The Return of ShAFF

Now entering its 16th year, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), is one of the highlights of my year, and the excitement comes from the rare opportunity to bring everyone across Sheffield’s outdoor community together to relax, celebrate, and get inspired to plan fresh adventures.

It’s been a strange period for everyone, including filmmakers. Each year we receive hundreds of submissions from around the world, selecting around 100 of the very best to screen over one big weekend. But with global travel bans and stay-at-home orders, I wondered how filmmakers would make any adventure films at all. However, I needn’t have worried, as festival director and founder Matt Heason began to watch the submissions, he soon reassured me that this year’s entries are some of the strongest ever.

Lockdowns have obviously given filmmakers time to edit and pull together existing footage, as well as capturing the events of the past year. With films like Crux (Silver, Best Climbing Film), we live and breathe lockdown through the eyes of a recovering addict who uses climbing to work through his ongoing struggles. Other films offer pure escapism, and the festival Grand Prize winner, The Horse Tamer is just an incredible, unpredictable wild ride! My own favourites include Running The Roof (Gold, Best Running Film) and Transamericana (Silver, Best Running Film).

ShAFF has always been about more than the films. Supported by our sponsors, we host free talks and events to help viewers put their inspiration into action. This time they include a wild swimming panel, inspiring talks from local adventurers, and trail running skills sessions. Over the past year we’ve been reminded again how lucky we are to have access to Sheffield’s fantastic green spaces, and the Peak District so close by. With restrictions about to be lifted, we want to seize this moment to bring Sheffield’s outdoor community together and inspire a summer of adventures!

The festival weekend is the payoff for months of hard work, when we welcome audiences, filmmakers, and sponsors to enjoy it all together. The Showroom is ShAFF’s home, and we’ve missed it. We’ve missed our audience too, and I can’t wait to see everyone.

ShAFF takes place from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 July. Browse the full programme at www.shaff.co.uk and buy tickets from the Showroom Box Office. Most of the programme will be available online, so you can watch from the comfort of your own home if you can’t make it to the cinema.

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 8 July 2021.

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