The 2021 Festival is a wrap!

A big thank you to NZ and Australian audiences
The 19th annual Mountain Film and Book Festival was epic!! It was so nice to see the usual faces and excited festival-goers and to hear from loyal fans who were watching from afar! We had over 3,300 people attend the event in Wanaka, Queenstown and Cromwell. Another estimated 3,500 to 4,000 watched from all over NZ and Australia via the Online Festival. The vibe was high across the 9 day live event and in this newsletter we will tell you about more about our low impact approach, the results of our silent auction, the people’s choice film and our grant scheme.

People’s Choice Award breaks a record
Richard Sidey’s wins his third award in this year’s festival with his stunning film Whales in a Changing Ocean. Richard will add 2021 People’s Choice award to the mantlepiece!! In February 2020, Richard, a wildlife filmmaker, was invited to join a team of scientists undertaking humpback whale research in Antarctica with Conservation International. The film reveals the recovery of the humpback whales that feed in the waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, after industrial whaling almost wiped them out. Whales in a Changing Ocean follows the team as they observe humpback whale behaviour and gather information vital to protecting the Antarctic continent into the future.

Just a little reminder, Richard also won the Best Short Film award for Spellbound, a little gem about Wingsuit base jumping. In the Theatre of the Gogs, took home the Hiddleston/McQueen Best NZ Film Award making it three-for-three. Richard you are a legend, tip of the hat to you.

LOW IMPACT Zero Waste, Carbon Neutral, team effort!
Thank you to all of our audience members, speakers, patrons and volunteers who get behind our mission for our festival to have a low impact on the environment. Our collective efforts over the event demonstrates how a mindful approach can reduce waste and carbon emissions. We are a little festival that makes a big effort to have a small impact on our environment. So, thank you to everyone for contributing to this effort.

Result in the rubbish department! We collected only two small bags in Wanaka, equating to just one regular sized rubbish bag in total and Queenstown only a half bag of rubbish. We also collected 4 bins of compostable waste including our specialized hot compost for our plant based soup cups. We hand washed our ice cream containers to make them ready for recycling and gave away free filtered water. It costs a little more, but we figure our planet is worth saving! As one of our patrons says, “good planets are hard to find”. Stoked, thank you all for the effort.

In both Queenstown and Wanaka no plastic or takeaway coffee cups were used is our café, we provided free water, coffee and tea and as usual digital tickets were the go. As you know in an effort to ensure our festival is carbon neutral, we added trees to our café menu. This meant when our audience were buying cookies, they could add on a Te Kakano tree. During the entire festival we added 191 trees to the planet through Te Kakano. We carbon offset all our speakers’ travel and, for the past three years, we donated an extra $50 to Te Kakano for every speaker we brought in, that’s $2,000! Thank you for all backing the plan and taking care of the world we all like to adventure in!

Charity Auction and Grant Scheme
We raised a total of $2,475 in the silent auction which will be given away, along with some funds from our national Tour to our charitable causes. Thank you to all the business that donated to the auction.

The Festival is a non-profit Charitable Trust which aims to promote healthy and active lifestyles, encourage youth to make small safe adventures in the outdoors, to work cooperatively with others in the youth development area and to help people with disabilities get into outdoor activities.

Applications are open from now until August 30. We suggest you apply for between $500 and $1,000. See