Begone vacuous celebrities – it’s time for adventurous life-affirming stories #feature #shaff2015

What prompted such a passionate outburst? The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), that’s what. In particular, three women-led documentaries showcasing amusing, articulate, passionate, game-changing, get-on-and-do-it sportswomen, each with their own story to tell.

Yet despite these fab documentaries (see trailers below), just a fifth of last year’s films featured or were made by women. So, to encourage more female adventurers and film-makers for the 2015 tenth anniversary edition of the festival event PR, Lissa Cook, is tackling the problem the only way she knows how – head on.

“Over the past couple of years ShAFF has been criticised for the lack of women on the big screen

Credit Lukasz Warzecha at LW Images

Credit Lukasz Warzecha at LW Images

and in our trailer,” she says. “On the one hand, our response is ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’. The reality is that the majority of films submitted to ShAFF are made by men starring men.”

So the 2015 press release which pinged into our inbox announced, ‘Women in adventure take centre stage at ShAFF 2015’ with Lissa going on to explain, “The debate we’ve been having over the past three years makes me think that we can’t single-handedly revolutionise the industry but we can lead by example and work with female athletes and filmmakers”.

With this in mind, next year’s ShAFF offers the following:

• BMC Women In Mountain Adventure Film competition
Entries will be available via BMC TV where viewers can vote their favourites on to the shortlist. A panel of judges including Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (BMC Vice President), Mark Turnbull (Producer of the legendary Hard Grit) and Matt Heason (ShAFF Director) will pick a winner who will win the £500 prize.
To enter: Go to the BMC or email Nicola Underdown at the BMC or Emily Pitts at WomenClimb.
• Lowepro Women in Adventure Photography Exhibition
The ShAFF 2015 photo exhibition (which for the past two years has attracted more than 3,000 visitors) will again fill the Showroom Workstation. This year the entire mezzanine level will be dedicated to an exhibition curated by of adventure photographs taken by female photographers and/or featuring female athletes.
To submit your entry:
Contact Dave Mycroft.
• A special category in the Lowepro Single Shot adventure photography competition
The Lowepro Single Shot competition rules are simple – one entry, open to all whether amateur or pro. This year, in addition to our overall winner, we’ll have a special category celebrating women in adventure sport. There will be a Lowepro pack for the winner and a matching prize for the best ‘Women in Adventure’ photo.
Details: The Lowepro ShAFF Single Shot Women In Adventure Category Competition Winner will win £100 + Lowepro photographer’s rucksack (make & model tbc). Open for submissions from 1 November 2015, closes 1 February 2015. Submissions will be trimmed down to a shortlist of 6 by a panel of judges and a winner chosen by online vote and announced on 1 March 2015.
• ShAFF Fringe ‘Women In Adventure’ Forum
Discussing how to increase women’s participation both in front and behind the camera.
• More films featuring and made by women as part of the #ShAFF2015 programme
Last year only a fifth of films screened at ShAFF featured or were made by women.

The festival takes place March 20-22 2015 but you’re not too late to submit your entries. Festival director Matt Heason is actively sourcing more films featuring and made by women, so if you are a female filmmaker or are making a film featuring women, get cracking. For ShAFF film submissions contact

The official film submission deadline is 1 December 2014 but if you have a project that may not make the cut off, do still get in touch. There is scope to be flexible and even if it can’t be screened at ShAFF, they still want to widen their networks and look ahead to the next Cycle To The Cinema season, Buxton Adventure Festival 2015 and ShAFF 2016.

Read more:
Discussion of lack of women in adventure sports films via Sportsister
Unfair criticism over attractive female adventurers via Sportsister
Watch Women’s Climbing Symposium film on BMC TV
Like ShAFF on Facebook
Read Lissa Cook’s blog

Need inspiration? 
Check out the trailers of some of Sports Liberated faves:



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