Adventure On Demand - ShAFF 2019 Revisited

We're looking forward to rearranged screenings of our 2020 films (sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates), but until then there's no shortage of online adventure to keep you entertained.

Although we love to get something for nothing, paid-for content will really help support filmmakers at this time. Adventure films are usually made by small independent production companies who are currently unable to work, but the great news is that you can invite adventure into your own home for less than the cost of a coffee and cake, or a couple of pints.

So, alongside our weekly watchlists of free online content, the ShAFF team are revisiting the past few festivals and listing the best on-demand adventure films for your indoor inspiration and entertainment. These ones featured in ShAFF 2019: 



A fascinating film that challenges preconceptions and gives glimpses into a country and culture I know very little about.

Anna Paxton

The film follows the 45-year old Swedish woman, Kristina Paltén, before, during and after her lone run across Iran. Kristina ran 1144 miles during 58 days with the purpose to challenge her own prejudices against a country, a culture and people she had never previously been in contact with and knew little about. She wanted to explore what a muslim country meant to a lone woman running across an entire country. Prior to her trip she had been told she would be raped, murdered and kidnapped by her friends and family. Kristina chose to run in Iran as a way to challenge her own prejudices against the country. Prior to her adventure, all she knew about Iran was what she learned from Western media coverage. She planned a running route but other then that nothing was planned or organized. She was to be completely vulnerable and dependent on the people she met along her way for finding somewhere to sleep and food. “Today I feel like ‘Muslim’ has become synonymous with ‘terrorist’ or ‘fundamentalist’. There are around 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, and I’m guessing most of them are really nice. With this run I want to question my own prejudices, learn more about a culture I know little about and meet a lot of people. I hope my run will contribute to more openness, trust and tolerance both within myself but also in the world.” During her run Kristina confronts her internal conflict between her very human need and desire to trust people she meets and her inflicted fear for the unknown. Much of the film is based on Kristina’s own footage as our cameraman was with her only 8 out of a total 58 days in order for Kristina to be completely alone.

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Watch this movie! Friendship, determination, hilarity, mud, mud, mud

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

What happens when a bike tour of a lifetime doesn't go exactly to plan? The result is a refreshingly honest documentary, which warmly welcomes you in as you become fully immersed in its detours, dangers and dreams. An uplifting fun celebration of friendship and freedom. A definite must see!

Ruth Farrar

Yes girls love this film and how the trip tern out. Is it all about winning what do you think?

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Sometimes in life things don’t go to plan, and they definitely don’t for Rickie Cotter and Leigh Cragie as they take on the Tour Divide race. Never mind, because they write their own story, and I recommend you go along for the ride.

Anna Paxton

Glorious, heartwarming and challenging bike packing movie. Really well put together, hug,y fun and very inspiring.

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

This is the story of two mountain bike racers who happen to be women who raced from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border on the Tour Divide. The film is entirely self shot while these racers rode an average of 120 miles off-road per day and slept for 4 hours a night by the side of the trail. It's a very raw and real portrayal of the places we go emotionally under extreme duress and was made with the intention of inspiring other people (especially women and girls) to challenge themselves greatly

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A top top top running adventure! Incredible characters. what a (painful) Laugh.

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

The Berghaus Dragons Back Race is the hardest 5 day mountain race in the world! Therefore when I found out that my friend, Huw Jack Brassington (one of the craziest people I know), was planning on running it, I knew that this was going to be a great opportunity for me to make my first Documentary. 

 Having not achieved a commission in time for the start of the race, I almost had to give up on the project. But instead I came to an agreement with the race organisers that I would work for them filming the race, in exchange I would get access to additional footage. As it turned out I am so glad that I persevered with the project as I got to witness the most determined human being that I've ever met push himself to his very limit, both physically and mentally! 

Whilst traversing the spectacular mountains of Wales Huw Jack Brassington had to contend with the surprisingly hot Welsh weather, injury and the ever looming possibility of failure - which is a word that had hardly ever entered his mind before. This amazing journey, mixed in with Huw's unique sense of humour, and his glass half full attitude were the perfect ingredients for an amazing story. 

If the audience, whilst watching this documentary, feel a fraction of the inspiration that I felt when shooting it then I will have succeeded in what I set out on achieving.

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An elegant depiction of loss and gain in sport and life.

