ShAFF 2009

by Alan James - UKC and UKH Mar/2009
This article has been read 3,804 times
Katherine Schirrmacher opening ShAFF 2009 on Friday night, 110 kb

ShAFF is back, bigger and better than ever. The event began in February and ended in March and in between a whole host of delights were presented to the expectant audiences. Sometimes events like this suffer from being cursed by good weather; in this case the Saturday played along but Sunday was indeed a glorious day out in the Peak so daytime visitors were left with a difficult dilemma. Overall though the event organiser Matt Heason assured me that attendances were slightly up on last year despite there being more than just the odd empty seat in some of the lectures.

Ron Fawcett being interviewed by Ed Douglas at ShAFF 2009, 107 kb
Ed Douglas interviewing Ron Fawcett
Ron Fawcett surveys his legendary hands at ShAFF 2009, 87 kb
Ron's big hands

The event was kicked off on Friday night by Ed Douglas interviewing on Fawcett. Ron isn't known for his self-publicity so it took a bit of coaxing on Ed's part to get him too loosen up, but in the end we got an interesting insight to a man who has lived and breathed rock for nearly the 50 years. He showed us his big hands, explained why he never really bothered training and convinced us how wonderful Crookrise is.

Dominic Green accepting the prize for the Best Film at ShAFF 2009 - Andy Parkin: A Life In Adaptation, 159 kb
Dominic Green accepting the prize for the Best Film at ShAFF 2009 - Andy Parkin: A Life In Adaptation

The focus of the event is the films which included 11 premières plus many of the other slightly more familiar offerings. The overall best film went to Andy Parkin - A Life in Adaptation. Dominic Green accepted the award on behalf of Pip Piper, David Fair and himself.

The Chris Sharma lecture was a highlight of ShAFF 2009, 76 kb
Chris Sharma provided the headline lecture on Saturday night
Chris Sharma lecturing at ShAFF 2009, 99 kb

The highlight of Saturday night was a lecture by world climbing superstar Chris Sharma. Similar in many ways to Fawcett, Chris delivered an understated and calm talk that oozed an intense passion for climbing that makes me think that I have only been playing at being a climber for the last 25 years. It was illustrated by brilliant photos and well-edited movie clips of his amazing ascents - the Jumbo Love and Es Pontas films being particularly awe-inspiring at illustrating the lengths top climbers will go to achieve their goals.

The Great British Grade Debate at ShAFF 2009, 95 kb
The panel for the Great British Grade Debate

The most publicised item on the ShAFF agenda was the Great British Grade Debate. This event was prompted largely by James Pearson's major ascents of 2008 receiving big grades, lots of media coverage and, in most cases, significant down grades following repeat ascents. It was great that James was able to attend to essentially defend his grading and you can see the video of the highlights of the event here: UKC VIDEO

This was one of the features that suffered from low attendance. Perhaps charging people to attend a debate like this was a mistake and in future maybe such debates could be used as loss leaders to get people into the Festival, after all, the debate was followed by the Best of ShAFF film showing which closes the Festival.

Ed Luke's stunning set of portraits of top climbers at ShAFF 2009, 96 kb
Ed Luke's superb portraits
Jerry Moffatt showing his reverence for UKC at ShAFF 2009, 135 kb
Jerry Moffatt showing reverence for UKC
Grimer buttering up his audience with free Gin and Tonics at ShAFF 2009, 69 kb
Grimer buttering up his audience with free Gin and Tonics at ShAFF 2009
© Keith Sharples

Other highlights included the films (obviously), the magnificent photos from Ed Luke, the music, the camaraderie, Grimer's lecture, and a high level of general inspiration. All those who missed it, or who dallied with attending but cried off because of the weather, consider popping in next year to pick up a lecture or a film, you won't be disappointed.

More photos of ShAFF

The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
© Alan James
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