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Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 October 2007
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A STROLL up Arthur's Seat is the closest many get to mountaineering, but now a film festival celebrating extreme sports and the great outdoors is set to inspire people to reach new heights.

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts are expected to attend the three-day extravaganza which opens tonight, featuring films and lectures by famous climbers and explorers. The festival aims to promote mountain culture and provide a platform for adventure film-makers to showcase their work. These range from iceberg climbing in Canada to a short film about scaling high buildings in Dundee called Bricks & Mortar.

The speakers include Scottish adventurer Karen Darke, who was paralysed in a climbing accident, but went on to ski across the Greenland icecaps.

Organiser Stevie Christie said they expected more than 2500 to attend events at the George Square Lecture Theatre at Edinburgh University.

He was inspired to create the festival five years ago after attending the world-famous Banff Mountain Film Festival in Alberta, Canada.

It has now grown from a one-day event to a festival featuring more than 20 films from international and home-grown film makers.

Mr Christie, who runs adventure travel company Wilderness Journeys, said: "There's obviously very strong Edinburgh support for the festival, but people come from all over the UK. It's not just for mountaineers, we've got films about skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking.

"We want to inspire people to enjoy the natural environment. It's also an established social gathering for Scotland's vibrant outdoors community."

He said there was a strong Scottish line-up this year, with homegrown films including Polldubh - A Mountain Climbers Paradise.

It follows 77-year-old Jimmy Ness as he attempts to repeat his ascent of the severe Pinnacle Ridge 60 years after he first climbed it. Aspiring Edinburgh filmmaker and mountain biker Douglas Brown's film Cycopaths, a depiction of a white-knuckle ride in Glentress, is one of the works to premiere at the festival.

City directors Dave Brown and Paul Disslie also followed some of the best rock climbers in the country for several months to film their exploits. The morality of climbing in the "Death Zone" is explored through the eyes of Mark Inglis in Dying For Everest.

New Zealander Inglis reached the summit of Everest last year, but was strongly criticised for failing to help an incapacitated English climber, David Sharp, who later died on the mountain.

Iconic photographs, including the last shot of doomed climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on Everest, will be displayed at the Edinburgh Fine Art Library on George IV Bridge to coincide with the festival.

Mr Christie said they hoped to raise at least £5000 for their nominated charities, the John Muir Trust and Scottish Mountain Rescue, through the event.

Wilderness Journeys have also committed to giving one per cent of their annual turnover to environmental groups that are actively working to protect the global environment.

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