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Kiwis scoop major awards at upcoming NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival

The film Theatre of the Gogs has been named best film at the 2021 NZ Mountain film and book festival.

For the first time in the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival’s 19-year history, New Zealand-made films won two of the international awards for Best Short Film and Best Adventurous Sports and Lifestyles.

The International Adventure Film Competition attracted 200 entries, with 68 films being selected to screen at the event; this includes 11 world premieres and 23 New Zealand premieres.

Festival director Mark Sedon said: “Again, the Kiwi contingent has come through strong. Year after year the skill level of NZ filmmakers is increasing in quality and quantity. Adventure is definitely in our blood, but the standard of filmmaking and storytelling also showcases Kiwis’ artistic talent.

“We are proud to be able to give our filmmakers a platform to screen their work.”

The Hiddleston/MacQueen Award is presented to the Best NZ Film each year. The film award is given in the names of two Wanaka adventurers and is a nod to the spirit of adventure they lived for. Ridard Sidey won this year’s award for his film Theatre of the Gogs. The movie will be screened as a world premiere at the festival beginning on June 25.

The film is a contemplation of art and adventure in the southern wilds of New Zealand by Sidey and landscape photographer Christopher David Thompson.

“I’m Really chuffed to receive the Hiddleston/MacQueen Award for this film,” Sidey said. “It follows our post-lockdown escape to the Rakiura wilderness, as well as giving insight to the often unseen adventures behind great landscape photography. I really wanted to showcase the rugged beauty, wind, waves, water and wildness of what we experienced down there, and the acknowledgement of this award seems the film has achieved that.”

Directors Andy Deere and Ryan Heron won the Adventurous Sports and Lifestyles Award for their film following up-and-coming surfer Kehu Butler. It is the first time an NZ film has won this award. 

In addition to the film component of the festival, there is a total of $1500 in prizes in the Mountain Book Awards. The unanimous winner of the Mountain and Adventure Narratives was Wild at Heart by Miriam Lancewood. This book tells the story of Lancewood’s experience living off the land for seven years. Together with her husband she lived by hunting and gathering and experiencing delight and danger along the way. 

Peta Carey’s book Tamatea Dusky won the Heritage Award and NZ Mountain Book of the year award. Carey will provide a glimpse of the fascinating history of this remote fiord and some of the most enduring stories of conservation in NZ at the festival on June 29.

Programmes will be available at Paper Plus in Wanaka or The North Face Store at 38 Shotover Street in Queenstown and online at mountainfilm.nz. The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will run in Wanaka from June 25 to 29, Cromwell on June 30 and in Queenstown from July 1 to 3, 2021.

The event will also be broadcast online nationally from June 25 until July 25.