ShAFF Guide

What is a film festival?

A little bit about what you can expect from a film festival
© Jake Thompson
© Jake Thompson




It’s a film festival.

We like to think the experience of a film festival is a bit different to just going out to the cinema. We show over 100 films during a few short days. We show them in a range of different venues at curated screenings which gather together lots of films around a single sport or theme. So you can pop in to see a single screening or spend a whole weekend going goggle eyed with film after film!

At ShAFF the films are grouped into different 8 categories:

  • Ski & snowboard 
  • Surf & kayak
  • Climbing
  • Adrenaline
  • Spirit of adventure
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Young Adventurers

At ShAFF, it’s full of adventure films.

All the films we show have something to do with adventures, adventure sports and the great outdoors. But we don’t just choose films because of how “adventurous” they are. Some of them make us laugh. A few of them make us cry. Some of them make us go “wow look at that”. Some of them tell a story. Some of them advance the genre of film making. Some of them are just great in ways we can’t explain. Some of them are made by seasoned Directors with expensive budgets and gear. Some of them are made by first timers using a cheap borrowed camera.

It’s for everyone.

You don’t have to work in the industry. You don’t have to be wearing the latest high end outdoor gear. You don’t have to be an adventurer or a climber or a mountain biker. You don’t have to know about film or cameras or panning or jump cuts. You can be young or old, male or female. We try and make sure there is something in the programme to inspire, delight and entertain everyone.

It’s for film makers.

It’s not only for film makers. Then it wouldn’t be for everyone. But festivals like ours are a great showcase for people to get their films in front of an audience. Adventure film makers are a dedicated bunch. They don’t always spend their days waist deep in crocodile infested waters to get their shots. But they often go to some pretty extreme lengths to get their films made and are passionate about getting their story out there. Quite a lot of film makers and producers come along to the festival and it’s a chance for the makers and the viewers to rub shoulders in the same place.

It’s more than just films.

There are talks and discussions. A kids zone. Loads of stalls selling adventure gear. Fringe events. Not to mention a wonderful buzz of people, conversation and discussion in the foyers, bars and eateries around the event. 

It’s made by you. 

Film Festivals are all about the buzz created by everyone who takes part. Which means you. Being part of the audience. Laughing, gasping, oohing and ahing at the films. Chatting with your friends and family. Tweeting what you think (join the discussion on twitter @ShefAdvFilmFest or #ShAFF). Rating the films with your unique code (collect your code ticket at every screening). Browsing the stalls. Joining the throng at the bar. Or at its simplest, just being there. Come and visit. Everyone is welcome.