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NZMFF opens tonight

NZ Mountain Film Festival – , Queenstown, 3 July 2015: Tonight at 7pm the NZ Mountain Film Festival open the doors for 2015. The opening night has sold out and the audience will enjoy complimentary nibbles, live music, the art exhibition, the Trade show and of course the first session of adventure films. Mark Sedon, the Festival Director, will officially welcome the crowd and this year that includes many filmmakers, adventurers and speakers from all over the world. Mark says, “The line up of films, speakers, books and workshops at this years Festival is world class. We are especially pleased to see such a strong Kiwi presence competing against the international films. Each year it is increasingly satisfying to see the Trust’s vision come to life, to inspire people into the outdoors and to live an enriched life through adventure and filmmaking. We recognise the growth in NZ films coming through as a measure of success for our festival.” Although Opening Night has sold out there are plenty of tickets available for other film sessions and speakers.

Alex Honnold has arrived in town and he likes what he sees of New Zealand and especially Wanaka so far. Alex says, ‘this place is beautiful, I really lucky to be part of the festival this year and to get to see a small piece of New Zealand”. Alex has been a subject of many of the films in the festival throughout the years. This year is no exception, as he is not only speaking to audiences in Wanaka and Queenstown, he also features in a sequel to his 2014 festival film. Less than a year after tackling the fifteen tallest peaks in California, by bike in ‘Sufferfest’, Alex and Cedar Wright have forgotten that it was their worst trip ever and have decided this time to climb 45 of the American Southwest’s most iconic Desert Towers, via their most difficult routes in ‘Sufferfest 2’. The Sufferfest duo showcases a lighter side of Honnolds endeavors. This California-native’s most celebrated achievements include the first and only free-solos of the Moonlight Buttress (5.12d, 1,200 feet) in Zion National Park, Utah, and the Northwest Face (5.12a) of Half Dome (2,200 feet), Yosemite, California. In 2012 he achieved Yosemite’s first “Triple Solo”: climbing, in succession, the National Park’s three largest faces—Mt. Watkins, Half Dome and El Capitan—alone, and in under 24 hours. Having Honnold attend is an accolade to the NZ Mountain Film Festival and an indication of the reputation of this event on an international scale.

Steve Gurney will speak about his expedition and attempt to be the first to cross the Sahara in a kite buggy and to break the 1,000km record for a kite journey. The trip was not all-smooth sailing and this grueling challenge came with a striking barrage hijinks and calamity. Steve will speak about how he faced desert heat, corruption, storms, equipment trouble and terrorists during this mighty adventure. Ben Brown, a well-respected New Zealand athlete will speak about his life and lessons as he has travelled the world as a professional kayaker. Ben’s kayaking has taken him from Zambia to Uganda, Iceland to Northern Norway, Thailand and Canada.

The 2015 festival will feature new faces to introduce films and present the evening sessions. Lydia Bradey will host Alex’s show and also speak in the new Book Festival event at Rippon Vineyard. Chuck Berry will host Ben’s Brown’s talk and Sam Smoothy will host the Snow Show. In a new format filmmakers will introduce their films and take some questions from the audience following the screening. Long time festival supporter Paul Hersey will introduce ‘The Moments We Make’. Paul’s films have featured in several festivals throughout the years and he will speak about his push to climb Anidesha Chuli in Nepal and join the panel for Old Fashion Storytelling. Wanaka local Tim Pierce will introduce his film ‘Will Jackways Interpretation’ and Director Lachlan Humphreys will introduce ‘Re-Establishment’, his film that follows freeskier Sam Lee’s rehabilitation back to the Freeride World Tour. The Director of this years Best Environmental Film ‘Pest Free?’ Braydon Moloney will also be on stage.

Tickets are available online or at the Lake Wanaka Centre or Queenstown Memorial Hall during the event.