With the solemnity of the upcoming papal conclave, but with a bit more tea and biscuits, myself, Trail Running Editor Claire Maxted, top climber Lucy Creamer and Adventure and lifestyle photographer Tim Glasby were locked away in Festival organiser Matt Heason's Grindleford home for the 2013 Sheffield Adventure Film judging.
After several hours of debating, wrangling and heart felt pleas the smoke has changed from black to white and the results are in......
Two Norwegian friends have a crazy idea about building a beach hut north of the arctic circle and spending the winter living off flotsam and jetsam. Extreme beach-combing, stunning cinematography and a cabin Bilbo Baggins would be proud to call home.
Best Feature Film: Crossing The Ice
100 years after Scott and Amundsen’s tragic race to the South Pole, two Australian adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones (Cas and Jonesy) tackle one of the last great Antarctic odysseys – getting to the pole and back completely unassisted. But on the way out they discover there’s a Norwegian on the ice – and he’s got a head start.
Best Short Film: All.I.Can - Imagination
Catching a bus never looked so cool. Freestyle skier extraordinaire JP Auclair’s continuous downhill urban ski run on dirty slush and concrete is glorious ski porn with a deeper message about the challenges of global climate change. (See if you can spot his snapped ski tip!)
Best Spirit of Adventure Film: Janapar - Love On A Bike
(Note - filmmaker James Newton and cyclist Tom Allen both coming to ShAFF to do Q&A)
Isn’t there more to life than this? 23-year-old Tom Allen escapes the rat race to search for the answer by cycling 12,000 miles round the world. His dream’s thrown into turmoil when he falls in love and has to choose between settling down or continuing his adventure. Will he choose romance or the road?
Best Climbing Film: Wide Boyz (both long and short edits - featuring Sheffield climber Tom Randall)
It's like ultimate fighting with a rock. The world of offwidth crack climbing is a strange sub-culture rumoured to be dominated by knuckle-dragging, bar-brawling dirt-bags! The climbing is tough, painful and bloody and there are hardly any routes in the UK. Undeterred, two British climbers, Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, complete a brutal two-year training regime (mostly spent hanging upside down in their Sheffield basement) before embarking on an audacious tour of the USA and a first ascent of the world's hardest off-width - Century Crack.
Best Run Film: The Dragon’s Back (by Sheffield Producer Rich Heap, Slackjaw, premiering at ShAFF)
One of the world's toughest running events, the original Dragon’s Back Race happened just once in September 1992 and ever since, it has been whispered about with a mix of awe and trepidation. Tracing the mountainous spine of Wales from Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle this incredible 5-day journey is approximately 320 kilometres long with 17,000 metres. Follow the exploits of those who dared take on the even tougher 2012 course including all the 3,000 ft Welsh mountains on day one. (Note: Our Saturday evening premiere will be followed by a Q&A with race organiser Shane Ohly, 2012 winner Steve Birkinshaw, second placed Rob Baker and 1992 winner Helene Whitaker.)
Best Artistic film: Of Souls & Water - Shapeshifter
The supernatural… does it exist? The curious explore unbound by restrictions of place and mind, and perhaps discover things we haven’t understood. Whitewater kayaking legend Ben Marr shreds the upper reaches of Quebec, pushing limits to new and undiscovered levels.
Steve Peat Best Bike Film: Where The Trail Ends
Their most ambitious mountain-biking yet - freeriders Darren Berrecloth, Cameron Zink, Kurtis Sorge, James Doerfling and Andreu Lacondeguy and co are on a three year mission to discover unridden terrain. Filmed in Argentina, China, Nepal, British Columbia and Utah, the crew used the most advanced filmmaking and sound equipment ever used in the outdoor adventure sport genre with jet boats, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft providing a variety of unique perspectives for the audience.
Best Ski & Board Film (Gold): Pour Vous Servir (PVS)
Not your average ski/board movie. "Pour Vous Servir" (translation - 'At Your Service') takes the spirit of freestyle and goes lateral, then does a 360. Only the French could come up with Fight Club for ski bums and a naked drag race.
Judges’ Special Prize: Shaun Palmer - Miserable Champion (features Steve Peat, Sheffield mountain bike legend)
7 times world champion, 6 XGames Golds, 38 elite victories and 117 career podiums in SEVEN different sports. A shocking portrait of Shaun Palmer, the notorious bad boy of extreme sports who's partied as hard as he's trained. Featuring Sheffield mountain bike legend Steve Peat.
Sheffield Adventure Film Festival Director Matt Heason said: “This year’s judging was tougher than ever. We had more films and a higher standard than ever before. We’ve added a new Best Feature Film award and hope the increase in the number of longer films is a sign that adventure sports film-makers are growing in confidence. But, the fact that Best Climbing Film is shared between the long and short edits of Wide Boyz is really good illustration of how you can take similar footage and effectively the same story and produce two very different but equally captivating films.”
