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It’s a wrap: 4000 people attend NZ Mountain Film Festival

Festival guest speaker Lynn Hill enjoys a climb in Wanaka during her visit. Photo: Dom Channon

After 10 days, dozens of films and 4000 festival-goers, the Mountain Film and Book Festival has wrapped up in Wanaka.

The 17th annual festival enjoyed a higher attendance on previous years across Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown, and several sold-out sessions including opening night and an evening talk with legendary US rock climber Lynn Hill.

Festival director Mark Seddon said he has been trying to bring Hill to the festival since its inception.

“It was an absolute honour to host Lynn at the festival; it has been one of the highlights in our 17 years of running the event,” he said.

“While she was here she went climbing and she also invited the community to an open session at the local indoor wall. Her continued love of climbing shines through and she is an inspiring woman who is warm and generous.”

Documentary Spectre Expedition – To the End of the Earth, which follows Leo Houlding, Jean Burgun and Mark Seddon’s 2000km snow-kite journey across Antarctica was awarded the Grand Prize by a special jury, and Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising took the People’s Choice Award.

A green initiative asking festival-goers to minimise waste saw reusable cups, drink stations, and composting used to good effect, and after six days, only one and a half bags of rubbish were collected.

The festival’s silent auction raised over $5200 for the NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust’s grant scheme which supports youth adventure filmmaking courses, environmental projects and people with disabilities.

The festival will now undertake a national tour until mid-November.