Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival Review

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Dave Redpath - 09/10/2003

Review of Wednesday night line up of the two day festival.

Edinburgh's second film festival of the year hosted a different bunch of stars completely, those content in air, water and earth or fusing them with gravity. I'm talking about the first Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival in association with Tiso and John Muir Trust.

Festival director Stevie Christie said "It has been an ambition of mine to stage a festival like this in Edinburgh ever since I attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada in 1999. The films that year covered a huge range of activities from BASE jumping to ice climbing and also looked beyond 'action' films to explore the culture and mindset of people who seek adventure, solace and peace in the mountains and wild places of this world. The Banff festival is the biggest and best festival of its type in the world, and I was very much inspired by the films I watched and speakers I heard that week. I hope that when you come to the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, you will leave similarly inspired and stimulated to get out there and enjoy the wilds.". With a basis like that for creating the festival, ScottishClimbs had to be there to check it out.

The programme was a mixture of Scottish and International films about climbing, skiing, snowboarding and kayaking. With two guest lectures each evening by Scott Muir (Wed) and Jamie Andrew (Thur). Aside from the film action a number of displays were on offer of mountain photography and poetry to mountain rescue and the Ft. William mountain bike world Cup.

The Professionals: a 50 min film about indoor climbing competition stars Francois Legrand and Yuji Hiramaya on a road trip of America to tick some the countries hardest lines. For the non-sport climbing audience the film started to become tiresome at times as the same sequences were executed by each of the two climbers. The film makers were obviously aware of this as the diversity of camera angles tried to keep the film fresh through the different routes.

Pushing Winter: A short film about snowboarding the gullies of Ben Nevis and the Cairngorms. Entirely filmed by its star Paul Raistrick of Aviemore is as much a hardcore effort as his descents. Many members of the audience were taken back by the rapid descent of their previous winters outing.

Outdoor Pursuits: a short film produced by a young group from Fort William as part of a school project. The films starting point of "There's nothing to do about here" serves as a wholesome ideal to their film, which proceeds as a cross country chase over mountain and valley. The entertainment had by the audience I'm sure was reciprocated by its stars and makers.

The King's Footprints: a short film by Pete Murray about Edinburgh climber Niall McNair's ground up ascent of Dalriada, a striking line through the imposing North Peak of the Cobbler. Pete captured Niall's motivation very well, it wasn't about grade, style, respect, it was about realising a life long dream.

In a world premiere, it's star took to the stage to discuss his motivation for desiring to climb the line. Inspirational.

Flying Fish: a film by Andy Jackson and Dave Kwant about Kayaking and Paragliding adventures in Nepal. The films expedition feel was enjoyed by all, many comedy moments were had from the inevitable bus "close lining" to the token Nepalese banger broken down from the stress of the climb. The difficulty of reaching the teams objective was felt by all as only one paraglider succeeded in navigating the steep mountain pass to the Kayak rendezvous.

Fast and Furious: This film concluded Scott Muir's lecture and the event. It took us through the logical progression to Scott's controversial dry tooling routes this summer. Starting with the mixed climbing test pieces of Switzerland, Italy, France and Norway, back to Newtyle Quarry. Somehow it all made sense. Lots of inserts and crafty editing give some relief from the hard climbing.

The Wednesday and Thursday night shows were both sold out which should secure continuation of future events in the capital. Congratulations to event director Steve Christie for putting together such an inspiring and diverse line up.

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