A Preview of the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival

The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) is set in the gorgeous ‘Outdoor City’ of Sheffield, a stone’s throw from the Peak District and the home of British climbing. On the 20th of March the sociable weekender will begin showing a myriad of short and feature-length films, hosting panel events and workshops, providing for everyone, from ‘the armchair adventurer’ and the young explorer to the classic outdoor-enthusiast. Each year, ShAFF curates a diverse range of films that speak to topical issues within the outdoor community. This year’s theme ‘Acts of Rebellion’ challenges festival-goers to think about how they can adventure in a way that is better for the planet, nurtures the landscapes they love and pushes personal limits. With this in mind, there are a number of local clean ups, clothes repair stations and second-hand gear sales throughout the weekend. To also help attendees choose films that rebel against the norm, ShAFF have created their own film rating system, with labels such as ‘Adventure Activism’ and ‘Sustainability’ indicating content. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of the short films showing under the ‘Women in Adventure’ rating to give Intrepid readers an insight into what to expect from ShAFF 2020.

A Kayaker’s Solo Adventure in India

In this whirlwind adventure short, French Kayaker, Nouria Newman takes on some of the world’s most impressive rivers: the Tsarap, the Zanskar and the Indus. While it packs near-death experiences, serendipitous meetings and dramatic rapids into the 14-minute run time, the documentary still manages to slow down and linger in the immense beauty of the Ladakh mountains. Kayaking solo and filming everything herself, viewers are very much along for the ride as Newman covers 373 km of river in just seven days. This suspenseful film will leave you in awe of her positivity in the face of mental and physical exhaustion.

Par For the Course

This beautifully shot 4-minute bombshell follows Mirna Valerio as she competes in her first Broken Arrow Skyrace in California. Skyraces, originating in Europe, challenge runners to cover long distances over mountainous terrain with technical descents and extreme inclines. Also part of the ‘Adventure Activism’ category, Valerio discusses the need to fearlessly carve out spaces for ourselves in outdoor communities, even when we feel like we don’t belong. A piece of filmmaking that anyone will relate to, but that especially speaks to women, this short casts away any doubt that there is only one type of adventurer.

Where the Wild Things Keep Playing

A compilation of women being badass, this is a must-see if you’re in need of some energetic inspiration to get outside and climb, run, swim, walk or cycle like a girl! Beginning with a simple conversation with her Mum, director Krystle Wright follows up action shots with more action shots to demonstrate women being wild, powerful and excelling, unquestioned, in their sports. The inevitable thrill of making such a film, as Wright documents like-minded women of all ages in such a variety of landscapes, oceans and skies, is translated to viewers in the fast pace and vibrant score of the film.

Also throughout the ShAFF weekend, you can see The Big Bang, which follows Emma Twyford’s seminal ascent of the 9a climb (read our interview with her here) and Sarah Outen’s award-winning film Home. On the Saturday afternoon, there is a screening of the shortlisted films from BMCs Women in Adventure film competition, tackling the outdoors and film gender gap. Head over to the ShAFF website for more details and to get your hands on tickets ahead of the weekend – this is not one to be missed!

At the time of publication, ShAFF is still going ahead and you can find updated information on the festival and coronavirus here.