Showcasing the best adventure films from around the world, The Showroom Cinema opened its doors once again, playing host to thrill seekers and armchair adventurers alike, all looking to get their fix from the big screen. With muddy boots traipsing in from the drizzly Peaks, mountain enthusiasts certainly left satisfied, if not exhausted, after a full weekend of exhilarating adventure film. This year saw the festival sprawling out over the city to include an additional screen at Sheffield Hallam University and an amphitheatre hosted by Red Bull above the train station. With a packed itinerary, bursting with a wide range of film, talks and activities we went along to soak up some of the action.
One feature this year was that it appeared to have attracted some bigger names than previous events. Fresh from his appearances on Channel 5 Jamie Andrew (right) gave a fascinating lecture on his life and rehabilitation following the shocking incident on the Droites 14 years ago where he lost both hands and feet and his best climbing friend. The film was very moving but the most interesting bit came afterwards with an excellent question an answer session featuring a panel of four staff from Sheffield Hospitals discussing the fine line between the risks and rewards adventure sports athletes take in pursuing their passion.
This year's festival undoubtedly stood out by featuring notable films focusing on and made by women. Courageous Spice Girl, Hazel Findlay, had us hanging on the edge of our seats as she tackled bold routes in remote Morocco and on North Coast Devon. With her Dad Steve, facing an incoming tide while belaying, Hazel achieved new heights as she became the first British woman to climb E9. We were also proud to see resident-local-girl Mina Leslie-Wujastyk make the first female ascent of Careless Torque (8A) out at Stanage. Another highlight was 'Half the Road', a feature film directed by US pro cyclist Kathryn Bertine, drawing attention to the injustice of women's professional cycling. A passionate and powerful portrayal of the poor state of the sport, we will definably keep a look out for Kathryn's campaign Le Tour Entier, which petitions to get women competing in the Tour de France.
ShAFF had its usual dose of chills and thrills with plenty of ski and board movies throughout the weekend. 'Deeper Than Snow', a sequel to last year's debut 'The White Line' features the touching story of snowboarder Jake Cornish, revealing the human side behind extreme sports. Directed by Sheffield Filmmaker Ismar Badzic, this story will melt your heart. With stylish and sophisticated filming to boot, 'Deeper Than Snow' is a tribute to Sheffield adventure filmmaking.
So after a hair-raising white-knuckle weekend we leave ignited with inspiration and filled with the spirit of adventure. Kudos to Heason Events for organising yet another slick and sound festival. Be sure to keep your diary free for ShAFF 2015. It's getting bigger and better and comes highly recommended.
Christina Barningham and Louise Snape