Cinematic showcase for ultimate thrill-seekers

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Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, presented by Sheffield-born outdoor equipment specialists {|Rab|}, is celebrating its 10th birthday this month.

Over the past decade the event has grown from an evening screening of the best films from Kendal Mountain Festival to a weekend long festival attracting more than three thousand visitors.

Hosted at the Showroom Cinema with Sheffield Hallam University, the festival showcases more than a hundred of the world’s best adventure, extreme sports and travel films in 30 themed sessions on seven big screens. In fact, with 117 films at the last count, organisers reckon they now show more films than any other adventure festival anywhere else in the world.

This year’s big Friday night premiere is IMPOSSIBLE with Paralympic cycling silver medallist Karen Darke attempting an Ironman triathlon. Filmed by Peak District producers Polished Project, the film features the world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and multiple World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington. Karen, who was paralysed in a climbing accident at the age of 21, will be on stage alongside former England Rugby Captain Catherine Spencer who climbed two alpine peaks.

There are special film sessions for runners, climbers, cyclists, kayakers and surfers, skiers and snowboarders. Adrenaline junkies will love the back-to-back extreme sports shorts in the two best-selling Adrenaline Films screenings. And for armchair adventurers, there are four ‘Spirit of Adventure’ sessions about inspirational journeys. 
If you dream of going on your own adventure and maybe filming or writing about your trip, there are talks about Travel Writing with Wanderlust magazine; the UK Cycling Touring forum; Hot Aches Filmmaking Masterclass and the Viewranger Technology Forum.
The number of families coming to ShAFF grows each year so in addition to two ‘Young Adventurer’ shows, there is also a ‘Too Cool for School’ lunchtime session followed by ‘Teen Screen’ for older children. After criticism about the lack of women on the big screen and behind the camera, organisers are also proud of having doubled the number of films made by female directors or featuring female athletes. On Saturday afternoon they’ll be launching the Women In Adventure Network.

Festival Director Matt Heason says that what marks ShAFF, as it’s affectionately known, out from most other adventure film festivals is its urban setting on the edge of one of the busiest national parks. “With a third of Sheffield’s boundary within the Peak District, the city is a magnet for adventure sports athletes. The S7 postcode reputedly has the highest density of rock climbers in the world and the Peak District National Park boasts some of the best rock climbing, mountain biking and running trails in the country.”

Fast gaining a reputation as the UK’s Outdoor City, this summer the Outdoor Industries Association will host the European Outdoor Summit in Sheffield. Residents spend more on outdoor equipment than anywhere else in the country and there are more than 200 related businesses.

Matt argues the city can lay fair claim to becoming the Hollywood of the outdoor and adventure filmmaking business. “The location is stunning, if not quite as sunny. We have big-name stars like downhill mountain bike legend Steve Peat and world number two bouldering champ Shauna Coxsey based here, though we don’t have a red carpet and they’re more likely to be wearing down jackets than DJs and designer dresses.”

“Every year we receive more submissions from locally based directors and producers that hold their own on the international stage. This year 26 films have either been shot in and around Sheffield, star local athletes and/or are made by local filmmakers. That means that for the first time, we’re able to put on a special ‘Made in Sheffield’ film session, supported by local car hire company Sixt.”

The festival’s official charity partner is once again Sheffield Hospitals Charity. Festival-goers are being asked to donate a suggested £1 per ticket towards the Helipad Appeal. In addition, all the proceeds from a special ShAFF Classics session screening will also go to the appeal.

See what’s on at ShAFF andbuy tickets Sheffield Adventure Film Festival

Most tickets are £8.50/£6 with multi-buy discounts and children’s tickets for family-friendly sessions from £1-£5, plus many free events as part of ShAFF Fringe. Donate to the Helipad Appeal: Sheffield Helipad