From small beginnings Sheffield adventure film festival grew

The year 1996 feels like a long time ago – that was when I moved to Sheffield.
Matt HeasonMatt Heason
Matt Heason

I first visited the Showroom shortly after and, only a few years later, approached them to put on some adventure film screenings.

They went well, selling out the Showroom’s 287-capacity cinema, so Ian Wild, chief executive, asked if I’d be interested in turning the film nights into something bigger – Sheffield Adventure Film Festival was born.

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Having had no previous festival experience, and working with an open-minded venue like the Showroom, ShAFF has always been able to make its own rules and set its own agendas.

It has championed equality in adventure filmmaking, worked closely with Sheffield-based organisations and is known in the outdoor community for its varied and interesting programming.

ShaFF is run by a close-knit group of freelancers from The Outdoor City, along with about 30 volunteers and the Showroom’s independent in-house team.

Over the years, as the festival has grown, the Workstation, the Showroom’s partner building has been an obvious place to expand into. Alongside the cinema, the festival now takes up the whole ground floor of the Workstation, with an array of exhibitors and activities, while the mezzanine hosts guest panels, workshops, industry events, and ShAFF’s ground-breaking Virtual Reality programme.

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We all know the best way to watch adventure films is on the big screen, sharing the experience with others who love to adventure outdoors.

Sadly, with the festival due to take place last month, the tough decision was made to cancel all planned events as the country went into lockdown.

Rearranged screenings of our 2020 films will be organised as soon as possible, but until then, there’s no shortage of online adventure to keep you entertained.

The ShAFF team are currently hand-picking the best films from around the world to create a weekly watchlist of free online adventure films. A new film is posted at 7pm every day at

For more on the Showroom visit, or follow @ShowroomCinema