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The ten-day programme is packed with a world-class collection of speakers, workshops and films. The line-up includes 74 adventure films, of which 7 are world premieres and 54 are NZ premieres. We once again travel around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, on journeys of action and reflection, adrenaline and adventure. Come and join us!!!

Check out some of our award-winning films:

Best Kiwi-Made Film
The winners of the 2019 Best NZ-Made Film, the Hiddleston/MacQueen Award, goes to Sophie Ballagh and Ewan Blyth for their film ‘Iceolation’. This lovely film is equal parts adventure, beauty and reflection. Iceolation follows the pair on a self-supported, two-week sea kayak expedition in Antarctica. The stunning cinematography showcases the tranquility, isolation and extreme beauty of the continent. There are some spine-tinglingly close encounters with wildlife, as always some humorous penguin action, and the film captures a true sense of remoteness. It also offers an insight into the preparation for the expedition. The filmmakers receive $1,000 NZD in prize money and they receive the Hiddleston/MacQueen Award in honour of our mates Dave Hiddleston and Will MacQueen; we know they would both have loved this epic story and adventure.

Best Climbing Film
Best Climbing Film award: ‘Cerro Kishtwar – An Ice Cold Story’ by director Julian Zanker from Germany. The film follows German alpinist Thomas Huber and Swiss alpinists Stephan Siegrist and Julian Zanker on a 7-day first ascent. The ban on climbing in the Kashmir Mountains was lifted early in 2010 so in 2017, the three alpinists set off to attempt the face. To the outside observer, these extraordinary missions often look like the pursuit of crappiness. For example, on day 6, we watch the exhausted trio rally themselves from a porter ledge (held on just one bolt) from drenched/frozen/cold sleeping bags, for a grueling push to the top. The climbing is technical, and way more difficult than expected. This film is everything we love about adventure cinematography: suspense, watching folks in immense discomfort, friendship and triumph. This film is showing after Lynn Hill’s talk on Saturday 29 June.

Adventure Sports and Lifestyle Award
Some familiar faces appear in this year’s Best Adventure Sports and Lifestyles Film ‘Spectre Expedition – To the End of the Earth’. Directors Alastair Lee (UK) and 2016 festival speaker Leo Houlding (UK) have produced a stunning film of this epic journey. Leo, together with our Festival Director Mark Sedon and Frenchman Jean Burgun, undertake a journey of epic proportions. The trio snow-kite 2,000km across Antarctica, unsupported, to reach the summit of the most remote mountain on Earth: The Spectre. Leo says, “The truth is, it was the hardest trip I’ve ever done. It was the longest trip I’ve ever done. It was the coldest trip I’ve ever done.” But the Brit, Kiwi and French travelling threesome manage to make this undertaking look quite fun. Long-time Festival fans (especially those who have seen Mark and Leo’s past talks) will love this film, which shows after Ben Kozel’s talk on Sunday 30 June.

Best Solo Adventure
We have added a new award category for 2019; the Best Solo Adventure award. It was won this year by ‘Surviving the Outback’ from director Michael Atkinson. This film fulfills all the images the title conjures and more! Outback Mike, an outdoor survival instructor, was inspired by the tale of Adolf Klausmann and Hans Bertram, two German aviators who were stranded in this region in 1932 when they ran out of fuel on a flight to Darwin. He follows in their tracks by raft and on foot, surviving on his wits and wisdom alone. However the main difference is clear; Outback Mike chose to go there! The film follows Mike on this journey and takes us to some of the most stunning scenery and landscape in Australia. We reckon this is one to watch; it is showing following Annabel Anderson’s talk on Tuesday 2 July.

Best Snow Sports Film
‘Between the lines – Entre les lignes’ from French directors Pierre Cadot and Thomas Guerrin takes home the Best Snow Sports Film award for 2019. This film offers classic French extreme skiing in the heart of the Alps; it explores the nooks and crannies of an already well-skied mountain range in order to continue finding new, steep (very steep) lines in the Mont-Blanc massif. The skiers and riders find lines not visible to everyday skiers. They pick them apart to reveal some of the gnarliest, steepest (did we mention how steep it is?) breath-taking and only just ski-able lines of the iconic mountain. Not to be missed! This film is showing in the popular Snow Show on Monday 1 July, grab some tickets quick!

Grand Prize Award
These four films have been nominated as finalists for the 2019 Grand Prize Award and $1,000USD. A five-person jury will judge the films during the event and the winner will be announced on Wednesday 3 July, the final night of the Wanaka event.

Old Fashioned Story Telling
Our speakers go unscripted and unsupported by notes, lecterns or audiovisual equipment. This is storytelling at its best. Lynn Hill will tell some tales and local Chris Riley will freestyle some stories. Queenstown free diver Kathryn Nevatt will speak and local endurance athlete Bob McLachlan will tell us about his adventures. We look forward to hearing how Rebecca Wardell rode her bike home to Hawea from Switzerland! This session is on Wednesday 3 July.