“A new Best Ski/Board film category recognises the strength of snow films which made up a quarter of total entries. We’ve also created a new Best Run Film category to reflect the fact that last year’s Grand Prize went to the running film ‘Unbreakable’ and this year ‘The Dragon’s Back’ won three prizes. Running films are increasing popular with our audience and we want to send a clear signal to encourage more film-makers, like Rich Heap, to focus on one of the Peak District’s most popular sports. We also awarded a Judges’ Special Prize to celebrate Shaun Palmer - Miserable Champion - a great multi-sport film which didn’t fit into any of our existing categories.”
Co-organiser Lissa Cook said: “What stood out for me this year was the number of British film-makers and quality of British made films. That’s reflected in the hat-trick of top prizes for Wide Boyz, The Dragon’s Back and Janapar. Without being parochial, it’s also great that we’ve got a Sheffield director premiering his film in the city and winning three prizes. Plus Sheffield school girl Ella Kirkpatrick following in her dad Andy’s footsteps in My Life: The Big Climb and local mountain bike legend Steve Peat making a cameo appearance in a couple of films too. Personally, I’ve also been pleased by the increasing number of films featuring female athletes. We’re nowhere near parity but we’re getting there.”
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID:
Trail Running Magazine Editor Claire Maxted said: “Having been at the Dragon’s Back Race 2012 myself reporting for Trail Running magazine, I can see why the film has scooped three awards at ShaFF. It deftly conveys both the beauty of Welsh mountain scenery and the tough-as-nails attitude of the runners taking part in this extreme 220 mile, five day race last September. Watching, you feel like you are part of this race, and interviews with both elite and regular racers gives you a unique insight into the hardships they are willing, or not willing, to endure.”
8 times British Climbing Champion Lucy Creamer said: “Both Wide Boyz edits had different ingredients that set them apart as separate films - it was very difficult to put one above the other. I loved them both. Both have fantastic climbing and great interviews with other interesting characters from the world of climbing. Each has a very different feel and emphasis - the longer one has a much more British underdog feel, while the shorter version has a more American focus. But at the end of the day you’ve got an incredible story about these two British guys who train really hard in their cellar and go to America and kick butt!”
Adventure and lifestyle photographer Tim Glasby said: “All.I.Can won Best Short and I absolutely loved it. It had all the ingredients - a superb edit, a great story, brilliant music and I loved the fact that it one of world’s best free-skiers essentially skiing down a hill and catching a bus ready to go back up and do it all over again. Shapeshifter won Best Artistic film. It was also really well made. I just loved everything about it”.
Adventure Sports Writer Nik Cook said: “Where the Trail Ends takes mountain bike free-riding to the next level. It ticks all the boxes of a classic, action-packed mountain bike film but it cinched the top prize because of its strong narrative thread, amazing production values, stunning locations and one of the most sickening crashes I’ve ever seen in a mountain biking film.”
WHAT THE FILM-MAKERS SAID:
Producer and star of Best Feature Film ‘Crossing the Ice’ (which also won Silver in Best Film and Bronze in the Best Spirit of Adventure categories), Justin Jones said: “Cas and I are over the moon to hear that Crossing the Ice has won at ShAFF! We are truly honoured especially knowing the calibre of the other films that we were up against and are truly humbled. We're gutted that we couldn't be there tonight but please have a good time in our stead. It'd be remiss of us to not thank a few people in particular tonight who've been integral in the whole process. Greg Quail thanks for backing us and helping put together this doco when no one else, Doug Howard who edited the film and did an AMAZING job, our friends and family for supporting this project, the jury here - thank you for this great honour, the general public whom we made this film for and last but not least - Aleks Gamme for reminding us all what the "Spirit of Adventure" is all about. Thanks again!”
James Newton and Tom Allen, Director and star of Best Spirit of Adventure Film ‘Janapar - Love on a Bike’ said: “We are so excited to be at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, 'Janapar: Love on a Bike' has been five years in the making and we're really proud of it. Winning the Spirit of Adventure - Gold Award is a terrific result, we still can't quite believe how well our little film is being received.”
Skip Armstrong, Director of Best Artistic film: Of Souls & Water - Shapeshifter said: “I'm SUPER STOKED to be a part of your festival! I've heard wonderful things about your town and hope all of you are pleasantly exhausted with sore dancing legs and voices raspy from cheering at the top of your lungs. Without the support of audiences like yourselves independent film would not exist, thank you sincerely. We're honored to be recognized”.
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