Women in adventure sports will take centre stage at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (March 20-22) with organisers encouraging more women filmmakers and athletes to submit films to this year’s festival as well as running a film competition, photography exhibition, photography competition; and hosting panel discussion and forum on whether we’re starting to see a shift towards seeing equal numbers of women in adventure sports on the big screen, behind the camera and in the audience.

ShAFF organisers have teamed up with the British Mountaineering Council’s film channel BMC TV, WomenClimb blog, the Sport Is Beautiful campaign (celebrating women’s sport through photography and film), camera bag manufacturer Lowepro and outdoor news website MyOutdoors.co.uk.

• 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.

• 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 MyOutdoors.co.uk of adventure photographs taken by female photographers and/or featuring female athletes.

• 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.

• ShAFF Fringe ‘Women In Adventure’ Forum discussing how to increase women’s participation both in front and behind the camera.

• A target of 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.

Mina Leslie Wujastyk in Project Mina, directed by Jen Randall (part of the Brit Rock Film Tour)

Mina Leslie Wujastyk in Project Mina, directed by Jen Randall (part of the Brit Rock Film Tour)

Climber Mina Leslie-Wujastyk said, “The  Women in Mountain Adventure Film competition is a brilliant and exciting opportunity to showcase female adventures as well as film making. Having worked recently with Jen Randall on a documentary project, I am totally inspired by her skills and I would love to see more women follow in her filming footsteps. Women are doing great things every day, let’s show the world how impressive we are and how creative we can be!”

Nicola Underdown from the BMC’s Equity Steering Group said, “Even as a weekend warrior, I know how much inspiration I get from knowing women of all ages and backgrounds are getting outside and having adventures in the mountains. The BMC is determined to show that mountain adventure can be for everybody, so I’m passionate about encouraging women to share what they’re doing, to provide role models for us all.”

Sheffield Adventure Film Festival PR Lissa Cook said, “Over the past couple of years ShAFF has been criticised for the lack of women on the big screen and in our trailer.  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.  Only a fifth of last year’s films were either made by or featured women and sadly none of those were suitable for our Young Adventurers’ screenings.  On the other hand, it’s simply not good enough.”

“We’re delighted to be working with partners like the BMC, WomenClimb, Sport Is Beautiful, Lowepro and MyOutdoors to raise the profile of women in adventure sport.    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 in the same way we do with local Peak District film producers and photographers.”  Read Lissa’s blog on ShAFF and Women in Adventure Sport http://www.shaff.co.uk/news-and-press/2014/11/05/Women_In_Adventure_Take_Centre_Stage_At_SHAFF_2015/

Sheffield Adventure Film Festival Director Matt Heason said, “I’m optimistic that the tide is finally turning.  Submissions haven’t closed yet but my initial impression is that we’re getting more submissions of films featuring women and I’m actively sourcing more.  Last month’s Buxton Adventure Festival statistics were encouraging with a 45% female / 55% male audience split which means more women are coming and see our films and hear our speakers.  We hope this year’s ShAFF will prove to be a tipping point towards equality in adventure sports.”


Notes to Editors:

• Enter the BMC Women In Mountain Adventure Film competition: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/women-in-mountain-adventure-films-competition or email Nicola Underdown at the BMC (underdownnj@gmail.com) or Emily Pitts at WomenClimb (hello@womenclimb.co.uk)

• To be considered for the Lowepro Women in Adventure Photography Exhibition, please contact Dave Mycroft at shafffringe@myoutdoors.co.uk

• 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 1st November, closes 1st February.  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 March 1st.  This year’s panel of professional judges will be announced soon.

• If you’d like to get involved and be part of our Women In Adventure Sport network of partners, filmmakers, photographers, ShAFF athlete ambassadors, please email lissa@heason.net or tweet @Heason_Lissa.

• For ShAFF film submissions contact matt@heason.net  (Deadline is 1st December, but we have some room for flexibility if you have a project that will not be completed in time).

• To find out more about the Sport Is Beautiful project please contact DanielleSellwood@icloud.com or follow on twitter: @Sport_Beautiful

• Article for Sport Sister on lack of women in adventure sports http://www.sportsister.com/2013/04/05/discussion-lack-of-women-in-adventure-sports-films/ and http://www.sportsister.com/2014/03/31/have-your-say-unfair-critisism-over-attractive-female-adventurers/

• Watch Women’s Climbing Symposium film on BMC TV http://tv.thebmc.co.uk/video/womens-climbing-symposium-2014



Mina Leslie Wujastyk in Project Mina, directed by Jen Randall (part of the Brit Rock Film Tour);


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