New Zealand Mountain Film Festival adventure film school
student Ben Kirsche (right), of Germany, demonstrates his
drone-mounted camera to (from left) tutor Hugh Barnard, of
Wanaka, and Mount Aspiring College pupils Callum Rennie
(15), Claire Liggins (17) and Maggie Little (13) at the
Wanaka skate park yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
A drone-mounted GoPro camera hovering over the Wanaka
skate park yesterday marked the start of the action at the
town's 12th annual New Zealand Mountain Film Festival.
The flying filming device belonged to German backpacker Ben
Kirsche who was one of a group of students in the festival's
two-day adventure film school.
Mr Kirsche bought the drone in New Zealand for about $1700 as
a replacement for his first model, which crash-landed.
Wanaka's skateboarders were the subjects of the footage
captured from the remote-controlled drone, which film school
tutor Hugh Barnard said was a commonly used tool in action
and adventure film-making.
Among the budding film-makers were six Otago secondary school
pupils who received scholarships to attend the school from
the NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust.
The festival has its official opening tonight at the Lake
Wanaka Centre, featuring live music, the festival awards
announcements and a sample screening of the festival's film
Organiser Mark Sedon said in terms of reputation and quality,
the festival sat on the world stage alongside Canada's Banff
and the UK's Kendal mountain film festivals, albeit on a
''We draw similar films, but ours is actually eight months
ahead of the others, so we get newer films for our New
Zealand viewers. Lucky us.''
There are a record number of films being shown this year and
tickets were being snapped up quicker than previously, with
tomorrow night and Monday night's session nearly sold out and
others filling up fast.
The stronger focus on youth programmes, a wide range of
workshops and two scientific talks had helped attract a wider
audience, Mr Sedon said.
The festival had evolved into a complete adventure
''package'' for the audience and covered all aspects of
outdoor New Zealand, ''from looking after it to enjoying
Although there were usually about 4000 people attending
throughout the festival, it was difficult to know exact
figures as many people went to multiple shows.
About 500 or 600 of the festival-goers travel from outside
the district to take part - including large numbers from the
North Island and a handful from Australia.
Finalists in the best New Zealand-made film category will be
screened during the next few days and the winner announced at
the last Wanaka show on Tuesday evening, along with the
winners of a new photography competition and the popular film
editing competition. A trade show and art exhibition also
feature as part of the festival.
Festival screenings and talks will take place in Queenstown
and Cromwell later next week.