Review of EMFF 2004

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Dave Redpath - 12/10/2004

The second Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival (EMFF) took place from 8th-10th October 2004. This years event was held at Edinburgh Universities George Square Lecture Theatre. Given last years attendance this was a good move as the venue was more amicably sized for the turn out compared to last years packed out Caley Brewery. This year's festival was also improved to try and fill every seat of the new venue. In total 17 scheduled films and 5 guest lectures were shown, as well as photography and poetry exhibits.

I guess I should start by answering the question everyone cares about, who won best film! So for those short on time the top four goes as follows.

  1. 'Never Say Nevis Again' - Bread & Butter Productions, 10 mins
  2. 'Africa BASE' Fresh Air Crew, 25 mins
  3. 'Climbing in Morocco' - Posing Productions, 25 mins
  4. 'Fools With Tools' - Hot Aches Productions, 15 mins*

Don't let the length of the list be a bias of my particular favourite...

Stevie Christie has done another excellent job this year putting together a enthralling line up of films and lectures as well a rounding up sponsorship for the event. Tiso and Glenmore Lodge were this years presenting sponsors along with Mountain Equipment, The John Muir Trust, High Mountain Magazine, Pocket Mountain Guidebooks, OTE, Wilderness Scotland and Extreme DV.

Friday Evening

  • Scottish BASE - Graeme Chalmers, trailer

The trailer for Graeme's film on the Scottish BASE jumping scene was presented. This features some of the first BASE jumps in Scotland caught on camera, and is a glimpse into this underground scene. The final film is currently in production and something to watch out for. A glimpse of their antics in the tabloids will have to do till then.

  • African BASE - Fresh Air Crew, 25 mins

This award winning film follows a team of BASE enthusiasts on a road trip in South Africa. The big budget feel gave some spectacular footage of this underground sport. Particularly for the heart-stopping finale, featuring flying suits to overcome the halfway ledge of cliff unjumped in its entirety.

  • The Race - 2aT Productions, 6 mins

Boys will be boys, so in a mines is faster than yours race, a Kayaker and a Mountain biker go head to head down a steep river gorge in spate. The biker looks like he's in for a wipe out most of the way, and guess what...

  • Stick It - Simon Christy, 20 min

Skiing is probably not something you'd really want 'stick'. This Ski movie captures some awesome extreme skiing action in Chamonix. After the bone crunching wipe outs, these men of metal are definitely left wishing they'd stuck the landing!

  • Happiness in Slavery - Xtralarge Recordings, 12 mins

Glasgow film maker Pete Murray spent 6 weeks non stop following Scotland's top climber Dave Macleod. The result was an insight into the agony of Redpointing what turned out to be Scotland's hardest Sport route! Arty shots complement the rhetorical message of the film, 'I can do it if I just keep trying...'.

Friday evenings finale was Andy Kirkpatrick's lecture entitled 'Hard Work Kills Horses: Inside the Mind of a Serial Climber'. Andy is know well known to High Magazine readers, if not to those how have previously heard of his uncouth lecture style. Delivered with the skill of a stand up comic Andy recounted his suffering adventures through the Alps and onto Patagonian. There was also the surprise bonus that most of it features one time Edinburgh resident Mark Ryle.

Saturday Afternoon

  • Oceans of Fear - Fresh Air Crew, 26 mins

This film featured Andy DeKlerk and friends repeating his route 'Oceans of Fear' a route up the centre of an overhanging expanse of rock in the Klien Winterhoek Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. This time the objective is to BASE jump of the top as a tribute to Andys friend the late Greg Lacey (who accompanied Andy on the first aid ascent in 1984). What comes over is a deep and captivating film of friendship out in the vertical.

Viewers were treated to a clip form 'A Fist Full of Steel', a coming production from Extreme DV guys documenting Scot Muir's tour of Europe and Canada to repeat the hardest mixed routes in the world.

