Women in Adventure 2019: and the awards go to...

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 BMC and Womenclimb Women in Adventure film competition! What a fantastic bunch of inspiring films and what a great way to celebrate them all at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival.

The screening and panel session brought together many of the filmmakers and adventurers who entered films this year. With both the quality and quantity of the submitted films being at an all-time high, each year the competition becomes tougher for our judges to choose the winners of the five awards. So, did your favourites win?

Grand Prize Winner


Aziza – Emma Crome and Matt Pycroft (Coldhouse Productions

Set in the streets of Bou Tharar and the wide, craggy valleys of the lower Atlas in Morocco, this is the story of Aziza Raji who has thrived in the world of ultra-racing. The combination of her ambition, determination, and the loving support of her family has helped her to overcome many social and cultural challenges, and has made her a role model for other up-and-coming athletes in Morocco.

Producer Emma Crome says: “The team here at Coldhouse have decided to donate our winnings to Aziza, who is preparing to run the Marathon Des Sables. For Aziza, entering races is a very expensive process, and she struggles to find sponsorship in Morocco. We hope the money will go a long way in helping her to achieve her running ambitions. So a huge thank you to BMC and the WIA competition, it's such a powerful way of making a difference to people’s lives.”

Most Watched Award and Second Prize

What is Adventure? – Anna Wells

Splitting her time between the French Alps and the Scottish Highlands, adventurer and GB Ice Climbing Team Anna Wells asks us and her peers “What is Adventure?”. This film leaves you uplifted, inspired and smiling. No wonder it was the most watched of the competition, having a whopping 5k views at the time of writing.

Anna said, "When I heard about the competition I was motivated to try and create an uplifting positive film that might inspire people to get outside. I have always loved the idea that adventure is something accessible to everyone, and can take an infinite variety of forms. Asking the question "what is adventure?" opened up a lot of interesting discussions with my friends, and confirmed the idea that Adventure is something out there for us all and it's whatever we want it to be!

I think the competition is a great idea because it motivates women to share their passions. It was the first time I made a short film and I loved it. I loved watching all the entries and felt deeply inspired by all the stories, attitudes and ideas that came through. I was delighted to win the Most Watched Award and come overall Runner Up and I'm excited to make more short films in the future." 

Runner Up

Well Preserved – Justine du Toit (Green Renaissance)

film: “What we’ve learnt through our film making journey, is that there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things around us, all the time. This film happened just by chance, when we noticed a group of women gathering on the beach for their morning swim in the remote Faroe Islands. Their morning swim, although a ritual, seemed to be a new adventure for them, each and every day… an adventure to brave the elements, to nurture friendships, and to remember to be happy in one’s own skin. We are humbled to be awarded the Runner Up position in this festival, and that these women are recognised for their adventurous spirit. We really appreciate the prize money, and every cent will go towards the production of more short stories aimed at highlighting positivity and sharing inspiration.”

Judges Special Mention

Banana Skin – Jessie Leong

Emerging filmmaker Jessie Leong told us what her win means for her, “I'm chuffed to bits with the panel's decision to award me the Judge's Special Mention Award - and honoured to represent the 'spirit' of what the Women in Adventure Competition is about, especially as I see my role as an emerging filmmaker / photographer develop further as a result of winning the award. I’m mega pleased!“

The panel discussion

The room was packed out for the session. It was kicked off by Emily Pitts, founder of Womenclimb, running an interactive session (involving dry peas) on the idea of discomfort and not letting it hold you back career-wise. As the audience were given some tangible take-aways from the session, head judge Claire Carter then explored the concept of equity and intersectionality, since many of the shortlisted films celebrated intersections of diverse generations, races and communities.


2019 winners Jessie Leong and Emma Crome were invited up on the panel alongside adventure photographer Krystle Wright and competition judge and TV producer Emma Brennand. These women who work behind the adventure lens discussed their creative processes in their own careers and how they have developed their crafts.

What happens next?

And so the competition cycle begins again. Next year the competition will be in its sixth year and as always we’ll be striving to make it bigger and better than before. It’s never too early to begin thinking about entering a submission for 2020. Grab your camera when you head out the door on your way to your next adventure, document them and use the Women in Adventure film competition to share your story with others searching for inspiration.

In the meantime watch this space for more news and enjoy watching your way through our previous entries!

Any questions about the competition can be sent to emma@thebmc.co.uk

Ben Lampkin