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Premiere of the European Outdoor Film Tour 2017/18: breaking new ground
The show must go on! The outdoor scene invited fans to join them on October 5, 2017 at Munich's BMW Welt to celebrate the start of this year's European Outdoor Film Tour. Ice and rainforest, snow and dust: to give them a taste of things to come, the audience at the premiere was shown a series of five films. Once again it was truly inspiring to follow the different athletes on their various adventures.

In the foyer, the EOFT partners had set up displays: Mammut had clad mannequins in their new extreme collection and was using a virtual reality headset to arouse people's interest in outdoor adventure. GORE-TEX®, an EOFT partner right from the start, was showcasing its new ShakedryTM technology. A jacket had been frozen in the middle of a massive block of ice and was now gradually melting in the warmth generated by the approx. 700 people attending the event. Elderflower and prosecco spritz, and Paulaner beer got everyone in the mood while popular belly-fillers Tiroler gröstel and Kaiserschmarrn made sure nobody went hungry.

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There were also a few big names in the audience. For GORE-TEX® athlete and BMW brand ambassador Stefan Glowacz it was like playing in front of a home crowd. Simone Moro, the face of this year's EOFT, was there in person, as were many of the athletes featured in the films being premiered in Munich. All the ingredients for a successful start to the 2017/18 series of films and talks!

This year EOFT is venturing into new terrain: It's touring 15 countries, including Turkey and Australia! Venturing into new terrain is also the central theme of many of the EOFT films. Being the first person to the top, the first person ever to ski down a mountain, or seeking recognition for a monumental sporting achievement, that's what urges on these sporting pioneers. For example, Simone Moro, who was the first person to make four first winter ascents of 8,000 metre peaks. A monumental achievement. Or the crew with their kayaks in Greenland. Perhaps not a world-first, but certainly a venture into new terrain and one that will long be talked about. Or those freeriders who hurtle down precipice-like slopes: not a new venture and quickly forgotten, but nevertheless an astonishing spectacle, a tremendous athletic achievement and only for daredevils. And yet, adventures are not only about being the first person ever to do something. Adventures don't always leave their mark, neither in the snow nor in the history of mankind. They can also quite quietly leave their mark on a person.

Happiness and feelings of happiness instead of failure and death

While many of the athletes featured in last year's films had to cope with failure in some way or other (which left them either not particularly happy or, in some cases, even dead), the general tenor of this year's tour is much more positive.

We get to see kayaks and kites being used for traversing the Greenland ice sheet in quest of negotiable whitewater, a dugout canoe manoeuvring through the Ecuadorian jungle, skies tackling terrifyingly steep ski lines in the Caucasus region and bikes descending steep scree slopes. The films celebrate the experience itself, sometimes quietly (“Dug Out”), sometimes more loudly (“Follow the Fraser”), without casting the athletes featured in the films too much as heroes. But then, of course, there's always rather more pathos and heroism in an American film than there is in the majority of European productions.

Although the fuss the first film of the evening, “Into Twin Galaxies”, makes of its heroes is actually, considering its story, more of an understatement: Ben, Sarah and Erik set out on an expedition that is hard to match – a visionary idea but a gruelling journey, involving bitter cold, injury, sacrifice and effort. There's a moment at the end of the film that says it all - when you see what moves a person to go in quest of and undertake this kind of adventure: the happiness in Erik's eyes after conquering a gigantic waterfall is the answer to all your questions.

You do have to be an outstanding athlete and fearless daredevil to have the get-up-and-go to embark on such expeditions. But do you really? People who feel bad about themselves and their couch potato lifestyles after watching these kind of films will find inspiration in “Dug Out”: Englishmen Benjamin and James are an unusual pair and neither of them is your typical athlete. They too navigate water – but somewhat more quietly. Their journey starts with an indigenous community in the middle of Ecuador's Amazon jungle. They spend several weeks living with a Waorani tribal family, learning how to build a canoe which they then use to paddle down the Napo River. A different kind of adventure.

Rock it down the mountain!

What do Mount Ushba and the Fraser River have in common? Nothing. Apart from the fact that their names have been used for two films, despite the fact that they only play a minor role. But that's only because when the focus is on the descent (Ushba = on skis, Fraser = by bike), there's not much time to see anything else. Shame about the mountain and the scenery, much the same for the athlete, but still an impressive sight for the audience. What Samuel Anthamatten, Léo Slemett and Markus Eder do on skies, rocks big time. At the EOFT premiere these two films were accompanied by live music. Truly a mega experience. The professional musicians (including members of German band Bananafishbones) deservedly got at least half the attention, actually diverting attention away from the footage. So the good news for people coming to the regular EOFT showings: there'll be no live music so you can devote all your attention to the films. It'll rock all the same!

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In Canada, downhill athletes go on a road trip along the Fraser River looking for rideable terrain. But then what does rideable mean? More like slitherable, slideable, flyable. It rocks, too!

Two films were not shown at the premiere that you'll get to see as part of the regular two-hour EOFT 2017/18 programme: “Choices”, a climbing film featuring Steph Davis (for that reason alone worth seeing) and “Ice Call”, a freeride film with lots of ice and I expect we'll be seeing skiers in action like never before. The premiere itself finished off with a mountaineering film. Or rather: a film about mountaineers.

Finally, a bit about failure – but with humour and depth

Italian Simone Moro has four first winter ascents of 8,000 metre peaks to his name. In 2016 he reached the top of Nanga Parbat in the winter. His teammate Tamara Lunger had to turn round just below the summit. This year Simone and Tamara embarked on an expedition to Kangchendzönga – under very different circumstances. They failed to make the ascent. Neither of them got anywhere near to achieving what they had set out to do.

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger have never made it to the summit of a high mountain together. Something always went wrong. Yet they still have the reputation of being a strong climbing team – and not only when they are attached to the same rope. Simone Moro: “The fact that we go on expeditions together and give each other so much support in what we do, that's our real achievement, that's what you call success – whether we get to the top, or not.” The film gives an insight into their expedition to “Kantsch”, the relationship between the two climbers and the hierarchies on the mountain. You also get a feel for how the friendship between Simone and Tamara developed, and as she put it: “I wasn't the dimwit of the expedition this time.” It was Simone who was the recipient of this somewhat dubious honour. It's always important to keep your sense of humour! Which is also one of the things that makes “La Congenialità” so impressive, so captivating in its honesty – and it has a positive message for everyone.

While Simone was up on stage talking about the film and answering the questions of the event hosts with great wit and lots of words, Tamara Lunger had already set out on her next expedition and a new quest.

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I hope you enjoy the films. This year the EOFT tour starts on October 12, 2017 in Füssen and ends on February 7, 2018 in Flensburg. So there's a good chance you'll find a time and place that suits you – it'll be worth it!

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