The People Behind ShAFF

There is an amazing team of people that help make ShAFF happen every year. From volunteers, to judges find out more below about this talented team. If you'd like to get involved in ShAFF (by which we mean doing lots of hard work in return for a free T-shirt), please get in touch, ideally sending a photo of yourself in a silly hat.

ShAFF ambassadors are climbers, bikers, runners and other active folk who live in or near sheffield and who are famous within their circles. Check out the list of ambassadors who have endorsed ShAFF and what it's all about. there are links to their blogs and websites plus a bit of info about each of them. Being an ambassador means tickets to the festival too, so you might well bump into them in the bar.

Anna Paxton

Anna Paxton is a trail and ultra runner, climber, and writer from Sheffield. When she isn't running, climbing, or exploring outdoors she is most likely to be writing, reading, or watching films about adventure. Anna is the founder and editor of, a website by and for women who love the outdoors. Anna works on Marketing and PR for ShAFF.

Beautiful Everything

Beautiful Everything - Experience Design Consultancy

Ed Richardson & Paul Stallard set up Beautiful Everything to offer experience consultancy to a wide range of organisations and brands. Happily for us, they are based in the Showroom Workstation - home to the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. The team there have revamped the ShAFF YouTube channel, but are also part of the team that deliver BoomBeam, the platform that runs the ShAFF website and the film festival logistics Ed is also a keen off-road runner and cyclist. He's recently completed the 42 mile High Peak Marathon with Matt Heason, though a small navigational error meant they made it into a 44 mile run! Paul is a keen mountain biker and runner, rolling the bumps and trails most weekends over near Grenoside.

Claire Carter

Judge and Presenter

Claire is a writer and filmmaker, alongside juggling numerous jobs in the Outdoor Industry such as working with Kendal Mountain Festival as the Film Officer and the Outdoor Industries Association as Engagement Officer. Being Head Judge for ShAFF means she watches adventure films all year road. She has quite square eyes these days, and very strong fingers from gripping the sides of her arm chair.

Dave Mycroft

Festival Fringe Director

Dave is the Managing Editor of outdoors news website He also coordinates the ShAFF photography exhibition which - with the support of Lowepro - has developed into the UK's biggest outdoor and adventure photography exhibition of the year. This year, he's created the Festival Fringe with a whole stack of free talks for the public and invitation only parties for our filmmakers, sponsors, athletes and volunteers. Oh, and he also runs the Second Hand Kit Sale.

Ed Birch

Filmmaker & ShAFF trailer producer

Salt Street Productions, Filmmaker, judge and ShAFF Trailer Producer Young entrepreneur, Edward Birch set up his own production company - Salt-Street Productions - whilst at university and now works full time producing online sports videos. His career started at ShAFF when we showcased his first adventure sports documentary. He said: "Over the years I've lived in Sheffield I have seen ShAFF grow from strength to strength and I do my utmost to help continue this growth. ShAFF is a fantastic film festival, one of the biggest adventure sports festivals in worldwide. I feel very privileged to be a part of it." This year he's screening his latest big hit LOW LINE, other films and returns to produced our trailer.

Hayley Lever

Women in Adventure Judge

Hayley is Co-Director of Derbyshire Sport. Her particular remit is to help judge our new prize category - Best Women In Adventure Film - to encourage female talent both behind and in front of the camera. As a mother of three young girls she's passionate about inspiring women to be active and seek adventure. A keen runner and cyclist she's completed several long-distance events including triathlons and one of the world's toughest marathons, the Swiss MountainMan. Follow Hayley on Twitter @HayleyLever and follow Derbyshire Sport @DerbysSport

Ian White

Working with Beautiful Everything

Ian White is working in collaboration with Ed Richardson at Beautiful Everything. Ian is one of those clever people who actually knows how to design an app. We can't wait to test run the new audience voting app at the festival. Like Ed and Matt, he's a keen runner and this pic is from the end of their epic High Peak Marathon. A man of many talents, he's also an excellent cook. You can find his open source work at, and he tweets at @i2w

JP Burgess

Showroom Box Office © Jake Thompson

If Martin is the engine that keeps ShAFF going, then JP is the anchor that stops Box Office imploding under the pressure of 3,000 visitors. He's the public face of the amazing Showroom Cinema team including all the technicians, marketing, catering and bar staff that make ShAFF weekend such an enjoyable experience. When it all gets too much, you can always rely on JP to come up with an anecdote that puts it all into perspective. PS You might not recognise him from this photo as he's grown a magnificent beard over the past year.

