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The First Major Event In Wanaka And Queenstown Since Lockdown

Tara Mulvany | credit NZMFF

The 18th NZ Mountain Film Festival will open this Friday 26 June in Wanaka and Queenstown. After months of uncertainty, Festival Director Mark Sedon is delighted to open the doors on the event. He says, “We are incredibly pleased to have made it to this point and to be able to bring these amazing films to our audience. Filmmakers work for years putting together expeditions, production and entering films, and we are stoked to be able to screen their hard work both online and at our live events this year. To ensure all of our loyal fans can see our guest speakers we have just announced we will be live streaming all of the talks for free on our web site and Facebook.” Tickets are still available to many events and can be purchased online at

The Charitable Trust adapted its focus early in the planning stages of this year’s event. The goal became to safely deliver the event in line with current guidelines, maintain the ethos of the festival, celebrate adventurous sports and lifestyles by bringing the adventure and filmmaking community together, and deliver a financially sustainable event that would set the Trust up to deliver a full-scale event in 2021. With a keen focus on our loyal festival fans, ticket prices have remained low, and Free Family Shows and free talks online will be offered. Sedon says, “We have endeavoured to add value where we can and ensure the event is as accessible as possible to our audience through the Free Family shows and free online talks. We are grateful for the continued support from our sponsors, funders and patrons, and long-time festival fans.”

Free Family Shows are screening at 11am Saturday 27 June and Sunday 28 June at the Community Hub. These are free, one-hour family shows that include some epic adventure films. Adults cannot attend without a child and bookings are essential.

Speakers include our local Jo Haines, speaking about her travels across Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan by bike. Geoff Spearpoint will speak about his life in the NZ backcountry and his book The Great Unknown, which won the NZ Mountain Book of the Year. Tara Mulvany, who completed the first-ever kayak circumnavigation of the Svalbard Archipelago in the high Arctic, will talk about her adventures, and we will also hear from Scott Donaldson, who became the first solo kayaker to successfully paddle from Australia to New Zealand. Each of the talks will be shown online on the festival web site and Facebook page.

The event is scheduled to run live in several venues in Wanaka and Queenstown simultaneously from 26 to 28 June and nationally online from 26 June to 5 July. The events will include the popular Opening Night, guest speakers and award-winning films.

The trust received over 188 entries in the filmmaker competition, and 54 films are included in the programme, including 9 world premieres and 13 New Zealand-made films. The films make up the sessions in these categories: NZ Pure, Snow Show, Environmental and Cultural and the Free Family shows. Each session includes the award-winning films. The Pure NZ session will include the Hiddleston/MacQueen Award - Best NZ Film.

During every festival the Charitable Trust raises money for its Grant Scheme. This year the funds from the National Tour will go towards the scheme to support people with disabilities into outdoor activities, encourage youth to undertake safe adventures in the outdoors, support environmental initiatives, and promote healthy and active lifestyles. Applications open 1 July and can be made on the festival website.

Tickets and the full festival programme are available at 

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