Highly anticipated documentary film about extreme skier and base jumper to premiere at the Wavescape Surf Film Festival this weekend

Highly anticipated documentary film about extreme skier and base jumper to premiere at the Wavescape Surf Film Festival this weekend

After a very successful opening at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York earlier this year, the highly anticipated release of the feature-length documentary film, McConkey, will premiere for the first time in South Africa this weekend at the Wavescape Film Festival at the Labia Theatre on Orange Street in Cape Town at 20h00.

The film is about Canadian born extreme skier Shane McConkey and follows him from growing up as the son of Jim McConkey, who was known as the father of extreme skiing, to his days as a professional freeskier and then his death.

Shane McConkey

On March 26, 2009, Shane McConkey died while skiing in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. After performing a double back flip, McConkey intended to glide away in his wingsuit, “a stunt he’s executed a number of times”, according to a statement from Matchstick Productions, the company whose films McConkey often starred in. But McConkey struggled to release his skis. By the time he got them off, he had been free-falling for 12 seconds and was too close to the ground for his wingsuit or parachute to do him any good. His parachute did not malfunction; it was never deployed. He died on the scene. The film features interviews from notable athletes and friends of Shane such as JT Holmes, Tony Hawk and Travis Pastrana.

Produced by Red Bull Media House, in association with Matchstick Productions, and directed by Murray Wais, Steve Winter, Scott Gaffney, David Zieff and Rob Bruce, McConkey celebrates the life of one of the world’s ultimate innovators: Shane McConkey. Featuring incredible action footage and Shane’s own home videos, McConkey offers a rare look at his most intense risks as well as an intimate portrait of his personal life.

McConkey is the latest of eight films released in the last two years by Red Bull Media House and follows the media company’s most successful release to-date, The Art of Flight, which is the most viewed, celebrated, and commercially successful snowboard film in history.

This film is one of the 32 epic films from around the world, which are currently playing at the Labia and were recently screened at the Brass Bell and on Clifton beach as part of the Wavescape Festival, which kicked off on 27 November and runs until 16 December. The Festival is sponsored by Pick n Pay and supported by the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), WWF’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), Jack Black Beer, and glacéau vitaminwater.

Two films – Berg Boys and Kushaya Igagasi – track the progress of street kids in Muizenberg and Durban respectively showing how the simple act of surfing can have a profound effect on people’s lives. Salt Trail, a movie by South African Mark Water, depicts a surf trip to the pristine waves of Indonesia, while the eccentric Sleepy Sun takes a quirky look at some of Cape Town’s top underground surfer crew as they tackle the thumping surf of Boland and the West Coast. Short film Dungeons covers a day at South Africa’s scariest big wave reef featuring big wave surfers.

Wavescape has produced three short films, one showing the top entries for a short film contest called Shortcuts, presented by BOS and GoPro, and the other two mini-documentaries with interviews of artists in the Wavescape Art Board Project.

Other films are Alaska Sessions, about a surf trip in the dark of winter; The Old, the Young and the Sea, about the European surf and cultural experience; and Learning to Breathe, a documentary featuring a drug addict surfer from California. The stunning snow skiing film Into the Mind, set amongst the most majestic mountain ranges of the planet.

Sustainable seas and ocean activism have been trademark themes at Wavescape. The film Revolution brings home powerful messages that include research that shows that the Earth’s ability to house humans is diminishing due to ocean acidification and marine species loss.

Kicking off this year’s festival was a week-long art board exhibition of 11 of South Africa’s most talented artists who donated their time to creating a unique work of art either on a surf board or in the form of a surf board. The exhibition culminated in a charity auction on 4 December at Suprette in Woodstock where R210 000 was raised for the festival’s beneficiaries: NSRI, Shark Spotters and the Isiqalo Foundation. Brett Murray’s board itself raised R55 000, the highest selling board the festival has seen to date.

The Wavescape Fish Fry, a new event to the festival’s line up, took place at the Bluebird Garage Market in Muizenberg on Saturday, 30 November. Ocean conservation and fish sustainability was the theme for the day. This was highlighted through a ‘braai off’ with two of the Ultimate Braai Master teams, namely Rust and Dust and Smoke, Sweat and Tears who showed festival goers just easy and delicious it is to cook with locally caught sustainable fish. Various well-known local surf board artists and shapers also got the chance to show off their talent and wears, and local surfers could bring their old surf boards in to swop or sell. Various prizes were auctioned off to further raise funds and overall the day was a huge success.

The first film screening treated festival goers to a night under the stars at Clifton beach on Saturday, 7 December. More than 3500 people enjoyed ideal weather conditions and were entertained by four enthralling films, including SA surfer, Jordy Smith’s latest short film, ‘Now Now’.

Festival co-director Ross Frylinck said that “The festival was born from a love of surfing and surf culture, and the simple idea of sharing these good feelings with our audience. Ten years on, we present film, music and art events in South Africa, Reunion & New York, with the aim of having fun, building community and promoting ocean conservation.”

For more information, visit http://www.wavescapefestival.com