For the last 3 years I've bookmarked my favourite adventurous Youtube clips and advertised the playlist via UKClimbing. This year I've decided to turn the playlist into something more of a video-article with comments about the films. I hope that this Top Ten will entertain those who read it, and encourage some of you to come along to ShAFF to watch the films on a big screen, in High Definition, with a big sound system, and alongside an audience, all things that Youtube and Vimeo can't give you...
1. First up it's got to be the outrageously popular Danny McAskill video. Granted, it's a pretty spectacular short film, but I've seen others as impressive, but this one went absolutely ballistic when it hit Youtube on April 19th last year last year. With over 15,000,000 - yes, that's FIFTEEN MILLION, it has to be one of the most successful extreme films of all time. It's so successful that I've been trying to track Danny down since about April 25th, but haven't managed to speak to him yet. He's reportedly all over the world on chat shows, performing at events, and generally lapping up the limelight and hopefully making a little savings for himself whilst it lasts.
2. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Anybody whose ever put on a pair of skis must have thought about it when on an escalator. Well, if you've thought about it there's a good chance somebody's been and done it, and these days, there's an even better chance that there was somebody there with a video camera to capture the action. Skiing down an escalator - it beats kayaking down a dam one of last year's highlights). And not just any escalator, but they had to choose the longest one in Europe...
3.This next one's already hit various forums a fair few times from what I can gather, so won't be new to everybody. But it's watchable again and again. An Indian guy quite literally monkeying around some old temple like a character from a cartoon. It just goes to show that there's talent all over the world. You don't see many Indian climbers in IFSC competitions, but that's not to say that there aren't individuals who might turn a few heads one day when they do.
4. I can't decide whether this guy was lucky or unlucky. Very lucky to survive, but unlucky to have taken the line that he took. Very lucky to be travelling so fast that he cleared so much distance and landed where he did. The commentary tells a great parallel story to the skiers actions: that the skier looked and sounded like he wasn't quite all there. Perhaps he was hungover. Perhaps he wasn't lucky or unlucky, but he knew all along what he was about to do, and didn't let on to the cameraman and the rest of the team, which would explain his vagueness. Whatever he was, he was very, very impressive. If you like watching big falls, then check out the film ‘Palouse Falls' at ShAFF. It features a guy kayaking off a 57m waterfall! It's not on Youtube...
5. Back to the ridiculous this time. It's not a politically correct term, but type in ‘redneck' to the Youtube search engine and there's some mind-bogglingly silly people out there. This was a favourite of mine, demonstrating that you don't need to limit yourself to vertical bungee jumping! An engineer friend of mine tells me that this young lady was incredibly lucky not to hit the ground at some point in her ‘oscillations'!
6. I particularly liked this film, showcasing the incredible talent of the young Czech climber Adam Ondra. Adam is fairly regularly hitting climbing headlines with his quick and seemingly effortless ascents of the world's hardest sport routes. He's no slouch when it comes to competition climbing either it seems. This video shows fellow competitors Patxi Usobiaga (who, incidentally, in the film Progression, admits to training every day for three whole months!) and Manuel Romain, who came 2nd and 3rd in the competition, climbing side by side. What gets me is the speed with which Ondra assesses each move and executes it. He reaches the top minutes ahead of the others in a truly awesome display of on-sight climbing.
7. Health and safety rules are clearly very, very different in Mexico to here in the UK! Not only do the bikers come perilously close to the spectators, but at one point this urban downhill course goes right through somebody's house! Sheffield's own Steve Peat is a bit of a master when it comes not just to downhill races, but also urban races like this one. He's won the one in Lisbon, Portugal for the last 7 years now...
8. Project Megawoosh was another of the big viral ad campaigns of the year. Versions of the film popped up all over the net and people were initially agog at the stunt they'd just watched. Internet chatter quickly followed and opinion was divided as to whether it was real or a fake. We've managed to get hold of a 5 minute version of the film from the makers, and will be screening it at ShAFF. It doesn't directly answer the question as to whether or not it is fake, but goes some way towards doing so.
9. A sweet little number as my penultimate pick, rather reminiscent of ‘Climber' by Carlos Villareal which screened at ShAFF 2009. It's an animated film about a comical polar bear with a perchance for ice climbing.
10. And last, but not least, here's the trailer for ShAFF 2010. Last year we paid award winning filmmaker Alastair Lee to produce the festival trailer, and a great job he did too. This year we reckon he's outdone himself. Hope to see some of you at the festival for the real deal.
11. In the spirit of ‘This Is Spinal Tap' here's a bonus one for you. If you ever see a big avalanche just remember that somebody, somewhere will probably have seen a bigger one and caught it on camera...
Below are the links to all the trailers for films showing at ShAFF 2010:
Africa Revolutions Tour: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/289/africa-revolutions-tour
Asgard Jamming: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/287/asgard-jamming
Birdman Of The Karakoram: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/293/birdman-of-the-karakorum
Cable To The Sky: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/330/cable-to-the-sky
Catching Reality: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/296/catching-reality
Free Tibet Expedition: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/301/free-tibet-expedition
Gery Berwick: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/303/gerty-berwick
Into The sky: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/332/into-the-sky
Kranked - Revolve: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/305/kranked-revolve-11
Lives Of The Artists: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/334/lives-of-the-artists
Means Of Production: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/308/means-of-production
Mustang - A Journey Of Transformation: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/335/mustang-a-journey-of-transformation
One Crazy Ride: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/337/one-crazy-ride
Project Megawoosh: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/312/project-megawoosh
Rio Breaks: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/338/rio-breaks
Single Handed: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/317/single-handed
Surfing 50 States: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/318/surfing-50-states
Take A Seat: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/319/take-a-seat
The Asgard Project: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/322/the-asgard-project
Welsh Connections: http://www.shaff.co.uk/films/327/welsh-connections
The Sheffield Adventure Film Festival
March 12-14 2010-02-08 The Showroom Cinema, Sheffield