Mountain festival sell-out at Aoraki

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by Greta Yeoman

The successful debut of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Aoraki Mt Cook has left the organiser “very pleased”.

New Zealand Alpine Club member Pip Walter said the “sellout” screening at Queen’s Birthday weekend had gone well.

The film festival was held in the 126-seat cinema at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre in the Aoraki Mt Cook Village.

Ms Walter, who manages the club’s Unwin Lodge in the village, said she had received about 30 last-minute inquiries about tickets.

She was grateful with how businesses in the village got behind the debut screening, including the Hermitage, which provided the venue free of charge.

All New Zealand screenings of films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is held in Canada before touring the world, are organised by various branches of the New Zealand Alpine Club as a fundraiser.

As the South Canterbury branch was already receiving funds from one of the Christchurch screenings, the North Otago club would get the funds raised at Mt Cook, being put towards crash mats for its climbing walls, Ms Walter said.

The mix of mountain films had provided an evening of entertainment for Aoraki residents at the end of the tourist season and also attracted out-of-towners from places including North Otago, Christchurch and Twizel, she said.

A group from Central Lakes had even travelled to see the films after missing on the Queenstown screenings.

Ms Walter said because of the popularity of the debut event and the number of people who had wanted tickets but missed out, the festival would “definitely” return next year.

“[We] might even do a second screening.”