputation of the festival has grown, the audience has become more diverse and more people travel from further away. Many of the Directors and filmmakers now travel to attend the event and be part of the show”.

Director and adventure filmmaker John-Jo Ritson (Wanaka) will be there on opening night to present the world premier of ‘Racing Godzone’. This insightful film follows Wanaka team Torpedo7 through 4 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes of grueling adventure racing. Will Lascelles’ (Wanaka) will also attend opening night; his film ‘Lost Gringos’ was the Runner Up for the Best NZ Film award. The film follows Wanaka freeskiers Sam Smoothy and Fraser McDougall on a nostalgic pilgrimage to retrace a journey Smoothy’s father undertook in his youth in the Andes Mountains. The professional and artistic approaches to presenting these stories are examples of local NZ talent creating world-class content.

World Premiers:

Beneath the Mountain is directed by Kieran McKay (NZ). This film joins a team of Kiwi cavers as they take on deep shafts, wet flood prone passages, tight squeezes and even an earthquake deep under the Kahurangi National Park.

Muscle and Dreams - Creating the Old Ghost Road is directed by Dave Kwant (NZ). Dave will attend the festival and available for a short Q and A after the show. This film follows the creation of NZ's longest continuous single track mountain bike trail. Connecting two ends of a long forgotten miners road the project took over 10 years to complete; a classic Kiwi tale of grit and ingenuity.

Five Square Meals: A Bicycle Odyssey is directed by Anna Gray Yeoman (NZ). Ollie and Anna Yeoman explore Eurasia by bike. They seek out 16,000km of the smallest, wildest roads through Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Anna will be at the festival to introduce her film and take questions.

Opening night includes two more award winning films. 55 Hours In Mexico, directed by Joey Schusler (USA) is the winner of the Best Short Film and the content is a perfect festival opener with content that will appeal to long time festival fans. The film captures all the fun that can fit into a single weekend, to be exact 55 hours of fun in Mexico. A Special Jury Award goes Vladimir Cellier (France) for Metronomic an imaginative and quirky film combining stuntmen, air dancers and music.

Award winning films:

Grand Prize

Locked In - First Descent of the Beriman Gorge. Directed by Bryan Smith and David Pearson from Austria. Four kayakers travel to Papua New Guinea to conquer whitewater that no kayakers have tried before: The Beriman River Gorge. These super generous filmmakers donated their US$1,000 prize back to the Festival Trust and their free youth programmes.

Best Film on Mountain Culture

Mira directed by Lloyd Belcher (Hong Kong). Follow the journey of a spirited Nepali village girl on her pursuit to being a world-recognised mountain runner.

Best NZ Made Film - Hiddleston/MacQueen Award

Paddle for the North, directed by Simon Lucas (NZ). Six mates paddled 1500km over six rivers in remote North America to show the world the true value of wild places.

Best Film on the Environment

Jumbo Wild is directed by Nick Waggoner (USA). This film shows all sides of an epic struggle between backcountry protection and development in British Columbia’s iconic Jumbo Valley.

Best Film on Adventurous Sports & Lifestyles

The Rocky Mountains Traverse, directed by Will Gadd and Gavin McClurg (Canada). This film follows the longest air journey by a paraglider ever recorded; a 35 day journey via thermal air lift towards Mt. Robson and then the Canada-US border 640 kilometres away.

Best Snow Sports Film

Degrees North, directed by Guido Perrini (Switzerland). Amongst the remote northern territories of Svalbard and Alaska, skiers and snowboarder use a paramotor wing to access areas unreachable by helicopter.

Best film on Climbing

A Line Across The Sky, directed by Peter Mortimer & Josh Lowell (USA). Join Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold on the inspiring, and at times hilarious quest that earned the Piolet d’Or. The Fitz Roy traverse is a gnarly journey across seven jagged summits and over 4,000m of vertical climbing.

Director Iara Lee will attend the festival from Brazil, she directed the film K2 and the Invisible Footman, part of the Mountain Culture show on Saturday July 2nd. These award winning films and world premiers make up a full programme across 9 days in Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown. Tickets are available online at mountanfilm.net.nz or at the lake Wanaka Centre from 5pm Friday 1 July and throughout the festival.

The Book Festival Opens on Saturday at Rippon Hall with around 20 speakers, 10 shows and a variety of activities..…


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