The Taranaki Tree Fest (Tree Climbing Film Festival) 'Peoples Choice Prize', sponsored by Treetools, is awarded to the film which generates the most enthusiasm from the audience on premier night (at the Kings Theatre in Stratford)… and there was no contest for the 2015 Peoples Choice Award - 'Tree Recon' by kiwi film makers Arborfilms won hands down.
The short film, shot single-handedly by Arborfilms director Tumai Laybourn, received a standing ovation from the Kings Theatre crowd.
Tumai, who happened to be in the audience filming a documentary about the film festival itself, was caught completely by surprise. "We're blown away by the reaction to the film".
'Tree Recon' had over 3500 views in 24 hours on YouTube and its easy to see why.
Arborfilms won a GoPro Hero 4 Silver from Treetools for their outstanding effort.
It's all on in Taranaki this Waitangi weekend - Windsor Park, Stratford.
Here's how to find your way to Windsor Park; those arriving in town from the South, turn right at the first roundabout, cross the railway tracks and then turn right - the entrance to Windsor Park is just behind Mitre 10.
Northerners need to turn left at the SECOND roundabout on the main road through Stratford before crossing the same railway tracks to enter the park.
World Class Aerial Rescue Workshop
The Aerial Rescue Workshop conducted by current ITCC champion Scott Forrest and World Footlock Record Holder James Kilpatrick gets underway in Windsor Park at 4:00pm Friday 6 February.
It would be a good idea to get to the park about 3:30pm so that everything can run to schedule.
Neal Harding, Taranaki Tree Climbing Weekend co-organizer, says… "Any chance to listen and watch these two blokes in action should be taken" and he is bang on with that statement.
International Tree Fest (film evening)
A 'Pre Fest' viewing starts at King's Theatre, on Stratford's main street, at 6:00 pm Friday evening following the Aerial Rescue Workshop with James and Scott. The King's Theatre is not far from Windsor Park.
Neal has scheduled three films from last year to get the evening started; "King's of Swing," (Hiro wanted to see it again because he helped with the deadwooding); "Redwoods of Rotorua," because Tumai will be here and hasn't seen it on the big screen; and "<Two Minutes in Toronto," because Scott has also only ever seen it on a small-screen tablet.
The official 2015 Tree Fest follows the Pre-Fest, getting underway at 6:30pm in the same theatre.
This year's film entries are truly international, with cinematography from New Zealand to Canada, Australia to Italy.
Films range in length from 1 minute 35 seconds to a blink under 20 minutes.
There is everything from time-lapse take downs to serious documentaries on taking up the sport of tree climbing; and life as a tree worker.
According to Neal "we have arboricultural humour and a behind-the-scenes look at filming in the canopy as well as a 'thought piece' about tree climbing, and free climbing for recreation.
The 2015 Tree Fest also answers the question of what a fish would do if it could climb a tree; and, on an even lighter note, who's eye features in the event promo poster.
Neal says "Having seen all the 2015 Tree Fest entries I have no idea who's in the front running to win People's Choice (GoPro sponsored by Treetools) or any of the Category Prizes (mostly sponsored by Teufelberger Tree Care).
All I know is that the quality is fantastic and that there will be something for everyone."
2015 Taranaki Open TCC
The tree climbing competition gets underway in Windsor Park on Saturday 7 February, get there early. Remember, this is an 'open' event - all tree climbers are welcome - you do not have to 'qualify'.
By all accounts this years Work Climb, set-up by former ITCC World Champion and current woman world footlock record holder Nicky Ward-Allen, is a real stunner, with inter-tree swings and a long limb walk to test the skills.
Nicky says "The Speed Climb offers a million dollar view of Taranaki/Egmont and the Aerial Rescue has a team component."
The Taranaki Open TCC will be the first event of 2015 to debut the vertical sprint in place of the foot-lock.
As per usual, and thanks to the event's generous sponsors, the Taranaki Tree Climbing Weekend is free to all participants.
This includes a free lunch (who says 'there ain't no free lunch') along with a collectible event tee shirt sponsored by Taranaki's own Tricky Tree Specialists.
There are plenty of other prizes kindly donated by local and international businesses including Husqvarna, DMM Wales, Teufelberger, Tricky Tree Specialists and Treetools.
For the more energetic there is a climb of Mount Taranaki planned for Sunday 8 February to round up the weekend.
Petzl engineers have undertaken additional testing overnight to try and replicate the deformation visible in the photographs Treetools published Wednesday on FaceBook and again in the Treetools Blog yesterday - here are the results of those tests (ad verbatim) - make of it what you will:
"Based on our understanding of the causes of the crack, and the analysis of each returned ZIGZAG, we know that cracks on the bottom link (worst case scenario) may appear only on one side of the chain.
In fact, due to the assembling process, the the bottom link on the side of the body with the Petzl marking can not have a crack (there is no riveting process on this side of the bottom link).
In order to get value on the resistance in such a case, we have pushed further our tests on a broken bottom link up to a complete breakage of the chain, and we have obtained the following results:
As visible on Treetools website, a ZIGZAG with a completely broken bottom link on one side and on the other side a bottom link free of crack, can support a load greater than 15KN.
At forces around 17KN, we observe a complete separation of the chain from the body."
For the very latest ZigZag update from Petzl follow this link. Please keep a close eye on your ZigZag if you are climbing on one.