THE FOURTH annual Why Not? Adventure Film Festival, a day of screenings of documentaries on mountain climbing, trekking in wild and remote corners of the globe, human endurance, extreme sports, and the human thirst for adventure, returns to Galway this weekend.
The Festival takes place in An Taibhdhearc, Middle Street, on Saturday October 10, from 10-.30am to 10pm, with a many of the screenings being Irish premieres. It will also host the free Leave No Trace outdoor workshop, and among the guest speakers at this will be Irish women Olive Mc Gloin - the first women in history to walk a return journey of the Pacific Crest Trail. A journey of more than 5,300 miles. It is the same 2,650-mile route (one way ) that Reese Witherspoon’s character walks some 1,000 miles of in the film Wild.
The feature films
The centerpiece of the frestival will be the three feature length films, starting with the Red Dot on the Irish premiere of Ocean: The Matt Rutherford Story, directed by Amy Flannery, which tells how a troubled youth became a sailing legend and earned two Guinness World Records.
Matt Rutherford was an angry teen with learning disabilities who had become involved in petty crime, but becoming involved in sailingchanged his life. He has since become the first person to sail alone, without stopping, around North and South America - in the process raising $120,000 for disabled sailors while braving icebergs, the Arctic and Cape Horn. After 309 days at sea, he returned to a hero's welcome and $30 dollars in the bank. He has also founded a non-profit organisation to conduct ocean research, and completed two major voyages, one in the Atlantic and one across the pacific.
The festival will also host the Irish Premiere of Frozen Titans, which focusses on Canadian ice climber and paraglider, Will Gadd. The unique spray ice formations at Helmcken Falls, British Columbia, provide a stunning backdrop and ultimate challenge. Considered the hardest ice and mixed climbing in the world, the 140-meter cave is a terrifying complex of giant, overhung icicles. It has become Gadd’s obsession and the leading edge of modern ice climbing.
A highlight of the festival could well prove to be Valley Uprising, which tells the great untold story of American counterculture - the Yosemite Valley rock climbers. For 50 years, Yosemite’s cliffs have drawn explorers and madmen to leave materialism behind and venture onto the high, lonesome granite. The characters of Yosemite carved out an "extreme bohemian” lifestyle, living as beatnik vagabonds, clashing with National Park authorities and pioneering the boldest climbs on Earth. The torch has been passed across generations of climbers; through rivalries, tragedies and triumphs, the art of climbing has exceeded imagination. This is the riveting tale of this bold tradition: half a century’s struggle against the laws of gravity - and the laws of the land.
In addition to the three main features, a variety of shorts, such as From The Road, West to the Sea, and Mountain Bikes & Bothy Nights, will also be screened.
“We’re absolutely thrilled by the volume of world class films we received this year” remarks Graham Clarke, the festival director. “In our first year we received less than 20. So the high volume of entries has been very rewarding. Since 2012 we have been working hard to put the event on the international adventure film festival map. And it seems to be paying off! ”