Knackered. I’m absolutely exhausted, freshly returned from this year’s Adventure Travel Film Festival, a three day event curated by Lois Pryce and Austin Vince to showcase the best independent adventure film-making in the world today. Why so tired? That’s where the festival part comes in …
The ATFF isn’t just about watching hard to find, compelling adventure movies. Having been built up over a number of years, the whole slick show caters for aspiring producers and culture-vultures alike with a heady mix of side-shows, stalls, workshops, bands, global catering, a bonfire, and of course the starlight screening at the end of each day.
The real stars of the show are the films; independently produced by the cast, often on a tight budget, each screening consistently produced belly laughs and lumps in throats by all. The stories are as diverse as life itself; whether circumnavigating the globe by microlight aircraft, teaching Iranian women to surf, crossing Africa in 1935 with sidecar outfits, or sailing to India with a home-made, self-sufficient boat, each production packs more punch per 8mm minute than a plastic lifetime of Hollywood.
The icing on the cake? Watching a guy ride the length of the Americas on horseback over 5 years, covering 20,000 miles, then having a drink with him at the bar. Laughing at the antics of two Belgians trying to hitchhike to Istanbul in seven days, then share obscene jokes with them around the campfire. That girl over there with the infectious giggle and obvious love of red wine? Cycled every US state before running the length of New Zealand, unsupported. Make no mistake, this is one seriously humbling, accessible experience.