REPORT: Kendal Mountain Festival 2013

by Jack Geldard, Duncan Campbell and Alan James Nov/2013
This news story has been read 5,970 times

The 2013 Kendal Mountain Festival has been and gone in a whirlwind of exciting films, presentations and of course beer.

Kendal general shot, 142 kb

The leading lights of British climbing film making were there, with Paul Diffley of Hot Aches showing his film Distilled (starring Andy Cave), and Alastair Lee of Posing Productions with his latest blockbuster The Last Great Climb (starring Leo Houlding, Jason Pickles and team).

Paul Diffley scooped the People's Choice Award, Alastair Lee came away with the Judges Film Craft Award, and there was of course loads of other films and awards shown and dished out over the course of the festival.

Paul Diffley at the premier of Distilled, 72 kb
Paul Diffley at the premier of Distilled
© Alan James

The film Distilled went down really well with the audience, and the world premiere was on Friday night, with both Paul Diffley and Andy Cave in attendance, talking about the film to a sell-out crowd. We loved it, the understated nature of Andy Cave, his unique and amazing story, the gorgeous footage of Scotland in her winter robes, and of course - FREE WHISKEY! Always going to be a hit.

TRAILER: Distilled

The Last Great Climb was shown later on the Friday night. This epic from director Al Lee completes the trilogy of adventure films featuring a similar small group of climbers started with Asgard in 2010, then Autana in 2012. This third film has the same quality of filming and editing but this time with even more impressive scenery in one of the remotest places on earth, the mountains of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.

TRAILER: Last Great Climb

The Kendal Winners 2013 - have you seen them all?, 101 kb
The Kendal Winners 2013 - have you seen them all?
As well as the two big UK climbing films, there were some amazing lecturers. Some of the 'big hitters' were the top trad and sport climber Lucy Creamer with her Saturday night lecture, British alpine legend Andy Parkin with his Sunday morning show, and Silvia Vidal of Spain talking about her crazy aid solo climbs all over the world.


An interesting film that also won an award was the Welsh film Defaid a Dringo by Alun Hughes (of Stone Monkey fame). Alun's film follows young Welsh climber Ioan Doyle.

Ioan told UKC:

"It is a real life story with no trimming around the edges as such. It follows me trying to make a career out of sheep farming in the mountains of north wales whilst trying to sustain my passion that is rock climbing. We have had brilliant and such positive press here in Wales about the film but having it shown and winning in Kendal was just the icing on the cake! It was great to show the climbing media how hard it is to "Work hard then play hard" also that us Welsh locals are not just shadows in the background!"

Some of the more underground films were well worth seeking out, and we had very good reports about Rockin Cuba by Baraka films. Those are the guys behind one of our favourite online climbing videos (the Nina Caprez Silbergeier video).

The Marmot tent had some amazing live music as well as some free beer (another big hit of course), plus there was the lung-bursting 10k fell race on the saturday morning, setting off from the very centre of town.

In general the event followed a similar format to last year with the launch taking place on the (closed) main street in Kendal with plenty of the local community in attendance as well as the early arrivals for the Festival. This is a much better way to start the event although so far the weather has played ball; it remains to be seen what it will be like if/when the launch coincides with some harsh November weather!

The Brewery Arts Centre was, as ever, the hub of the Festival although some other events had been switched around. The slightly stale Dojo venue was dropped in favour of a return to the Leisure Centre which is an altogether better venue for bigger presentations. Every year the trade tent presence seems to get bigger and bigger in the huge tents outside. PlanetFear were there with their racks of bargains and a stream of keen shoppers throughout the weekend. There were plenty of smaller businesses as well showing their wares, plus the usual Whiskey tent for samples of Glenfiddich.

The BMC were there of course, with Dave Turnbull introducing the all new BMCTV (Check it out on the BMC Website). It's the BMC, but on the tele! Some great videos there.

Dave Turnbull introducing BMC TV in the BMC Reception on Saturday, 60 kb
Dave Turnbull introducing BMC TV in the BMC Reception on Saturday
© Alan James

Steve McClure discussing his role as new BMC Ambassador, 89 kb
Steve McClure discussing his role as new BMC Ambassador
© Alan James

Kendal Mountain Festival ticket sales were excellent for many films and lectures although some people who turned up wanting to watch a "film or two" left disappointed since only full-day flm passes were on sale and these sold out early on. But if you measure the popularity of Kendal by the average time it takes to get served at the bar on Saturday night, then this was as good a year as ever!

Kendal Mountain Festival, 74 kb
KENDAL 2013: The Winners!

Best Climbing Film: The Sensei

Directed by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer

Produced by Sender Films/Big Up Productions

Prize sponsor: Arc’teryx 

Best Mountaineering Film: High Tension

Directed by Peter Mortimer, Nicholas Rosen, Josh Lowell and Zac Barr

Produced by Sender Films/Big Up Productions

Prize sponsor: Marmot

Best Mountain Adventure Film: The Road From Karakol

Directed and produced by Fitz Cahill

Prize sponsor: RAB 

Best Mountain Culture Film: Valhalla

Directed by Nick Waggoner, produced by Zac Ramras

Prize sponsor: Craghoppers

Best Environment Film: Defaid a Dringo

Directed by Alun Hughes, produced by Cwmni Da Cyf

Prize sponsor: Lake District National Park

Best Adrenaline Film: Petit Bus Rouge

Directed and produced by Sebastien Montaz-Rosset

Prize sponsor: adidas 

Best Short Film: Cascada

Directed by Anson Fogel and Skip Armstrong, produced by Shannon Etheridge

Prize sponsor: Petzl

People’s Choice: Distilled

Directed and produced by Paul Diffley (Hotaches Productions)

Prize sponsor: Patagonia

KMF Short Film Competition supported by Channel 4: Cave Unicycling

Directed and produced by Michael Garrett and Kate Garrett 

Judges’ Special Prize: Rockin’ Cuba

Directed by Vladimir Cellier, produced by Baraka Films

Prize sponsor: Berghaus

Special Prize for film craft: The Last Great Climb

Directed and produced by Alastair Lee (Posing Productions) 

Grand Prize: The Crash Reel

Directed by Lucy Walker Prize sponsor: British Film Institute

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