  • Dyno-Soar - Big Up Productions, 8 mins

Peter Mortimer (of climbing Jack Russell fame!) this time documenting the endeavours of Paul Glover, a man with one aim in life - to dyno. The film takes each jump to a new level, and to the hospital. Not one for those afraid of needles...

  • Chains - Xtralarge Recordings, 20 mins

Director Pete Murray's second film at this years EMFF. Chains, documents the development of sport climbing in Scotland, from the tweed ropes of Nimlin, to the Stainless tendons of the future. Though, no time is wasted in reminiscence. Rather the film focuses on the joy of exploring earth, movement and personal limitation. The full length version is still a work in progress to look out for in the near future.

Dave MacLeod followed the afternoon films with a lecture. Being named 'Britains best all rounder' by On the Edge Magazine in 2003 seems like the title given to a man of 50! Yet a 25, Dave has established an unusually diverse set of new routes in Scotland from Bouldering Font 8a+, sport F8b+ to Traditional E9's and Winter grade X

With a CV of hard repeats in the UK and Europe, Dave seems the man to listen to if you want to find out about hard climbing. Dave's lecture didn't disappoint, shedding a little light on the strength, skill and sheer determination it takes to push the limits of your climbing.

Saturday Evening

  • Desert Friction - Fresh Air Crew, 26 mins

Winner of best climbing film at Banff 2001, this film documented two leading South African sport climbers as they attempt to repeat 'Spitzkoppe' a 500 metre granite slab set in the desolate landscape of the Namibian desert. Beautifully filmed this film conveys the sense of fun and excitement of a serious climb.

  • The Old Rock - Paul Raistrick, 10 mins

Winner of last years 'Best Film Award', Paul Raistrick returned with more descents down Scottish Grade I, II gullies on his snowboard. More entertaining was Paul's introduction to the film a 'DIY' in making a film on your own

  • Fools With Tools - Hot Aches Productions, 15 mins

This one needs no introduction. The Edinburgh guys, Dave Brown, Paul Diffley and Michael Tweedley do battle with Scott Muir's Fast and Furious. Swiftly edited by Paul, to capture lads swinging and falling from the Edinburgh School Yard, to the lower off on Fast and Furious.

Saturday evening lecture was by Liz Duff and Andrew Greig entitled 'Kingdoms of Experience'. The lecture recounted the historic 1985 Pilkington Everest Nost-East Ridge Expedition in which both were team members, which was led by the late Mal Duff. Liz's unique collection of slides provided a lecture full of anecdotes and nostalgia complemented by songs written and performed by Andrew.

Sunday Afternoon

Sadly, I was unable to attend the Sunday afternoon session. However, a series of films and lectures focusing on expeditions to the far corners of the globe were shown.Greenland - 72 Deg North, The First Ascent of Nataruk and Baffin Island BASE Expedition were aired. Followed by a lecture by Andrew Cooney: one of youngest to walk 730 miles of the South Pole at aged 23 in an epic 53 day adventure. Sunday Evening

  • Climbing in Morocco - Posing Productions, 25 mins

Climber and director Alastair Lee's documents his travels through Morocco enjoying a bit of everything along the way. Great narrative and comedy moments set against some beautiful desert photography. This one is also touring the Kendal FF best of.

  • Never Say Nevis Again - Bread and Butter Productions, 10 mins

Andy Jackson reveals what life is like for a kayaker based in Fort William. Action taken from the water of Nevis captured using helmet and boat mounted cameras.

  • Mont Blanc - Tough at the Top - Graeme Chalmers, 10 mins

Local snowboarder attempts to repeat his first snowboard descent of Mont Blanc. Nice shots of the Alps, however didn't cover the fact that the story wasn't told very well.

The festival concluded with Simon Yates lecture entitled 'Beyond the Void'. This lecture summarised Simon's climbing Career beyond the events of Siula Grande in 1984. A dazzling selection of slides bear testimony to his travels from Alaska and the Canadian Artic to the tip of South America.

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