June film and book festival should go ahead: organisers

Mark Sedon. Photo: supplied
Mark Sedon. Photo: supplied
Organisers of the 20th NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival remain optimistic the June event will go ahead.

As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 surges through New Zealand, event cancellations are becoming more frequent.

However, adventurer and festival founder Mark Sedon was confident the nine-day event would be able to go ahead in Wanaka (June 24-29) and Queenstown (June 30-July 2), using multiple venues for small audiences as well as screening online.

Mr Sedon said the contingency planning was put in place when Covid-19 first struck in 2020.

"Two years ago, we put planning in place for three separate 100-person events across three separate venues so we feel confident that we can use a similar format again in 2022, if needed," Mr Sedon said.

The festival venues would require vaccine passes.

The online event was introduced in 2020 when many festival fans could not come to Wanaka because of travel restrictions.

Mr Sedon said it went so well it was kept in the programme.

"It’s certainly a good way to ensure more people can be part of the festival even with the challenges of Covid-19."

The NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival celebrates adventurous sports and lifestyles and gives writers and filmmakers a chance to show their work, receive merit and win prizes.

The film festival has been receiving entries from around New Zealand and overseas.

Book festival programme co-ordinator Dan Clearwater said book entries had already surpassed last year’s total.

"To get this in the first month is very pleasing," Mr Clearwater said.

"It shows that the sector is rebounding from the initial shock of the pandemic and moving in a very positive direction."

A selection of the best film entries will go on a national tour from August.

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