Mountain festival forging ahead

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The hard climb out of the Covid-19 pandemic will not stop the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival.
The popular annual event is forging ahead at five venues in Wanaka and Queenstown from June 26 to 28.

Festival director Mark Sedon said they had adapted their plans to follow government guidelines for events and gatherings, including smaller events and online screenings.
‘‘We feel it is important to run our event, albeit a little differently to other years.
‘‘Based on feedback, we feel that by the time we get to late June, everyone will be ready to get out and about, providing they feel they are safe.’’

Their core goal was to bring inspiration to their audience ‘‘when they need it most and continue to bring people in our adventure community together both on- and offline’’.
‘‘Our hope is that we are in Level 1 or 2 by this time.
‘‘Regardless, we will have some awesome viewing ready for the festival fans.’’

The festival would run at smaller venues that would restrict numbers and allow for social distancing and seat numbers for contact tracing should it be required.
The trust had received more than 188 entries in the film-maker competition, including 25 New Zealand ones, a record for the event.

Guest speakers would be Scott Donaldson, of Wanaka, who in 2018 become the first solo kayaker to successfully kayak from Australia to New Zealand, and Albert Town blogger Jo Haines, who has spent many years travelling by bike all over the world.

Mr Sedon thanked many patrons and sponsors, as well as the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Community Lakes Trust.
‘‘The continued financial support from our backers has been incredible and the feedback and donations from our audience have been so encouraging.
‘‘These contributions mean we can give 2020 our best shot and look forward to being in a strong position to host our full-scale event in 2021.’’