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Amazing films for a broad audience

The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival programme has been released and it offers a broad range of films focused on expeditions, the planet and people. In this year’s line-up a common theme in many films is why adventurers seek out adversity as a form of fun; they reveal how the attraction to danger and often life-threatening risk is intertwined with a sense of achievement and aspiration. In Fine Lines, the Best Film on Mountain Culture, Leo Houlding sums up this theme: “It’s a fine line between badass and dumbass.”

Fine Lines, directed by Dina Khreino (Hong Kong) will have its New Zealand premiere at the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival. In an attempt to understand what compels climbers to tackle the unknown, Khreino interviewed the elite climbing fraternity over a span of three years. The film features past festival speakers Leo Houlding and Alex Honnold, Conrad Anker and living legends Tommy Caldwell, Mo Beck and Stefanie Davis, and this year’s keynote speaker, Lynn Hill. Fine Lines uncovers the drive to find connection within a tribe and describes adventures steeped in purposes not apparent on the surface. These world-class climbers justify activities that may appear trivial on the surface as deeply spiritual and life-affirming. The film takes a philosophical view of testing the limits of the body, mind and spirit.

Mark Sedon, Festival Director, says, “Our audience has grown and diversified over the years from hard-core mountaineers and adventurers to families, different age groups and armchair adventurers. So often the deliberate hardship and agony of these adventures has the audience asking ‘why’, and Fine Lines takes a deep dive into the topic. The answers in this film are intriguing and we know a large portion our audience will relate.” Fine Lines features on Saturday 29 June in the Mountain Culture Show.

Expeditions and adventure filmmaking are also used as a medium to bring attention to important issues. In Ode to Muir, one of the world’s top snowboarders, Jeremy Jones (USA) retraces the steps of John Muir, an influential environmentalist and early advocate for the preservation of wildernesses. This film, portrayed as snowboarding adventure, is actually a story about heritage and conservation. Ode to Muir was the runner up for the Best Snow Sports Film and features on Monday 1 July as part of the Ski, Board and Ride Matinee.

The winner of the Best Environmental film, Sustainable Nation, takes a more obvious approach to delivering a core message. This documentary from director Micah Smith (Israel) follows three individuals focused on developing sustainable water solutions. They apply solutions developed in water-poor Israel to other regions in the world (one in ten people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water). The trio soon discover that food, energy and water challenges underscore life-threatening poverty, inequality, illness and lack of opportunity. The film features in the Nature and Environment session on Sunday 30 June.

The ten-day festival programme boasts a world-class collection of speakers and workshops, and includes 74 adventure films, 7 of which are world premieres. Programmes will be available at Paper Plus in Wanaka or The North Face Store at 38 Shotover Street in Queenstown, and online at The NZ Mountain Film and Book festival runs in Wanaka from June 28 to July 3, Queenstown from July 4 to 6 and Cromwell on July 7.

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 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 in a range of categories to win prize money and compete for the Grand Prize. The Mountain Book event also features author readings, old fashioned storytelling, writing workshops and children’s events.

From off-the-cuff storytelling to highly crafted film-making 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 is available online and tickets can be purchased at

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