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

I felt a lot of empathy for Steve, it’s a big thing to open up and share the experience of losing his sight. He’s and incredible athlete who wants to inspire others, and I’m sure he will.

Anna Paxton

In 2011 Steve Bate was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a severe form of tunnel vision that is slowly robbing him of his sight. At the age of 34, Steve was forced to give up his dream of becoming a mountain guide, lost his driving licence and was registered disabled through visual impairment. Focus documents Steve’s life since his diagnosis, exploring how the knowledge that his sight could disappear entirely at any moment has affected his outlook on life. The burden of blindness has manifested into an almost obsessive drive to achieve his ambitious dreams, from attempting to solo El Capitan to cycling in the 2016 Paralympic Games. The film follows Steve as he participates in the Rovaniemi 150, a gruelling self-supported fat bike race through the Arctic tundra of Finnish Lapland, where temperatures can drop below -35°C and 80% of participants don't make it to the finish line. With the long hours of darkness testing his limited eyesight even further the race gives Steve one of his greatest challenges to date.

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This is a mental challenge. Stay strong dont slip up

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Denver BASE jumper Danny Weiland confronts the emotional toll of his friends' deaths by gearing up to reclaim the World Record for most human-powered BASE jumps in a 24 hour period. Unassisted by machines or vehicles, Danny will attempt to jump off of the Perrine Bridge in Idaho over 60 times and then climb the 486 feet back out of the canyon all on his own, including over near-vertical sections of cliff where a wrong move could be fatal. The sheer number of jumps needed to break the record means that he must climb more vertical feet than the summit of Mount Everest – from sea level – all in a single day. While it's a brutal test of skill, commitment and mental fortitude, Danny also sees the challenge as a way to overcome his crippling grief in the wake of his friends' deaths. He says that for him, the way out of that darkness was to set a goal that demanded his entire being. As Danny completes his final preparations before heading out for the most grueling 24 hours of his life, he says, "I will be a different person when this is over. It's like a snake shedding its skin, and that's what's exciting." 

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From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comes FREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock ... the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park ... without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement.

FREE SOLO is an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence. As the climber begins his training, the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly breaks apart when Honnold begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold, as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. The result is a triumph of the human spirit that represents what The New York Times calls "a miraculous opportunity for the rest of us to experience the human sublime."



Duse all sport need comparison? Is the rock a big enough rival in itself?

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

In an era where searching out and developing new routes seems uncomfortably out of vogue: all is not lost as we meet Anna Taylor. This remarkable Lakes-based 20 year old is bucking all the tends with stunning new sport routes and bold traditional lines. Including a nervy introduction to Deep Water Soloing by climbing partner Neil Gresham, we face all the challenges and difficulties along with Anna on her journey to one of the great unclimbed lines.

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This is real life and death crusade. Quite possibly the most life-threatening in the festival. It my not be above 6000m elevation it my not be -60 but my god it demands respect.

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Five men take on an incredible journey, to cycle from the lowest point to the highest In Australia, more than 2000km. They also happen to have serious disabilities, and although that’s just part of their story, their honesty and openness in the face of their challenge makes this an engaging film.

Anna Paxton

Through the boundless landscape of Australia, five friends attempt to be the first to cycle 2150km from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre - a vast salt lake in the central desert 15 metres below sea level - to the snow-capped summit of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia. What is a sensational effort for an able-bodied rider may well have been the ultimate challenge for Walter Van Praag with 35% lung function (due to Cystic Fibrosis), Daniel Kojta who is paraplegic and uses a hand-cycle, and Conrad Wansbrough who suffers from a debilitating spinal injury. What is a steady and manageable hill climb to the summit of Kosciuszko for some, was a monumental achievement for Paul Pritchard with half a working body (due to Hemiplegia). To get there, Paul rode a custom built tandem-recumbent-trike with Duncan Meerding, who has 5% remaining vision, although that didn’t stop him from pushing the trike along some of the steepest and roughest parts of the road. Accompanied by a romping great soundtrack, the riders travel through stunning and varied Australian landscapes, cruising past road critters and through clouds of dust kicked up by the onslaught of passing road trains, recuperating in riverside campsites and seeking bike repair shops along the way. The documentary captures the banter, the hardship & remarkable determination they have to complete the journey. " Who hasn’t dreamed of doing something extraordinary? Being disabled does not mean you are unable. Everyone needs help sometimes and by helping each other on the ride, we will show that with a little help, everyone - disabled or not, is capable of extraordinary things. ” (Paul Pritchard)

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A great feature for bikers!

