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Next Generation of Kiwi Filmmakers

NZ Mountain Film Festival – Next Generation of Kiwi Filmmakers

The 15th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival programme has been released and tickets are on sale. Of the 78 films on offer a record six come from Wanaka-based filmmakers. Two filmmakers in particular stand out: 17-year-old Ollie Larkin and 10-year-old Nat Warburton.

Ollie Larkin has been involved with the NZ Mountain Film Festival since participating in the Adventure Film School in 2015. Larkin then went on to enter and win the youth category of the photography competition. This year Larkin’s film ‘Protect Sticky’ features in the Pure NZ category. The film captures local passion for community crafted mountain bike trails and the love of mountain biking and the trails locals call Sticky Forest. The editing, music and clever cinematic style were considered to be unique by the judges.

Nat Warburton is a 10-year-old adventure filmmaker from Lake Hawea. Warburton submitted a 12-minute documentary style film called ‘More Adventure Less Talk’. The film takes the audience on the young director’s summer filled with adventure and the journey of filmmaking in the process. Filmmaking and adventure, at such a young age encapsulate the ethos of the event.

Other Wanaka filmmakers include Gavin Lang and Pedro Pimentel Directors of the film ‘The Harper Mannering Ross Challenge’; Whitney Oliver, Director of ‘Tanya the Hut Warden’; Jase Hancox, Director of Sliding Fire and David Walden Director of New Zealand Wild.

The film content received this year was varied and surprising. Film Festival Director Mark Sedon says, “This year’s content is particularly innovative; creativity shines through in the quality of the cinematography as well as the imagination in the design of the ventures people dream up. The focus on the environment and culture is a common thread and we expect Kiwi audiences to relate to the notion of stewardship and responsibility for places in which we play. Amongst all this adrenaline and fun, the films reveal immense respect for the people and places along the way.” Films not only feature expeditions from seasoned professionals, but amateur adventurers and kids on a mission.

The Best Film on Mountain Culture, ‘Shift’, aligns closely with this theme. ‘Shift’ will resonate with Wanaka audiences as it follows indigenous children as they transform traditional forest trails into world-class mountain bike tracks. This heart-warming and inspiring documentary tracks the kids’ progress as they convert over 60 kilometres of historical trails around their community. The transformation for the town and the kids themselves provides a moving story to watch.

Director Bryan Smith is awarded the Best Film on Adventurous Sports and Lifestyles and runner-up for the Grand Prize award with his film ‘North of Known’. The film follows Gavin McClurg as he pushes the boundaries of expedition paragliding in terrain where bears outnumber people, roads are non-existent and flying conditions are completely unknown.

McClurg and his partner Dave Turner embark on the most remote and aggressive vol-bivy expedition ever attempted, traversing the entire length of the Alaska Range unsupported.

A Special Jury Award goes to film ‘Four Mums in a Boat’. Director Simon Tucker follows four middle-aged women from Yorkshire who decided to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic. The four working mums attempt to break the world record by becoming the oldest rowers to complete this journey. They have absolutely no adventure or endurance experience, which sets the scene for a comedic and interesting approach to adventure.

Run by a charitable trust, the mission of The NZ Mountain Film Festival is to use the power of film, art, spoken word and literature to inspire audiences to be more active. New to the event line-up this year is a free family film show on July 1 and 2 in Wanaka and July 8 in Queenstown. The show is designed to inspire the next generation of adventurers and ensure participation in the festival is accessible for all ages and all families. Each show is replaying the same films. The Trust is dedicated to keeping the festival as a grassroots event with small intimate shows and a friendly social atmosphere. Their mandate is to keep the shows as inexpensive as possible, while putting on world-class events. They aim to inspire people to dream big and take on new challenges suitable to their physical ability and age.

The festival programme and tickets are available online at The 2017 festival runs in Wanaka on Friday 30 June and in Queenstown on Thursday 6 July.

• Film Festival Wanaka 30 June to 4 July
• Film Festival Cromwell 5 July
• Film & Book Festival Queenstown 6 to 8 July
• Book Festival Wanaka 7 to 9 July


About the New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival

The 15th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will run from 30 June to 9 July in Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown. The event will host international and NZ speakers, a world-class line up of films, and a broad range of literary events all honouring adventurous sports and lifestyles. From off-the-cuff storytelling to highly crafted filmmaking and written works, all events champion the love of adventure and the outdoors, the environment and foreign cultures.

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 the well known Banff and Kendal Mountain Film Festivals.

The addition of the Mountain Book competition has broadened the scope to illuminate the theme of ‘adventure sports and lifestyles’. Written work can be 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 festival line-up includes world famous speakers, a packed programme of adventure, cultural and environmental films, informal storytelling, workshops, author readings, an adventure trade show and a free youth programme.

The festival programme will be announced when tickets go on sale on 1 June. The 2017 festival begins in Wanaka on Friday 30 June and in Queenstown on Thursday 6 July.

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