Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congratulations Manchester United!

Bet you didn't expect to hear that coming from a Leeds fan eh?
Well whatever, I watched perhaps the most exciting European Cup Final match of modern times last night, and loath though I am to admit it, the best side won. They were only just the best side though, by a whisker, but I felt they deserved it.

High points and low points?

Ryan Giggs, whom I've always admired, breaking professional misery-guts Bobby Charlton's club record number of appearances, when he came on late as a sub. Nice one Giggsy. If only you'd been English instead of Welsh, what might have been...sigh...

Didier Drogba blaming everyone but himself, every time he cocked up, and typically play acting outrageously, feigning agony every time someone made a bit of physical contact with him. This from a huge man, built like an oak tree.

John Terry's heartbreak at losing Chelsea the match when he slipped and blew his penalty. I felt genuinely sorry for him.

Carlos Tevez, playing like a terminator, unstoppable and determined, for me the man of the match, for all Ronaldo's flowery skill.

Ronaldo literally dancing round opponents, seemingly touching the ground only fleetingly, as though he weighed no more than a feather. Love him or loathe him, you have to admire him.

Wayne Rooney's anonymity throughout almost the whole game. What's happened to the British Bulldog Chewing a Wasp? Where was he? The boy wonder of Everton and his early ManUre appearances was worryingly (from an England perspective) ineffective.

Joe Cole's head-slapping histrionics when the linesman failed to award the blues a (deserved) corner. Ho ho.

The ManU players applauding the Chelsea players as they trudged up in the belting rain, to collect their loser's medals and crackerjack pencils.

Avram Grant standing in the deluge, hugging a disconsolate John Terry, his suit darkening as the rain soaked into it, looking like a man comforting his own son. Touching.

The mediaeval style crimson and gold painted executive seats, which resembled the sort of throne-like seats rich robber barons and suchlike might have sat on at major jousting tournaments in the 14th century. Roman Abramovich was sitting there.

There were loads more; the certainty that Nicolas Anelka would miss his penalty. You just knew it, as he stepped up to the ball, his body language that of a man who didn't believe in himself.

One last point: when Chelsea, and then Man United, all trooped up to shake hands with Michel Platini and the rest of the UEFA bigwigs, and to collect the trophy in the latter case, there was, strangely and slightly mystifyingly, a young woman, in beautiful national costume, standing in the row of football and Muscovite dignitaries. The players and club officials mounted the platform and shook hands with, hugged or spoke to, every man along the line of suits. The girl stood there, applauding the players, smiling bravely, as every single one of them ignored her completely.

It wasn't as if she was stood at the back, or right at the end; she was right there, prominent in the line-up. Her costume was magnificent, and made more so, flanked as it was by drab, if expensive grey suits. She herself was stunningly beautiful, so much so that the oversized, vulgar trophy that is the European Cup was completely outshone by her proximity. Not one of the players even looked at her, or offered a comment on her fantastic costume, or even acknowledged that she existed. Football eh? It's (still) a man's world.
Of course, the media this morning is predictably full of photos of the players gurning and waving their giant silver phallus at the crowd, but the invisible token girl proudly wearing her national costume can just be seen in this image (below) over on the far left...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Screen YOUR film at ShAFF 2009

Are you a budding or established film-maker who is making films about climbing, caving, mountaineering, surfing, BASE jumping, paragliding, bouldering, snowboarding, parkour, skateboarding, mountain biking, windsurfing, SCUBA diving, mine exploration, skiing, hang-gliding, ice-climbing, exploration, fell running, kayaking or any other activity which might fit under the term 'adventure', then we are looking for you!

If you fit the bill, or you know someone who does, and you think your/their film(s) might be suitable for screening at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival in February 2009, then get in touch with me at and let me know about your film.

For ShAFF 2009, I'm working as film programmer, actively seeking new films to screen at the festival, so I'm interested in any films that might be appropriate, be they 5 minute shorts or hour-long professional documentaries.

The main festival programme features compilations of films, usually up to an hour long, but sometimes longer, often loosely grouped into common themes, such as snow sports, climbing or mountain biking. It makes no odds whether the film is made by a professional production company or one girl and a hand-held camera. What matters is that the film is interesting and/or exciting, has visual impact, hopefully says something or presents something in an original manner, and that the production values (visual and audio) are high enough for public screening on a full size cinema screen (we can determine that when you submit the film).

If you think your film fits the criteria, then don't be shy, get in touch and let's see it! If we decide it's not suitable for the main, ticket-selling programme, there is also a fringe programme where such films are shown in satellite venues for free. At ShAFF 2008, these drew audiences often as large as the main events!

In addition to these film programmes, ShAFF will also be screening a wide selection of the best adventure sports videos from YouTube. If you have a clip or film on YouTube, or have found one you think is good enough in quality and content, then please send us the link! Your help is valuable, and every link or suggestion is greatly appreciated.

For anyone who is interested in submitting a film, please note that we can not afford to pay you for the use of your film. However, there are several prize categories for films screened, to be judged at the festival's end, and your film could be a winner. Aside from that, you also get your film screened at a major adventure film festival, which is pretty cool in itself!

Information for submissions can be found at the useful documents page on the ShAFF website.