Global adventurers to headline NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival 2024

3 minutes read
Posted 11 April, 2024
Screenshot 2024 04 11 094049

Simone Moro on Nanga Parbat in 2012. Photo: Matteo Zanga / The North Face

Italian mountaineer Simone Moro headlines the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival this year, talking about his achievements in high-altitude mountaineering and extraordinary rescue missions he's been involved with during his mountaineering career and as a helicopter pilot.

“Simone is one of the most accomplished mountaineers ever to visit our region and we’re delighted that he’ll be joining us for talks in both Wānaka and Queenstown,” Festival Director and co-founder, Mark Sedon, says.

A veteran of 15 winter expeditions, Moro is the only alpinist to have completed four 8,000m ascents in winter, on Shisha Pangma (8027m) in 2005, Makalu (8485m) in 2009, Gasherbrum II (8035m) in 2011 and Nanga Parbat (8126m) in 2016. In 2001, he abandoned his own Everest-Lhotse Traverse attempt to save an English climber, enduring horrific conditions in darkness, on his own with an extremely high risk of avalanche and without supplementary oxygen.

Moro was also the first European helicopter pilot qualified to fly in Nepal and has completed numerous rescue operations, including the highest long-line rescue at 7,800m on Everest in 2013.

Accomplished field guide, naturalist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker Frederique Olivier (Australia) will speak about her exploration of the polar regions. With 22 seasons in Antarctica and the Sub Antarctic, she has worn multiple hats, from scientist (with a PhD in Antarctic ecology) to voyage manager for the Australian Antarctic Programme, skipper, expedition guide, and cinematographer.

She undertook two challenging year-long overwintering expeditions to film Emperor Penguins for the BBC series "Planet Earth" (2005) and "Penguins: Spy in the Huddle" (2012).

Beyond being a polar specialist, Olivier’s fascination for the marine world originated on the remote Australian Great Barrier Reef, where she worked as a scientific diver. She explored further Ningaloo reefs, the Kimberley, Vanuatu and remote Solomons Islands where she lived with the local communities for two years on her yacht after supporting shoots for another BBC series, South Pacific.

New Zealand whitewater kayaker and adventurer Shannon Mast Shannon has ventured to some of the most remote and challenging waterways on the planet. He will share his passion for expeditions and exploratory trips which has led him to adventures in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, West Papua, USA, as well as at home in New Zealand. 


Shannon Mast in action

Local legend, renowned New Zealand climber, and longtime friend of the festival, Guy Cotter will join the panel of speakers at the NZ Mountain Book Festival to speak about his recently published book, Everest Mountain Guide. The book gives a riveting behind-the-scenes insight into his remarkable career that has spanned more than three decades, and the huge challenges and life and death dramas that have unfolded on the world’s highest peaks.

Entries for the NZ Mountain Book competition closed on 30 March and winners will be announced this month. Meanwhile, the deadline for entering films in the internationally renowned film competition is fast approaching on 20 April and many NZ filmmakers are putting the finishing touches on their world premieres.

“I'm especially excited to see what Kiwi filmmakers come up with this year. The level just keeps stepping up and up each year!” Sedon says.

With more speakers set to be announced in the coming weeks, the 2024 festival will once again be a not-to-be-missed event.

The NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival will run in Wānaka from 21 to 25 June, in Queenstown from 27 – 28 and films will be screened online in NZ and Australia throughout July. The full programme will be announced and tickets will be on sale on 21 May.

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