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Mountains and City Festival focuses on people and the environment

"CLIMBING IS MY PASSION, my philosophy of life," says Alain Robert, a Frenchman popularly known as Spiderman. "Although I suffer from vertigo, although my accidents left me disabled up to 60%, I have become the best solo climber. Now, as a solo climber and as a skilled speaker, here's the message I wish to send to people: We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to achieve our goals. All we have to do is find such strength within ourselves, know how to develop it."

Frenchman Alain Robert is "Spiderman".
photo: Hory a mesto

"CLIMBING IS MY PASSION, my philosophy of life," says Alain Robert, a Frenchman popularly known as Spiderman. "Although I suffer from vertigo, although my accidents left me disabled up to 60%, I have become the best solo climber. Now, as a solo climber and as a skilled speaker, here's the message I wish to send to people: We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to achieve our goals. All we have to do is find such strength within ourselves, know how to develop it."

Robert is the featured speaker of Bratislava's Mountains and City Festival, an annual competition of short films and documentaries about outdoor sports and climbing that profile nature's towering beauty and attest to the burning human desire for overcoming challenges.

The festival takes place at the Palace Cinemas at the Aupark shopping mall from April 12 to 15.

This year's event features 45 films from nine countries, including Canada, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the UK and the USA.

"Eleven Slovak films and directors are taking part in the festival this year, which is more than ever before," the festival's press release states proudly.

It all opens with Robert's film and photo presentation, entitled the Seven Lives of Spiderman, which will show on April 12 at 20:00. Other sections include films centered on the festival's usual five themes - Earth, Water, Cliff, Air, Snow and Bicycle - and two new sections: Enviro and Phenomenon.

Klem Loskot will give a lecture on his picture book, Emotional Landscapes.
photo: Hory a mesto

Among the other prominent guest lecturers is Austrian boulderer Klem Loskot, who, in 2000, was declared "the world's best boulderer/Sport Climber" by Climbing Magazine. Loskot is known for his excellence in deep water soloing, in which he scales cliffs over water without protective gear. His presentation includes film clips, pictures, and stories from his book, Emotional Landscapes.

"[Emotional Landscapes] is a work with images and recollections which I accumulated in the last few years," Loskot writes on his website. "Years of travelling in Asia, North, South and Central America, India, Australia, Europe and in my home place. Giant birds, fast cars, trains and boats opened up our world to a global village. Yesterday in the tropics hanging out in shorts, tomorrow in the snow of the Alps. Each place has an own flair with special inhabitants, humans as animals. I made friends with a coral reef where waves get peeled, with an Indian family, with a kangaroo hunter somewhere in the Australian bush, with snakes, with fresh snow, with various rock formations, with the dessert and the ocean."

The Emotional Landscapes presentation takes place on April 14 at 20:00.

But while all of the festival's sections spotlight the environment, and people's effect on it, the new Enviro section is especially dedicated to the cause. On April 15 at 16:00, it will screen An Inconvenient Truth, the Academy Award-winning documentary about global warming by former US Vice President Al Gore.

The screening will be followed by a discussion about global warming and climate change with a panel composed of Milan Lapin, an expert from the Slovak National Climate Program at Comenius University; Ľudo Sluka of the Ekopolis Foundation; Miro Žiarislav Švický, a writer and musician; and Juraj Lukáč, head of the Vlk (Wolf) Forest Protection Movement.

Lukáč will also be involved in presenting the festival's other new section, Phenomen, which focuses on one animal that has been hit particularly hard by humans' effect on the environment: the wolf.

Lukáč has spent years studying wolves and their habitat. As part of his Wolf - Man's Best Friend project, he will show Wolves and Caribou: The Endless Dance by directors Jeff and Sue Turner, a short film about wolves' dependence on caribou as a food source, and their everlasting journey to follow the caribou wherever they roam.

Wolves and Caribou will show on April 14 at 19:00.

And in addition to films, the festival will also on be holding a photo competition and exhibition, seminars and conferences on teambuilding, climbing challenges open to the public and an informal outdoor market for mountain climing equipment.


What: Hory a mesto
(Mountains and City) Festival
Where: Aupark shopping mall, Bratislava
When: April 12-15
Tickets: Sk69-Sk129
For more information, visit www.horyamesto.sk.

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