LEO HOULDING, whose audacious ascents on epic mountain faces, documented in award winning films like The Asgard Project, The Wildest Dream, and The Last Great Climb, is coming to Galway for the Why Not? Adventure Film Festival.
The Why Not? Adventure Film Festival, showcasing more than 150 adventure sport films from more than 20 countries, returns to the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday October 1, from 1pm to 9.30pm, and The Loft @ Seven, Bridge Street, on Sunday 2.
Twenty years of extreme adventure have taken acclaimed British rock climber Leo Houlding from Top Gear to the top of Everest, from devastating injury to major world firsts, and from terrifying BASE jumps to glorious summits of the most remote and difficult peaks on every continent. He will be the keynote speaker at this year's festival, his talk taking place in the Town Hall on Saturday 1 at 3.30pm.
In 2015 Houlding led a successful expedition to a cliff in Arctic Greenland known as the Mirror Wall. His film, Mirror On The Wall, discusses the contrast between adventure TV and adventure film, and reflects on the conflict between the responsibilities and joys of fatherhood, and a life of extreme adventure. Houlding’s visit to Ireland is sponsored by Portwest.
A feast of adventure films
“The festival has one aim - to inspire people to undertake their own adventures, no matter how small," says festival director Graham Clarke. "It’s been wonderful each year to hear back stories from our audiences about adventures that they’ve been inspired to undertake because of the festival. It’s been very rewarding”.
The film sessions are broken into themes of adrenaline, adventure, water sports, environment, and culture, There will also be the Best of WNAFF16 film session after Holding's talk. This year's films are:
The Last Time I Heard True Silence: Noah Cass was a machine gunner for the Marine Corp during Operation Spear in Iraq in 2005. During an over-watch mission his team was ambushed and a mortar round hit his truck, leaving him with permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Returning home he dealt with issues common to veterans transitioning into civilian life: aggressive behaviour, alcohol addiction, depression, difficulty keeping a job, and relationship problems. Noah eventual hit rock bottom after three years and was desperate for a change.
Noah, now a father and husband, enters the 50-mile wilderness race, having only completed one 26-mile marathon prior. This race represents the journey a young soldier has to face to help cope with a past that haunts him every day.
Tashi & The Monk: On a remote mountaintop a brave social experiment is taking place. Former Buddhist monk Lobsang was trained under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama but eight years ago left a life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to create a unique community in the foothills of the Himalayas rescuing orphaned and neglected children. Five-year-old Tashi is the newest arrival. Her mother recently died and she has been abandoned by her alcoholic father. Can the community’s love and compassion transform Tashi’s alienation and tantrums into a capacity to make her first real friend?
Operation Moffat: Operation Moffat takes inspiration and wit from the colourful climbing life of Britian’s first female mountain guide, Gwen Moffat. Writer Claire Carter and filmmaker Jen Randall scramble, swim and barefoot climb through Gwen’s most cherished British landscapes, grappling with her preference for mountains over people, adventure over security, wilderness over tick lists.
Tom: Tom lives with his father James in a camping site in the Dolomites, Italy. They both live on his small pension. Even though Tom’s mother, the great British Alpinist Alison Hargreaves, died descending the K2 when he was just six, Tom never wanted to be anything else but a climber. His whole life is dedicated to the mountains and his goal is to climb solo the Six North Faces of the Alps in a single winter season. Nobody has ever done it, and Tom wants to be the first.
The festival will also host a series of shorts from Sender Films, including Young Guns, about 14-year-old Ashima Shiraishi and 15-year-old Kai Lightner, leaders of a new generation poised to take the sport of climbing to the next level. Boys In The Bugs focusses on 'crack climbers' Matt Segal and Will Stanhope. Crack climbing is a bold, traditionalist discipline in which climbers 'jam' their hands, feet and even entire bodies into cracks, while skillfully protecting themselves from a fall by placing their own removable gear in the rock. Dodo’s Delight is a madcap sailing adventure to the biggest rock walls in the Arctic Circle with a team of elite climbers as zany as they are talented, skippered by the spry 79-year old Captain Bob Shepton. Brette is about 24-year old Brette Harrington who is forging a life defined by adventure. Rad Dad centers on Mike Libecki, who travels to the most remote corners of the globe to find unclimbed walls and establish first ascents.
“The Why Not? Adventure Film Festival received just 20 film applications in our first year," says Graham Clarke. "Five years later, with between 150 to 200 film entries from 20 plus countries for consideration, including submissions from Oscar nominated film directors and Emmy award winning producers, this festival is now firmly on the international adventure film festival map. It’s my hope this is something the outdoor and film community across Galway and Ireland will embrace on a bigger scale this year.”