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

That location, that remote and those rides you know there going to send it.

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Hidden among the glaciers high in the Arctic Circle are mountain bike lines too incredible to ignore. Harsh temperatures, volatile weather and nine-month winters mean the area is normally devoid of human life.

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The film where Alex Honnold actually shows fear while climbing. I’m not surprised, check out that Antarctic rock!

Anna Paxton

Antarctica climbing trip with all the big names in climbing

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

A dream team of six elite climbers mount an expedition to one of the world's last great climbing frontiers: the remote frozen towers of Antarctica. Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker tackle a new route on the 3,600foot Ulvetanna; Savannah Cummins and Anna Pfaff summit the towering Holtanna; and Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright make a harrowing and hilarious blitz of 13 different spires spread across the ice field, including one pitch that Honnold calls "the scariest I have ever led." Queen Maud Land the name of this icy region showcases a stunning, rarely visited wilderness, and the suffering and vision needed to climb at the bottom of the world.

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So much to learn in this epic adventure.

Elise Wicker

If this doesn’t embody the spirit of adventure nothing does! Amazing to have the skill not only to survive this journey, but to carry 15kg of camera equipment and shoot and edit the whole adventure.

Anna Paxton

🇦🇺🐊🐍🦎☠️?

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Could you escape alone across hundreds of kilometres of remote outback for a whole month, trekking and sailing on a makeshift raft, with nothing but a time capsule of antique stuff from 1932? Mike wasn’t sure either! But that’s what he tried to do with no backup crew or two-way communications with the outside world, hoping his skills as a survival instructor, adventurer and military pilot would help him survive long enough to traverse the most stunning landscape in Australia. 100% self-filmed with action cameras and drones this epic modern day adventure places Mike in the historic predicament of two stranded German aviators who survived 43 days before being rescued on the brink of death by local Aboriginal people. Action, drama, humour and crocodiles handled in a very Australian way! Mike’s epic footage and images have aired on prime-time news, current affairs, newspapers and Australian Geographic Magazine, but up until now the full story hasn’t been told......

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Jolly nice Ozzie cycling movie. Very relaxing literary adventure fun

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

More adventures should be inspired by books! An entertaining and surprisingly profound watch

Elise Wicker

A really unique adventure and film. The American folk they met along the way are amazing, you couldn’t make them up!

Anna Paxton

The Bikes of Wrath tells the story of five Australian friends as they attempt to cycle 2600 kilometers from Sallisaw, Oklahoma, to Bakersfield, California in honor of the mighty westward migration undertaken by ‘The Grapes of Wrath’s’ Joad family. With an inordinate amount of self-belief, the cyclists set-off on their 30-day adventure with no training, no support vehicle, and as one member puts it best, ‘no real idea’. Burdened with trailers, musical instruments, and camera equipment, the group set themselves the additional challenge of surviving on $420 (the modern-day equivalent of the Joads’ $18 in the 1930s) and whatever their musical performances can yield. Riding 90 kilometers a day, the journey along America’s iconic route 66 takes them from the farmlands of Oklahoma to the blistering Mojave desert and countless places in-between; the diversity of landscapes only matched by the assortment of characters met along the way. It is through these chance encounters with everyday Americans that the cyclists expand on the novel’s central themes: migration, inequality and the perceived land of opportunity. The group explores whether America has progressed since the book was written, discussing the wealth gap, immigration, and the American Dream. These vastly different small-town characters quickly become the central focus of the series, as well as integral to the groups’ success; letting the cyclists into their homes, lives, and demonstrating the startling parallels of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ seventy-eight years after its publication. The Bikes of Wrath seven-part series uncovers a deep insight into the human spirit and shines a positive light on America at a time when the world needs it most; all rolled into a unique, funny and life-affirming observational documentary series filled with adventure, literature, music, and human connection.

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A huge achievement from the Reel Rock team, some real intimacy as well as achievement,

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

Hey two men climbed the sheer face of El Capitan in Yosemite. With a stupendously dramatic and fascinating back story that you will never guess when you sit down to watch. Vastly better than most films of its type.

