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If mountain biking through the Andes, fly fishing in Eastern Russia or skateboarding in Afghanistan seem a little beyond your reach, then strap yourself in for a vicarious voyage of discovery at the Adventure Film Festival Sydney 2011. From 21 to 23 September at the famous Bondi Pavilion you can experience all these adventures and more.
Adventure Film Festivals are held throughout the world in far-flung cities such as Chamonix, Boulder and Santiago. Their manifesto is "belief in the power of the story, especially the narratives of adventure and awakening, to change and challenge the world we live in". The Adventure Film Selection Committee has sifted through more than 200 entries from 12 countries, and selected 19 films for the Sydney Festival that bring this maxim to life, and controversially, even to death.
The festival opening night includes a screening of Solo, the much-debated story of Tasman Sea kayaker, Andrew McAuley, who after his month-long ocean trek in 2007, disappeared one day out from landfall. McAuley's body was never found but the camera that had documented his attempt to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand, was recovered from his kayak, and those images have been used in the making of this film.
The films will be shown in five sessions over three days. Some are very short, like Living the Dream which runs for only 4 minutes. This 2010 production puts the life-on-the-edge of travelling rock-climber, Renan Ozturk, on display. The lengthiest offerings weigh in at 85 minutes. Barefoot in Timbuktu is the powerful story of Aebi's African village odyssey until civil war in Mali forces him to flee. Rio Breaks chronicles the lives of Fabio and Naama, split between the stark reality of their Rio slum and the promise of escape offered by the local surf club.
The opening night session (Wednesday 21 September) will show five films from 6.45pm to 9pm and will be followed by the Opening Night Party in the Bondi Pavilion Theatre Bar from 9pm to midnight. Thursday night offers five films over two sessions from 6.30 pm to 10pm, with Friday rolling out nine adventures over two sessions within the same timeframe. It all concludes with the Closing Night Party from 11.30pm.
Tickets are available through Foxtixhere. You can see individual sessions for $15 plus fees, or go all out with a Day Pass ($25 plus fees) or the ultimate Festival Pass, your passport to all the films, for $60 plus fees. Tickets will also be on sale at the door but will cost an extra $5.
This is an event for all you adrenaline junkies out there, if you can spare the time out from climbing, skiing, biking, sailing and exploring. Those of us who lead much tamer existences can live the dream through the lenses and stories of those driven individuals for whom adventure really is a way of life.