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A Mountain of Speakers

The 2018 NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will be held in Wanaka, Queenstown and Cromwell from June 29 to July 7. The event will host an unprecedented line-up of international and New Zealand guest speakers. Incorporating literature into the festival schedule three years ago broadened the content and style of the guest speakers and their presentations. Talks vary from high-profile professional adventurers presenting polished talks enhanced with imagery and video edit, to local legends offering up off-the-cuff, free-style recollections and anecdotes, enhanced only by time and their imaginations. The authors, adventurers and filmmakers all offer different perspectives on adventure.

Mark Sedon (NZ), Festival Director, acknowledges that the changes in technology over the 16 years of the event have vastly changed the landscape for capturing and retelling adventure tales. He says, “The tools and technology available to the every-day adventurer are astounding. Global connectivity means blow-by-blow accounts can be uploaded from remote corners of the planet, for the online audience following an expedition in real time. Two-way communication through social media also provides a new element of engagement. These digital advances are phenomenal but in contrast they make traditional, informal, campfire-style story telling all the more unique and special.” All the speakers at the event are storytellers in their own right; an extraordinary schedule of speakers will take to the stage at the 16th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Sedon will be speaking about his 55-day Antarctic expedition at this year’s event. The adventure, dubbed the ‘Spectre Expedition’ saw trio, Leo Houlding (UK), Jean Burgun (France) and Sedon kite ski 1,700km across Antarctica to climb Mt Spectre. Conrad Anker (USA) will be the main keynote speaker, describing his life of first ascents and his most recent expedition, also in Antarctica. Dulkara Martig (NZ) brings a distinctly Kiwi flavour to the stage. Her entertaining talk will take the audience from the jungles of Borneo to the outback of Australia and into the vast grizzly-inhabited wildernesses of Alaska.

Martig grew up firstly in Mount Cook Village, and later on the West Coast of NZ, in a place called Toa (population 17). No TV meant most of her childhood was spent barefoot, exploring the bush, playing in the creeks, swimming and climbing trees. When the family moved to Nelson, she studied Outdoor Education, honing her natural propensity for adventure and adding more technical outdoor skills. From this foundation Martig’s life has been spent travelling the world hiking, packrafting, skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing and mountaineering. In the past year alone she was part of four multi-week expeditions: ski-mountaineering and packrafting in SE Alaska, packrafting in the Arctic, packrafting in the Kimberleys in Western Australia, and traversing NZ’s Southern Alps. She recently competed in the Godzone expedition adventure race in Fiordland. Martig will speak about her multi-discipline journeys, and how adding packrafting to her wilderness travel repertoire has opened doors to a totally new set of adventures.

A relatively new and always popular show is the Old-Fashioned Storytelling. Speakers are unscripted and unsupported by notes, lecterns or audio visual equipment. This is storytelling at its unabashed best, presenting unique stories on the themes of mountains, wild places and misadventure as they are shaped in the moment. Speakers include Conrad Anker (USA), Sam Smoothy (NZ), Whitney Thurlow (NZ), Sequoia Schmidt (USA) and Neil Silverwood.

Authors featuring this year include Peta Carey (NZ), Colin Montieth (NZ) and Shaun Barnett (NZ). Barnett has written eight books, including Classic Tramping in New Zealand (co-authored with Rob Brown), which won a Montana Book Award. More recently, he’s co-authored Shelter from the Storm: The Story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts, which won the New Zealand Post Booksellers Award in 2013. Tramping, A New Zealand History, co-authored with Chris Maclean, was long-listed for the New Zealand book awards. His most recent book is A Bunk for the Night: A Guide to New Zealand’s Best Backcountry Huts (2016) with Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint. Barnett has tramped throughout New Zealand and around the world, including Australia, South America, Canada, Nepal, the UK, Ireland, Italy, Iceland and Alaska. Since 1996 he has written over 1000 articles for newspapers and magazines in New Zealand and overseas. Between 1999 and 2003 he was the editor of Wilderness magazine and is the current editor of the Federated Mountain Club’s Backcountry.

General tickets will be on sale when the full festival programme is launched on June 1. Entries have closed for the literature events. The Trust is still receiving entries to the film competition and entries close on April 30. The 2018 festival runs in Wanaka from 29 June to July 4, Cromwell on July 4 and Queenstown from July 5 to 7.


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