15th Mountain Film Festival An Overwhelming Success

Published: Tue 4 Jul 2017 10:03 AM
The film events in the 15th NZ Mountain Film Festival have been an overwhelming success, breaking all attendance records. The Lake Wanaka Centre packed out, over a stormy weekend festival-goers settled in for a weekend of adventure films, speaker presentations and workshops. Leo Houlding, the keynote speaker, brought down the house with a thoroughly raw and engaging talk about his life in climbing.
The crowd loved Houlding’s entertaining, casual and informative rendition of his life of expeditions and media. His talk was compelling, inspiring and funny. He offered a glimpse into what these expeditions really feel like behind the scenes and how different the actual process is when the media is involved, especially those with big budgets.
Even after giving hundreds of talks about climbing and adventure, Houlding still takes to the stage excited to speak about his expeditions. Some key themes resonated with the audience: the group of people that you take on the mission is what makes it fun and that safety is always paramount. He suggests the best adventures seem to come from brushing up close to catastrophe and the more narrowly you avoid disaster, the more fun and triumphant it turns out to be. Now as a husband with two small children he has reluctantly retired from wing suiting and base jumping and is in the throes of planning an extraordinary expedition kite skiing across Antarctica.
Leo also spoke at an intimate setting with a small crowd and was interviewed by Wanaka mountaineer Whitney Thurlow. Houlding will speak in Queenstown on Thursday 6 July and in Christchurch on Saturday 8 July.
Houlding pointed out many expeditions and film projects are borne at events such as the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival. To help connect filmmakers Mark Sedon the Festival Director arranged a filmmakers’ networking event. This casual informal get-together gave filmmakers a chance to meet each other and talk about their work. Sedon says, “We knew there were a record number of filmmakers attending the event this year so we put on a little get-together to make sure they had a chance to meet one another. We expect this event may yield some adventure projects in the future. We also knew this event would be incredibly inspiring for young filmmakers such as Nat Warburton.”
The film events will play in Cromwell on Wednesday 5 July and Queenstown 6 to 8 July.
The book and literature events of the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will begin in Wanaka on Friday 7 to 9 July at the Lake Wanaka Centre. Opening Night will include the announcement of the Grand Prize winner and feature a panel discussion with the award-winning authors. Well-known adventurer, writer and filmmaker Tim Cope will take to the stage to talk about his book On the Trail of Genghis Khan and some of his more recent adventures. Cope is an award winning adventurer, author, and filmmaker with a special interest in the traditional cultures of Central Asia and Russia. He has studied as a wilderness guide in the Finnish and Russian subarctic, ridden a bicycle across Russia to China, and rowed a boat along the Yenisey River through Siberia to the Arctic Ocean.
Cope is from Gippsland, Victoria (Australia), he speaks fluent Russian, and guides in Siberia, and Mongolia and he was the 2007 National Geographic Adventure Honoree and 2006 Australian Adventurer of the year. His most renowned journey was a three year, 6,000 mile journey by horse from Mongolia to Hungary on the trail of Genghis Khan – a quest to understand the horseback nomads of the great Eurasian steppe.
Tim is the author of Off the Rails: Moscow to Beijing on Recumbent Bikes (Penguin Books 2003), and On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Lands of the Nomads (Bloomsbury Worldwide, winner of the Grand Prize at Banff 2013). He is also the creator of several documentary films, including the award winning series “The Trail of Genghis Khan,” (commissioned by ABC Australia and ZDF/Arte in Europe).
During the presentation Cope will be showing behind the scenes footage from his documentary (NZ Mountain Film Festival People’s Choice Award 2012, Banff Mountain Film Festival People’s Choice Award 2011, Grand Prize at Vancouver Mountain Film Festival), and a series of photos, while he weaves a story of adventure, triumph, tragedy and the history of the Mongols who created the largest empire in history.
This will be followed by an incredible New Zealand speaker, author and adventurer Nick Allen, who will talk about his life, and managing his Multiple Sclerosis while climbing. Well-known author, photographer and environmentalist Craig Potton will also speak.
The festival programme and tickets are available online at The 2017 book festival opens in Wanaka on Friday 7 July and in Queenstown on 6 July.
• Film & Book Festival Queenstown 6 to 8 July
• Book Festival Wanaka 7 to 9 July
About the New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival
The 15th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will run from 30 June to 9 July in Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown. The event will host international and NZ speakers, a world-class line up of films, and a broad range of literary events all honouring adventurous sports and lifestyles. From off-the-cuff storytelling to highly crafted filmmaking and written works, all events champion the love of adventure and the outdoors, the environment and foreign cultures.
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 the well known Banff and Kendal Mountain Film Festivals.
The addition of the Mountain Book competition has broadened the scope to illuminate the theme of ‘adventure sports and lifestyles’. Written work can be 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.
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. The 2017 festival begins in Wanaka on Friday 30 June and in Queenstown on Thursday 6 July.
More details can be found online at

Next in Lifestyle

Roddy Doyle's Grim and Gritty 'Rosie'
By: Howard Davis
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media