Martin Blackburn

Volunteer Coordinator

It's no exaggeration to say that without Martin the festival would fall apart. Each year, as if by magic, a huge team of volunteers appears out of nowhere and helps us with everything from feedback forms to filming and ticketing to tech support. (Actually, there's no magic - just lots of hard work, months ahead recruiting, vetting, briefing and training people). Martin somehow manages to stay calm and cheerful, motivating a team of 50 with lots of caffeine and biscuits.

Matt Heason

Festival Director

From around September Matt spends the long winter evenings watching the 350+ films that we consider for the festival each year including submissions from film makers as well as sourcing films. Before spending an agonising couple of weeks in December juggling the final selection of around 100 films into a programme in time for publication in the New Year. Once ShAFF's over, he's onto Sheffield's Cliffhanger Festival and programming Cycle To The Cinema's summer season and then Buxton Adventure Festival in the autumn. Originally a climber, he's branched out into ultra-running and cycling and helps organise the annual Grindleford Goat Sportive in September. Follow Matt @HeasonEvents.

Niall Grimes

Niall Grimes lives to climb, climbs to write and writes to live. He will talk for money, and raffles are a speciality. He once picked up Radio Luxembourg on a false teeth, which was where he first heard about Anna Friel's kiss on Brookside. He has climbed Mount Everest twice, once by a new route on the French side. He hopes you are having a nice day. He also publishes the brilliant Jam Crack podcast - a mix of interviews with climbers and climbing stories.

Paul Barton & Hannah Bird

ShAFF Graphic Design Team, Design Everything

Paul and Hannah at Design Everything have come on board this year to give ShAFF brand new look to celebrate our 10th birthday. They've designed our new logo and custom font and done all the artwork for our posters, flyers, brochure, T-shirts and much more. We can't recommend their services too highly enough. Find out more... As if that weren't enough, their 10 year old son Elliot's film Run Funning is premiering at ShAFF and it has a soundtrack written and sung by their 8 year old daughter Tilly. If we had an award for Creative Family Of The Year, they'd win it.

Paul Diffley

Paul founded Hot Aches Productions in 2004 and has gone on to produce many highly acclaimed adventure films, picking up over 40 awards in the process. As well as creating his own productions under his Hot Aches label, Paul also works as a freelance cameraman, director and editor for the broadcast industry. His experience ranges from hanging off ropes filming live outside broadcasts of rock climbing to following adventurers and athletes pushing their limits. Paul is equally at home shooting video in challenging mountain environments using ropes and rigging gear as he is conducting an intimate and sensitive interview in a subject’s home. Aside from his professional interest in adventure sports as a filmmaker, Paul is a lifelong rock climber and general outdoor enthusiast with a love of mountain environments and a passion to portray their special qualities through the medium of film.

Paul Hodgson

Music Judge & ShAFF DJ

Bringing Sheffield producer and DJ Paul Hodgson (aka Grievous Angel) on board fulfils a long-time wish of Matt's to highlight the film soundtracks and all the musicians whose creative energy makes such a huge contribution to the success of a film. In addition to judging the soundtracks, Paul will be pulling together a #ShAFF2015 playlist of the best tunes that we'll be playing all weekend in the Showroom bar. Can't wait? Listen to his #ShAFF2015 Soundtracks playlist on YouTube. Follow Grievous Angel on Soundcloud and on Twitter @grievousangeluk.

Pete Clayton

Excel Consultant

It's not all glamour running a film festival. Though Festival Director Matt Heason and PR Lissa Cook love a good adventure film, what they love event more is a good excel spreadsheet. Pete Clayton is the Excel Consultant (or Excel Wizard as we call him). He has run general elections for emerging democracies from an excel spreadsheet and this year we're running ShAFF from his master programming spreadsheet. As well as being the cleverest person at ShAFF, he's also one of the nicest.

Zena Toscani

Former deputy editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine, Zena Toscani now heads up the video department of Sheffield-based behaviour change agency Diva Creative. When she’s not busy drooling over the latest camera tech, Zena shoots wedding films, climbs rocks and tries not to go over the handlebars too often when mountain biking.