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NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival Begins

The 16th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will open this Friday at the Lake Wanaka Centre with tickets still available to most shows. Opening Night will include 14 short films, a talk by Festival Director Mark Sedon, the Adventure Trade Show, Art Exhibition, complimentary nibbles and live music from Mount Aspiring College students. The evening is social and often a reunion of both festival fans, and adventure and filmmaking enthusiasts.

Sedon will officially open the event and says, “Once again the Kiwi character shines through in this year’s programme. Contemporary filmmaking and writing offers a nod to the rich heritage of New Zealand adventurers and explorers. We love seeing Kiwi talent and creativity not only in the material presented, but also in the design of expeditions people are undertaking. The spirit of our adventure community is alive and well and will be on offer in this year’s speakers, films and book presentations. We hope the event will inspire the next generation of New Zealand adventurers, especially youth and women. This year many of the award winning films feature gals pushing the boundaries.”

The first film, Fire by David Weldon, sets the scene for many appearances by Kiwi adventurers throughout the festival. This short film takes the audience BASE jumping in some of the most beautiful scenes in New Zealand. Local Wanaka freeskier Sam Smoothy also features in the Opening Night line-up in Hakkaido Calling as he searches for deep powder, undiscovered paths and fresh lines.

The Pure NZ session on Saturday 30 June packages up a range of Kiwi-made films including the world premiere of the best NZ Made Film, The Sky Piercer. The film follows a team, led by Smoothy, to climb and ski the East Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Wanaka’s Jase Hancox is the recipient of the Hiddleston/MacQueen Award for this film and says, “Sam and I have been filming together for 14 years now, he was one of the first skiers I started filming. For the past 10 years we have had many a beer discussing how we would make this film. We are so stoked to have had this opportunity to finally make this film. To be able to bring Fraser McDougall and his skills not only as an incredible skier but also as a glider pilot to the screen has really lifted the film to another level. There was also a whole bunch of luck, the weather window and the conditions were all out of our control but lined up perfectly. All in all it was an amazing team effort, to come away with this award is a testament to the effort everyone put in.”

The NZ only film session will also feature ‘Perspective’ a short film by local 11-year-old filmmaker Nat Warburton. The film offers perspectives on a rock climbing, mountain biking, riversurfing, kayaking adventure lifestyle. Winner of the new Grassroots award (and $500) is New Zealand Director Jason Blair for Trollfinger. The film follows three Kiwis to the Faroe Islands to climb the iconic rock spire, known locally as Trollkonufingur. This award is only given out when emerging talent appears.

Opening Night will also feature the winner of the Best Short Film ‘Where the Wild Things Play’ a short sharp, somewhat cheeky, look at women BASE jumping from high desert cliffs, performing tricks on slacklines, climbing granite routes, tackling single track mountain biking and skiing extreme backcountry lines.

The 2018 festival runs in Wanaka from June 29 to July 4, Cromwell on July 4 and Queenstown from July 5 to 7. Programmes are available at Paper Plus in Wanaka or The North Face store at 38 Shotover Street in Queenstown. Tickets are available at

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