Feel the rushes: extreme sports cinema to crash Bilbao

The fourth Mendi Film Festival parachutes into the Basque capital

A shot from Pura Vida — The Ridge.
A shot from Pura Vida — The Ridge.

Skydiving, tightrope-walking, climbing and abseiling into town, the fourth Mendi Film Festival is set to bring some of the biggest names in, and finest examples of, extreme sports cinema to Bilbao next month.

This year’s event, which runs from December 14 to 23, has been moved from Vitoria to the Basque capital to attract the world’s best directors in the field, as well as international names in mountaineering and rock climbing.

The official selection will feature 25 titles from a dozen countries, with jury president Mireille Chiocca, director of the Autrans International Mountain Film Festival in France, in charge of dishing out seven prizes.

Among the movies being premiered are the documentaries Bajo Cero, about mountaineers Alex Txikon and Carlos Suárez, and Rope Up, about climber Edurne Pasaban, who will be present at the festival.

Rope Up director Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina’s Pura Vida — The Ridge, which won the prize for best Basque film at this year’s San Sebastián Film Festival, is also set to be shown.

More than movies

Alongside the screenings, the organizers have programmed a series of parallel activities, including two demonstrations of slacklining — a discipline similar to tightrope walking but which uses a less taut line — and a show by French performer Antoine Le Menestrel on the front of buildings in the old quarter and along Gran Vía that promises to be halfway between theater and climbing. There will also be an exhibition of panoramic images by Basque photographer Santiago Yaniz.

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