NZ Mountain Film Festival – Opening Night
This Friday night the 14th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will open the doors at the Lake Wanaka Centre. Opening
Night will be a taste of what the festival has to offer, award-winning films, short films, a world premier and New
Zealand made films featuring several locals. The evening will begin with live music, drinks and nibbles, adventure trade
show and a presentation of the adventure film and book awards. Festival Director Mark Sedon will formally open the event
and introduce the biggest programme the festival has had on offer to date. “The festival has evolved through the years,
feedback tells us that our event is now considered one of the best adventure film festivals internationally. We know the
film content rivals the bigger festivals, however the strong Kiwi lean adds an extra edge and flavour that suits our
audience. As the reputation of the festival has grown, the audience has become more diverse and more people travel from
further away. Many of the Directors and filmmakers now travel to attend the event and be part of the show”.
Director and adventure filmmaker John-Jo Ritson (Wanaka) will be there on opening night to present the world premier of
‘Racing Godzone’. This insightful film follows Wanaka team Torpedo7 through 4 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes of grueling
adventure racing. Will Lascelles’ (Wanaka) will also attend opening night; his film ‘Lost Gringos’ was the Runner Up for
the Best NZ Film award. The film follows Wanaka freeskiers Sam Smoothy and Fraser McDougall on a nostalgic pilgrimage to
retrace a journey Smoothy’s father undertook in his youth in the Andes Mountains. The professional and artistic
approaches to presenting these stories are examples of local NZ talent creating world-class content.
Beneath the Mountain is directed by Kieran McKay (NZ). This film joins a team of Kiwi cavers as they take on deep
shafts, wet flood prone passages, tight squeezes and even an earthquake deep under the Kahurangi National Park.
Muscle and Dreams - Creating the Old Ghost Road is directed by Dave Kwant (NZ). Dave will attend the festival and
available for a short Q and A after the show. This film follows the creation of NZ's longest continuous single track
mountain bike trail. Connecting two ends of a long forgotten miners road the project took over 10 years to complete; a
classic Kiwi tale of grit and ingenuity.
Five Square Meals: A Bicycle Odyssey is directed by Anna Gray Yeoman (NZ). Ollie and Anna Yeoman explore Eurasia by
bike. They seek out 16,000km of the smallest, wildest roads through Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Anna will be at
the festival to introduce her film and take questions.
Opening night includes two more award winning films. 55 Hours In Mexico, directed by Joey Schusler (USA) is the winner
of the Best Short Film and the content is a perfect festival opener with content that will appeal to long time festival
fans. The film captures all the fun that can fit into a single weekend, to be exact 55 hours of fun in Mexico. A Special
Jury Award goes Vladimir Cellier (France) for Metronomic an imaginative and quirky film combining stuntmen, air dancers
Award winning films:
Locked In - First Descent of the Beriman Gorge. Directed by Bryan Smith and David Pearson from Austria. Four kayakers
travel to Papua New Guinea to conquer whitewater that no kayakers have tried before: The Beriman River Gorge. These
super generous filmmakers donated their US$1,000 prize back to the Festival Trust and their free youth programmes.
Best Film on Mountain Culture
Mira directed by Lloyd Belcher (Hong Kong). Follow the journey of a spirited Nepali village girl on her pursuit to being
a world-recognised mountain runner.
Best NZ Made Film - Hiddleston/MacQueen Award
Paddle for the North, directed by Simon Lucas (NZ). Six mates paddled 1500km over six rivers in remote North America to
show the world the true value of wild places.
Best Film on the Environment
Jumbo Wild is directed by Nick Waggoner (USA). This film shows all sides of an epic struggle between backcountry
protection and development in British Columbia’s iconic Jumbo Valley.
Best Film on Adventurous Sports & Lifestyles
The Rocky Mountains Traverse, directed by Will Gadd and Gavin McClurg (Canada). This film follows the longest air
journey by a paraglider ever recorded; a 35 day journey via thermal air lift towards Mt. Robson and then the Canada-US
border 640 kilometres away.
Best Snow Sports Film
Degrees North, directed by Guido Perrini (Switzerland). Amongst the remote northern territories of Svalbard and Alaska,
skiers and snowboarder use a paramotor wing to access areas unreachable by helicopter.
Best film on Climbing
A Line Across The Sky, directed by Peter Mortimer & Josh Lowell (USA). Join Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold on the inspiring, and at times hilarious quest that earned the
Piolet d’Or. The Fitz Roy traverse is a gnarly journey across seven jagged summits and over 4,000m of vertical climbing.
Director Iara Lee will attend the festival from Brazil, she directed the film K2 and the Invisible Footman, part of the
Mountain Culture show on Saturday July 2nd. These award winning films and world premiers make up a full programme across
9 days in Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown. Tickets are available online at mountanfilm.net.nz or at the lake Wanaka
Centre from 5pm Friday 1 July and throughout the festival.
The Book Festival Opens on Saturday at Rippon Hall with around 20 speakers, 10 shows and a variety of activities..…