The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
I am really proud that our film, Into the Empty Quarter, is being screened at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival next weekend. I asked Lissa Cook, one of the organisers, why she loved ShAFF. Here’s what she had to say:
As an ex BBC Radio 4 news producer who is pretty cautious by nature, I think it’s safe to say adventure sports film festival organising was not an obvious career move. In fact, I had to go on a ‘fear of heights’ course when I started working for Matt [the Festival founder].
Four years later here I am waxing lyrical about off-width climbing and wingsuit proximity flying with the same enthusiasm that I used to reserve for the Common Agricultural Policy and getting as excited by a film festival as I used to be on General Election Night.
So what’s converted me from politics nerd to extreme sports film junkie?
- It’s all about the stories. Al’s film is a case in point. 2 blokes on a hastily planned, low budget adventure retracing great British explorer Will Thesinger’s classic 1,000 mile trek Into The Empty Quarter.
- There’s so much more enthusiasm and less cynicism. Though it can feel like a hard slog when you’re in the depths of winter watching your 135th adventure film, out of the blue you’re wetting yourself with laughter or drying your eyes (or often both) at the most incredible journeys like three of my favourites And Then We Swam, Walled In and Life on Ice.
- Watching kids come out of our Young Adventurer sessions running and jumping with excitement. There’s nothing like telling them they don’t have to do a boring 9-to-5 office job. It was priceless overhearing our friends’ kids arguing about whether they could skate across Australia like adventurer Dave Cornthwaite (who gave a talk at our other big event, The Buxton Adventure Festival).
- The people are amazing. Don’t get me wrong: the world needs politicians. I used to want to be one. But adventurers and filmmakers are more fun and they don’t complain about not being on the Today programme.
- Hearing the collective intake of breath of a packed audience. Yes we live in a YouTube-view-on-your-laptop age, but stick a few hundred people in a cinema with a pint of beer and a box of popcorn in a comfy chair with a massive screen and a thumping sound system and there’s some magic that happens.
It’s not all glamour. In fact there’s no glamour at all. But it’s fun. Well, at least in the words of climbers Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright in The Sufferfest
, it’s Type 2 Fun – the sort of fun that’s fun when it’s done.
If you’re anywhere near Sheffield between the 4th and 6th of April, then do go and enjoy ShAFF.