As Omicron continues to surge throughout New Zealand and announcements of event cancellations become more and more frequent, the organisers of the NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival say they are confident the event will be able to go ahead.
The festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is scheduled to run in Wānaka from 24 to 29 June, in Queenstown June 30 to July 2, and online from June 24 to July 24. Festival Director, Mark Sedon, says the contingency planning put in place when Covid-19 first struck in 2020, plus the addition of an online component to the festival, mean the event will still be able to go ahead this year.
“Two years ago, we put planning in place for three separate 100-person events across three separate venues so we feel confident that we can use a similar format again in 2022, if needed,” explains Mark. “We will be following My Vaccine Pass requirements and the organising team are working hard to ensure we can operate a high-quality event whilst keeping everyone safe.
“Our popular online festival is another way that people can enjoy the festival sessions. We introduced this as an option in 2020 when many of our loyal festival fans were unable to travel due to Covid restrictions. It went so well that we decided to keep it in the programme and it’s certainly a good way to ensure more people can be part of the festival even with the challenges of Covid-19.”
The nine-day event is a celebration of adventurous sports and lifestyles presented for adventurers, film and book enthusiasts and armchair adventurers. It is a competitive event and an opportunity for filmmakers and authors to showcase their work, receive merit and win cash prizes. The internationally recognised adventure filmmakers competition has been receiving entries from NZ and around the globe all vying for festival screen time and the $7,000 in prize money.
Entries for the 2022 book competition have also been flooding in with the festival’s programme co-ordinator, Dan Clearwater, reporting that within just a few weeks of the competition opening on 1 January, the number of entries received had already exceeded last year’s total.
“To get this in the first month is very pleasing,” says Dan. “It shows that the sector is rebounding from the initial shock of the pandemic and moving in a very positive direction.”
More book competition entries are expected in before the cut off date of 30 March 2022, particularly with organisers announcing that, thanks to a very generous donation, the winner of the Nankervis/Bamford NZ Mountain Book of the Year will now receive a $2000 prize.
Established in 2020, the prize is only awarded for a book of the very highest quality and that brings the mountain experience – in whatever form – into the hearts and minds of the readers. The prize has increased from $1000 in 2020 – 2021 to $2,000.
The Mountain Book of the Year award was founded by Dave Bamford and John Nankervis, both well-known and highly respected members of the alpine community, prolific exploratory mountaineers (throughout New Zealand as well as internationally), and aficionados of mountain literature. Published authors themselves, Dave and John, (or Nank as he was better known) have been passionate about supporting other writers of mountain-themed books.
“We have both been keen followers of mountain literature with our own extensive libraries, and have been very enthusiastic about encouraging authors, assisting with research for books and so on,” explains Dave. “We wanted to make a contribution to mountain literature and we decided we’d like to support the competition.
“After two years we were very pleased with the response and were delighted with the first two winners so it was a pretty simple decision to offer to increase our support.
“Our thought was that competitions like this help to give some recognition to those people doing the hard work to produce these books and to encourage them to keep up the mahi.”
Sadly, Nank passed away just a few weeks ago and, after a 50-year climbing career, will be remembered for the fabulous contribution he made within the mountaineering community worldwide.
Mark Sedon says that he, along with the festival’s board of trustees and organising team, are honoured to offer one of the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival’s most prestigious prizes in Nank’s joint name.
2022 will be the sixth edition of the NZ Mountain Book Festival and the third year the NZ Mountain Book of the Year Award has been offered. The event has come to be recognised for attracting particularly high standards of entry.
The inaugural NZ Mountain Book of the Year Award was won by Geoff Spearpoint for his stunning book, The Great Unknown. Showcasing magnificent photography, this seminal work chronicles over 50 years of trans-alpine journeys through the Southern Alps. A memoir, guidebook and poetry book in one, The Great Unknown captures the essence of New Zealand’s backcountry and celebrates a lifetime dedicated to exploring its wonders.
Peta Carey’s Tamatea Dusky was the well-deserved winner of the 2021 Mountain Book of the Year award. This is a remarkable story of conservation and history within the remote wonders of Fiordland’s Tamatea/Dusky Sound. Looking back 250 years to the time of Captain Cook’s arrival in the area in 1773, through the beginning of nature conservation in New Zealand over 120 years ago, and to the ground-breaking work in predator control and species conservation over the last 50 years, Tamatea Dusky makes for a fascinating read and, importantly, shines a light on one of the most significant and ambitious conservation and restoration projects in the world.
Entries for the NZ Mountain Book competition close on 30 March 2022 and for the Film competition on 20 April 2022.
The NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival is a non-profit charitable trust and a registered charity (#CC49344). The trust aims to promote, through its annual mountain film and book festival, healthy and active lifestyles, encourage youth to make small safe adventures in the outdoors, to inspire people to reach their full potential, to work cooperatively with others in the youth development area, to help people with disabilities get into outdoor activities and to promote NZ arts, film, culture, environment and outdoor lifestyles.
Find out more at mountainfilm.nz