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

It's the film that keeps on giving! Just when you think you've come close to understand the reasons behind Danny's determination, there's more on offer. An absolute must-see on the big screen.

Elise Wicker

In January, 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention. But for Tommy Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was much more than just a climb. It was the culmination of a lifetime defined by overcoming obstacles. At the age of 22, the climbing prodigy was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan. Shortly after, he lost his index finger in an accident, but resolved to come back stronger. When his marriage fell apart, he escaped the pain by fixating on the extraordinary goal of free climbing the Dawn Wall. Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and his partner Jorgeson spend six years meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell is faced with a moment of truth. Should he abandon his partner to fulfill his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship?

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The Undamaged explores plans to dam rivers across the Balkans, and the reaction of locals who feel powerless to prevent irreparable damage to their land and livelihoods. It seems that that the interests of capitalism and nature are stranded on opposite sides of the river. Somewhere between utter beauty and utter destruction lies the truth - people have to find a way to survive with the resources nature provides.

Anna Paxton

The Balkan Peninsula cradles Europe's last free flowing rivers and supports abundant, diverse and endemic wildlife. These rivers are The Undamaged - wild, pristine and undammed. However, they are under threat of an unprecedented dam craze from private hydro power companies. Over 2,700 small and large hydropower plants are planned to be built, (or are already under construction) in the Balkans; 535 in strictly protected areas and 113 dams inside 14 National Parks. Follow the Balkan Rivers Tour, a crew of whitewater kayakers, filmers, photographers, and friends who decided to stand up for their river! They traveled the Balkans for 39 days, kayaking 23 rivers in 6 countries and organising 11 events. The journey ends with an emotionally-charged and exciting protest in front of the Albanian Prime Minister’s headquarters, demanding the Albanian Government to stop all dam plans on the Vjosa River. With a total of 500 paddlers and more than 1,500 protesters from 18 nations, Balkan Rivers Tour was the biggest river conservation action in Europe to date. The international media attention the tour generated presented the issue of dams to a wide range of people across the Balkans, Europe and the world, exposing the often illegal and underground concessions and construction of dams. The crew paddled through canyons and river valleys that seldom see people, connecting with locals who lead traditional lives, dependant on these rivers. The film introduces the issue of dam in the Balkans and sheds light on other battles for rivers around the world, focusing on the success and inspiration of the the Franklin River Blockade, which took place on the Franklin and Gordon rivers in Tasmania, between the years 1981-1983. Follow this journey of exploration, discovery and resistance and the community that has been created by small pockets of people resisting dams across the Balkans. The Undamaged will leave people with the motivation to act, the courage to stand up to injustice in their world, and the inspiration that it can be effective while being fun.

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“My name’s Damian. I’m British. I’m 42. I live in the Cotswolds. I’m an outdoor journalist. I’m having a mid-life crisis, and that means I like to run ultramarathons, and I’ve got a UTMB problem…. It’s got 10,000 metres of climb–Everest is eight-and-a-half thousand metres. To be top 10 at UTMB® –that, to me, is the dream. The runners I’m against are mostly full-time, they’re younger than me, a lot of them live and train in the mountains. Realistically the pedigree of the other runners… it’s unlikely, most people would say. So I just want to give my best effort. I do want to be in the top 10. There are lots of things against me. But it gives me an underdog spirit.”



A great, quirky depiction of life on the wall.

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

What's more important? Climbing to the top or remembering to take a photo documenting the climb to the top? A very funny creative animation poking fun at the trials and tribulations of a pair of climbers on a mission to climb the highest mountain.

Ruth Farrar

A fun and quirky animation about two climbing partners attempting to climb their highest mountain yet.

Anna Paxton

When it come to climbing problems this can be laborious and painstaking pursuit now imagine doing that as a stop motion animation. A funny fun climbing film.

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Marcel and Andrezj are a legendary pair of mountaineers. They have been the first ones to conquer the highest and hardest peaks. Despite their different temperaments, they make a great team. Marcel has taken the lead and popularity, whereas Andrezj always plays a secondary role. Now they face the biggest challenge: reaching the virgin summit of the highest mountain. In order to achieve this, they will have to overcome formidable obstacles, suffer hardships and stand each other for a long time. But Andrezj is no longer willing to continue in Marcel’s shadow.

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