5th Dec 2011


Sheffield Adventure Film Festival Director & film programmer Matt Heason has been downloading a massive 10GB of film a day in the run-up to the film submission deadline on 1st December.  He now has a record breaking 226 films to choose from - even more than last year’s 200 entries. 

This year’s crop of potential films will be whittled down to a final programme of around 60 films shown alongside lectures and competitions over an epic weekend (9-11 March) at Sheffield’s independent Showroom Cinema
(The programme will be announced in the New Year)

ShAFF takes place at the end of the winter season.  Traditionally other festivals like Kendal and Banff are held during the winter months, meaning Sheffield has a wider pool of films to choose from.  The judges award prizes in categories including Best Film, Best Adventure Film and Best Spirit of Adventure Film.  This year Matt’s introduced a new category ‘Best Viral’ to reflect the surging popularity and quality of shorts posted on You Tube and Vimeo.

Matt Heason says:  “It’s unbelieveable.  The entries get stronger and stronger every year.  The very best films have always been of a high standard.  What’s improved dramatically is the overall quality of entries.  I think it’s down to three factors:  more affordable equipment, video sharing and social networking, as well as the huge growth in the popularity of adventure sports which are no longer the preserve of elite sponsored athletes.  Nowadays anyone can strap on a head cam and get out on a bike with their mates and produce a decent quality film.  It’s actually now rare to watch a poor submission, whereas four or five years ago you’d be lucky to be happy with 50 films from 200. It also means visitors to the festival are getting better value for their money than ever before.”  

“It’s a huge job but I love it.  It’s a mammoth task just dealing with entries, liaising with film-makers and downloading 10GB of film a day.  I’ve now got a backlog of films to watch which will take me well into December before the final decisions are made.  Then comes the painstaking job of programming the finalists into two hour screenings of films which complement each other like ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Adventure Medley’ and the child-friendly ‘Young Adventurers’  as well as sports-specific screenings like Biking, Climbing and Ski and Board.  I can say that the ski films this year are particularly strong – so much so that we’re considering some sort of ‘Ski Week’, perhaps in the run up to the festival.”

It’s not just about films.  ShAFF has a host of other activities planned including a quality line up of speakers, the ever-popular second hand kit sale, the Arc’Teryx Adventure Shot photo competition with Niall Grimes and Ian Parnell, a brand new charity auction on behalf of Community Action Nepal, more live music than ever before and plenty more besides.

It’s the same weekend as the Climbing Works International Masters. Still to be confirmed is the second running of the Steel City Downhill, and South Yorkshire Orienteers are discussing the potential for a city-centre based event that weekend turning Sheffield into a real ‘City Of Adventure’.

Click here to download pdf version of this release
- ShAFF is the weekend of 9-11 March 2012 ( at the art deco Sheffield Showroom cinema - the UK’s biggest independent cinema outside London.  (15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX / tel 0114 275 7727 or book online at

- There are also Best Of ShAFF 2011 (Dec 8th) and Classics (Jan 19th) evening screenings at the Showroom.

- Film screenings are mixed in with talks and lectures on epic climbs, runs and rides by world-class adventurers. 

- It’s great value - one ticket buys you a multi-film screening so you can see several films in one hit.  Passionate about your sport?  Then try our specialist selections.  Want a high energy hit?  Then book our Adrenaline showing.  Fancy inspiration and escapism?  Try the Adventure Medley.
- For a family friendly weekend try our morning Young Adventurer showings were both sell outs last year so this year we’ll also have afternoon matinees with urban orienteering afterwards.

- Chill out in the bar/cafe between screenings with live music, comfy-seating and free wifi.  During the day grab a light lunch and coffee with friends and in the evenings, book dinner made by experienced chefs with fresh, local produce.   Why not try the great selection of on tap or bottled beers, wines and ciders - not forgetting the awesome cake cabinet!

- Getting there’s easy - We’re just across the road from the mainline train station with regular services to the Peak District, Manchester and the UK, there are also local buses, trams and a plenty of nearby car-parks. 

- We’re growing in the face of a global recession.  Now in its 7th year, for the past six years 100% of the audience said they’d come back again and recommend it to a friend.  ShAFF 2011 was our best ever year with a 77% increase in ticket sales, an amazing film programme and a packed series of lectures including the legendary Steve Peat.

If you genuinely can’t wait for your adventure film fix, check out the Heason Events Facebook page for a Daily Adventure Dose  Follow us on twitter at @HeasonEvents and @Heason_Lissa #dailyadventuredose #shaff