2020 Festival Will Go Ahead

Jo Haines

The 18th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival is scheduled to run in a reduced capacity in Wanaka from 26 June to 28, followed by the popular National Tour. The festival director, Mark Sedon, has had to create adapted options for the festival format and platform for 2020.

Sedon says, “There are several options available to us, including using the smaller Community Hub for events with a reduced but still attractive Festival programme, while simultaneously broadcasting shows online. As the global events have unfolded over the past week we have adapted and decided to Keep it Kiwi due to the uncertainty of our international guest speakers being able travel. The Trustees and I are working through the modifications and we will keep festival fans up to date with the new plan.” Sedon has confirmed that they will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and follow the government guidelines for events and gatherings.

New for 2020 is the NZ Mountain Book of the Year award, founded and supported by Dave Bamford and John Nankervis. This award winner is set to receive $1,000. Entries for the Mountain Book Competition are invited to be submitted under two categories: Mountain and Adventure (accounts of specific adventures, fiction or non-fiction) and Mountain and Adventure heritage (guidebooks, coffee table/picture books, history books, analyses, reflections on culture, environments or ethics, advocacy).

The New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival will continue with plans to host speakers. These include Scott Donaldson (Auckland) and Jo Haines (Wanaka). After 61 days Donaldson became the first solo kayaker to successfully paddle from Australia to New Zealand. The landing was his second attempt after having had to abandon a previous attempt in 2014 due to a broken rudder, 84 days in and 80km from land. Donaldson was the tenth paddler to attempt the passage; he survived curious sharks, lightning storms and some mighty squalls. He will talk about this adventure at the film festival this year.

Jo Haines is travelling the world, three months at a time, on a bike. Each autumn she sets off from Albert Town, to explore another unique corner of the earth. Haines reckons over the years, “Our tyres have gotten fatter, our loads are getting smaller, and the trails are getting quieter and rougher.” The list of destinations and journeys is impressive. Haines has chosen to speak about her travels across Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The programme will once again include films from the annual Filmmakers Competition. The festival has received over 90 submissions already and will continue to accept entries until 20 April. Book entries close March 30.

Festival organisers wish to convey their gratitude for the ongoing support of sponsors, patrons and beneficiaries in these uncertain times. Sedon states, “Our followers and the festival audience have been incredibly supportive. The feedback that we have received indicates that our fans are keen to support us where they can. They love watching adventure movies and hearing stories and are keen to stick with us even if the festival looks a little different than it usually does. We are lucky to have such a loyal community and we hope everyone is getting through these uncertain times the best they can.”

The 18th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival is scheduled to run in Wanaka from 26 June to 28. The Queenstown Festival has been cancelled at this time. The platform, size and scope of the event will be confirmed in May, 2020.