SHAFF Review

Another SHAFF, another crop of first class movies. When the quality is as high as this, the critic’s job is a real pleasure.

The Trail to Kazbegi is proper ruffty, tuffty mountain biking in genuine bona-fide wilderness. Majestic landscapes are complemented by some superb endless trails that have never seen a mountain bike tyre before. If it lacks of story, it makes up for it by looking damn pretty.

The Accord is a film about Icelandic surfing. Frankly, the thought of the ice-cream headaches that must be part and parcel of an icelandic surfer’s existence are enough to make you wince, but these boys are nails. It’s a cheeky, wistful little number, humourous and original with a nice line in Icelandic dourness. The waves, when the fabled wind is right, look amazing.

Not2Bad is the latest from Anthill Films and that pretty much tells you all you need to know. There’s everything we’ve come to expect from the Anthill mob, seriously radical riding, cool trails, great production values and not too much padding. One of the highlights is two seriously radical women riders strutting their stuff, Casey Brown and Rachel Atherton – they really shred.

Northbound is a little gem, a most unusual skate boarding film which takes place on a Norwegian beach. The riders use whatever flotsam and jetsam they find as props and build a frozen sand half pipe. It’s great fun and beautifully filmed. A must see.

James Knowles – A Mountain Journal is a deeply personal short film about love of the great outdoors and the pain of losing a pal with whom you’ve shared your passion for biking.

I’ve kept the best till last. British Mountain Biking: The Untold Story is a real treat. Firstly it explodes the myth that it was the good old USA that invented mountain biking, that alone makes it worth a watch. It does so by talking to some eccentric and wonderful characters like Geoff Apps, who was designing prototype mountain bikes in the 60’s, early mountain bike devotee Isla Rowntree, founder of Isla Bikes and Frank Brierley, member of the Rough Stuff Fellowship. Even Gary Fisher appears and is prepared to admit just how influential the British scene was, not least in the shape of Muddy Fox, the first mega-brand.

It’s a fantastic film, engaging, full of suprising facts, delves into all facets of the British scene and features one solid-gold hero after another – Steve Peat, Martyn Ashton, Danny MacAskill, Tracey Moseley, Rob Warner Steve Behr and many others. It’s tightly edited, beautifully filmed and most of all, very, very British.

For all the screening details check out the SHAFF site.

Further details about the mighty Sheffield SHAFF Weekend HERE