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PROGRAM

International Competition

JURY’S COMMENTS
The international film jury have watched and then debated the merits of the 31 films in this year’s competition. It has been an intense, stirring, absorbing and most of all, enjoyable experience, as we worked together and shared our views on natural world as seen through the lenses and imaginations of so many talented film makers and their teams. We would like to thank the UMFF team and especially programme coordinator Billy Choi and our jury coordinator Jeon Sung-Yeon for their support throughout the process. Mostly we would like to thank all the film makers. Here are our decisions.

GRAND PRIZE

The River and the Wall - Ben MASTERS
This film is a journey of discovery into the nature of environment and the nature of human prejudice. Both are full of surprises. Two of the team were illegal immigrants as children. Now they’re making valuable contributions to their country. Apparently empty mountains, forests and plains support a unique bio system of insects, birds and animals that unlike man have no concept of borders. To build a wall along the American/Mexican border will destroy those habitats. But perhaps humans can learn from nature? Creating a joint International Park to protect both sides of the river will be stronger than any wall; unite not divide.

BEST ALPINISM FILM

<Manaslu - Mountain of the Spirit> - Gerald SALMINA

This film presents a simple, excellent depiction of an Alpinist as a person and not a hero and is a vivid portrayal of the life of one of the greatest alpinists of the 20th century through realistic reenactments of the most difficult climbs and perfect editing filled with passion to become a mountaineer, the tension of climbing, agony, and ecstasy.

BEST CLIMBING FILM

<Breath> - Ulises FIERRO

A truly beautiful film communicating psychology by combining the woods, weather, and close-ups of the character’s expressions and captivating the audience to hold their breath, fixated on each delicate movement. The climber treats formidable movements as mental training like a Zen Buddhist trainee and rises to greater heights while the director delves deeper into the human psyche through unique directing.

BEST ADVENTURE AND EXPLORATION FILM

<The Weight of Water> - Michael BROWN

In this hero’s journey without the typical bravado following a blind kayaker attempting one of the world’s most difficult rivers and not knowing when he is being filmed, the director seizes the opportunity and humanizes his subject, revealing Eric’s anxiety and doubts, giving audiences a genuine experience of what it is like to not only conquer a river, but one’s fears.

BEST NATURE AND PEOPLE FILM

<Ága> - Milko LAZAROV

To Nanuk’s parents’ generation, the reindeer is not simply a legend but a real companion and prophet. The cruel, harsh reality as a bitter struggle against nature indicates the conflict between the daughter headed for the diamond mine and her parents’ generation. This film shows restraint in its aesthetics of painting Nanuk’s past, present and future through family relationships and daily life as well as questioning tradition and the modern age.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

Every year, the number of entries increase in the competition section, and this year, a total of 434 films were submitted from 71 countries. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that almost all newly made mountain films from around the globe were entered. Of the 434 entries, 31 films from 20 countries were selected and will be screened under four categories: Alpinism, Climbing, Adventure &Exploration, and Nature &People.

 

The history of climbing Mt. Everest can be seen in The Ascent of Everest, which deals with the first summit of Mount Everest In 1953 and in Mount Everest - The Last Step a film directed by Reinhold Messner himself during his climb without supplemental oxygen, a feat thought to be impossible at the time. Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising shows the courageous women who climb in defiance against discrimination. Craig's Reaction, Hold Fast, and The Weight of Water are films about true adventurists who are passionate about climbing despite physical disabilities. Holoceneis screened for the first time in Ulju, and is a film about traditional mountain skiing produced in Japan. Another very meaningful screening is that of the feature-length version of Night Light, which was a Korean short film created with the support of the 'Ulju Summit'project, which supports the production of Korean mountain films.

 

Aga

Milko LAZAROV

Cielo

Alison MCALPINE

Craig's Reaction

Cameron MAIER

Fine Lines

Dina KHREINO

Manaslu - Mountain of the Spirit

Gerald SALMINA

Queen Maud Land

Taylor KEATING, Cedar WRIGHT

Treeline

Jordan MANLEY

Age of Ondra

Josh LOWELL, Zachary BARR, Peter MORTIMER

Anba, in the Depths of Haiti

Vladimir CELLIER

Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising

Erik OSTERHOLM

Auspice

Elena GOATELLI, Angel Luis Esteban VEGA

Beautiful Idiot

Robb THOMPSON, Harrison MENDEL

Blood Moon

Alastair LEE

Boy Nomad

Niobe THOMPSON

Breath

Ulises FIERRO

Cerro Kishtwar - An Ice Cold Story

Julian ZANKER

Chasing Monsters

Krystle Wright, Toby Pike

Connected

Aleksandra MACIEJCZYK

Hold Fast

Jim AIKMAN

Holocene

WATANABE Yuta

How to Run 100 Miles

Brendan LEONARD, Aidan HALEY, Hilary OLIVER

Mount Everest - The Last Step

Reinhold MESSNER, Hans-peter STAUBER

Night Light

KIM Moo-young

Parasol Peak

Johannes AITZETMUELLER, Jeb HARDWICK

Pin Pam Pou

Lina SCHUTZE, Luis RIZO

Queen without Land

Asgeir Helgestad

Surf the Line

Jeremy FREY

The Ascent of Everest

Antonello PADOVANO

The River and the Wall

Ben Masters

The Weight of Water

Michael BROWN

This Mountain Life

Grant BALDWIN