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Record Number of Films Received


This year the NZ Mountain Book and Film festival received more films than ever before. In total, 208 films were submitted in the international adventure film competition, a 16% increase on 2018 and a new record. Entries were received from Finland, Brazil, USA, South Korea, Australia, India, Turkey, Armenia, Europe, Hong Kong and New Zealand; 16 of the films were Kiwi-made. Fewer mountaineering films were received than in the past; however, there was a significant increase in environmental films submitted.

Literature judges Allan Uren, Annabel Wilson and Chief judge Dave Vass have been reading the entries for the Mountain Book competition. The depth and breadth of Kiwi authors submitting work is pleasing for the Trust, says Mark Sedon, Festival Director; “The number of submissions this year is incredibly inspiring. The quality of films received and level of cinematography continues to rise but we are particularly pleased with the variety and quality of book entries too.” Content ranges from polar expeditions to surfing missions, science to scenery, and also includes the ever-popular Kiwi guidebook. Many of the authors, including Bob McKerrow (NZ) will be presenting at the festival alongside the hard-core adventurers like Ben Kozel from Australia.

Ben Kozel dreams up unique adventures, takes them on with his best friends and retells the tales with vivid recollections and a uniquely Australian narrative. His books, including accounts of an improbable journey down the Amazon and rowing through Mongolia and Siberia to the Arctic Ocean, paint an accurate picture of the adventurer and his expeditions.

Ben rafted down the Amazon from its source high in the Andes to its mouth on the Atlantic coast of South America with two friends. They survived storms, tropical diseases, local authorities and some of the fiercest white water on the planet. After 6 months, having travelled 7,000km of the Amazon, they arrived at the Atlantic Ocean.

He then tackled the first source-to-sea descent of the world’s fifth longest river, the Yenisey, which traverses Mongolia and Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. Ben and his teammates, fellow Australian Tim Cope (a past festival guest) and two Canadians, rowed 5,500kms to complete their mission and enter the record books. He will speak at the festival about his two epic journeys.


Bob McKerrow, a mountaineer, polar adventurer, humanitarian, writer and poet, will be speaking at the Book Festival. Bob has applied his highly tuned skills and expertise, developed in polar and mountain exploration, to disaster relief humanitarian work with the Red Cross.

Bob was born in Dunedin and climbed in the Otago Alps as a teenager, and later extensively in the greater Southern Alps. Bob was a member of a New Zealand Andean expedition in 1968 that climbed in the Cordillera Vilcabamba; he climbed 12 peaks, 8 of them first ascents. In 1969-1970 Bob wintered over in Antarctica with 3 other people at Vanda Station; they were the smallest-ever NZ Government wintering over group. He did two major dog sled trips with legendary polar explorer Will Steger in the Arctic, including one to the North Pole.

Bob spent 36 years working for the International Red Cross in conflict situations and in times of major natural disasters, and would regularly take his leave in neighbouring mountain ranges. He lived in Afghanistan for 3 years from 1993 to 1996 and had many other short assignments there. War and landmines prevented mountaineering for many years but he managed to do quite a lot of climbing, because he had highly trained de-mining experts in the team who were able to negotiate many dangerous access routes.

Bob has completed the Coast to Coast three times, has completed a sea kayak double crossing of the Cook Strait and, in an attempt to sea kayak the Tasman Sea with Paul Caffyn, was arrested for not having particular radar equipment. He is recognised as a world leader in disaster recovery, was Editor of the New Zealand Adventure Magazine in 1989 and 1990, and in his spare time he likes to write.

Bob enjoys writing and has been a regular contributor to the NZ Alpine Journal and a number of magazines. He is the author of three books: Coast to Coast – The Great New Zealand Race; Mountains of our Mind – Afghanistan; and Ebenezer Teichelmann - Pioneer New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, surgeon, photographer and conservationist. Bob is currently writing a new book on mountaineering in South Westland.

The festival runs in Wanaka from June 28 to July 3, Queenstown from July 4 to 6 and Cromwell on July 7. The full programme will be released when general tickets go on sale on June 1 at mountainfilm.nz.

About the New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival



The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival 2019 event runs in Wanaka June 28 to July 3, Queenstown July 4 to 6 and Cromwell July 7. The 10-day event is a celebration of adventurous sports and lifestyles presented for adventurers, film and book enthusiasts and armchair adventurers.



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 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 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.



From off-the-cuff storytelling to highly crafted filmmaking and written works, all events celebrate the love of adventure and the outdoors, the environment and foreign cultures. 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.


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