The Kendal Mountain Player was set up in 2020 as a means of showcasing our Festival to audiences across the globe during a time when live events were not possible. We are proud of this legacy, and it is important to us that we continue to provide a platform of diverse and cinematic adventure content all year round, for those who aren't able to attend the Festival in person or simply want to catch up on the latest adventure stories from the comfort of their own home.
However, without the amazing independent filmmakers seeking out the very best stories for our screens - those who have dedicated their lives to discovering hidden gems and diverse narratives that might otherwise go unnoticed - there would be no Kendal Mountain Festival and no online platform for us to share with our audiences.
As the cinematic landscape continues to evolve, the contributions of independent filmmakers has become increasingly important; their ability to challenge norms, shine a light on underrepresented voices, and bring fresh perspectives to the screen adds vibrancy to the film industry. With filmmakers consistently pushing creative boundaries and challenging traditional storytelling, platforms that support their endeavours have become vital. Here at Kendal we believe that our Player stands as a testament to the potential of technology and community support to drive positive change in the way films are created, distributed, and appreciated.
In an industry dominated by commercial interests and established powerhouses, it was important to us that we offered a platform that supported independent filmmakers directly. By offering visibility, respecting artistic freedom, and fostering collaboration, our online platform plays a pivotal role in empowering directors to share their stories with the world. By creating an account with the Kendal Mountain Player, you help us support independent filmmakers as we give 50% of our profits to them directly.
What initially began as a means of platforming our Festival online during the Covid-19 pandemic has now grown into an innovative space that not only showcases the work of independent filmmakers but also enables them to reach wider audiences. With over 400 hours of content, the Kendal Mountain Player is growing every day and for just £9.99 a month you can enjoy a whole host of amazing films and sessions from anywhere in the world.
Check out some of our latest Player uploads as we shine a light on just a handful of the amazing people working from behind the camera:
Piano To Zanskar
Aided by a team of local Sherpas as well as yaks and ponies, Desmond and his assistants are tested to the limit, physically and psychologically, as they cross sheer mountain passes of breathtaking beauty. If successful, the expedition will be the highest piano delivery in the world. More importantly, it will be the ultimate gesture of music’s universal power to inspire strength and bring joy.
Piano To Zanskar is directed by Warsaw-born film director and a graduate of Photography from University of the Arts London, Michał Sulima. This film is Michał's independent debut, marking his entrance into feature-length and documentary format.
Benjamin Sadd and James Trundle go to the Ecuadorian Amazon to travel through the rainforest on a canoe they have built from scratch. This multi award winning film explores the Amazon beyond the adventure, documenting the lives of both the people and the wildlife who rely on the forest for survival.
This film is directed by Benjamin Sadd who specialises in combining a passion for beautiful places and wildlife with a fascination for how our experience is shaped by our environment. Benjamin is continually exploring the potential of adventure filmmaking to not only show human acts of heroism, but also to raise awareness of environmental issues in the wilderness that we love.
Tom Randall is a world class crack climber. He is also a terrible runner, which is why his latest challenge seems like an odd choice. He decided to link up two of the Lake District's biggest and toughest endurance challenges, the Bob Graham Round and The Classic Rock challenge into one hellish 24 hour mad dash - this is his story.
The Process is directed by Matt Pycroft, the Creative Director of the content creation agency Coldhouse Collective. Matt is a highly experienced filmmaker and photographer who specialises in working in remote and hostile environments. He has a passion for seeking out untold stories and has worked as both director and principal photographer on numerous world-class expeditions to places such as Greenland, Pakistan and Alaska through to extensive work for NGOs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Matt co-founded Coldhouse with the idea of creating a company of like-minded individuals that produce authentic, narrative led content in the outdoors.
Running The Roof
Like all good stories, this one begins with a drunken bet. Three friends, bonded by a love of running, were desperate to ditch their desks and go on an adventure. One night, after a few too many drinks, they placed a bet. They would spin a globe and wherever their finger landed, they would run. They spun. Tajikistan. A part of the world few have heard of let alone travelled to. A region shrouded in a reputation of war and danger. A place of extreme heat during the day, dropping to dangerously cold temperatures at night. Where the altitude is so high, it feels like you’re breathing through a straw. Not exactly prime conditions for running. They accepted their challenge. They would run across Tajikistan from the border of Afghanistan to the border of China, covering 400km in just 7 days - about a marathon a day, everyday, for a week. They would run through a valley of spectacular proportions, somewhere the locals call ‘the roof of the world’. This is a story without finish lines or medals. Rather what happens when you trust in nothing but your own two feet, to carry you across one of the last truly wild landscapes on earth.
Running The Roof is directed by Alexis Tymon and Ben Crocker. Ben brings his 15 years of experience to the table, with an unparalleled cinematic eye and confidence for both the technical and artistic sides of filmmaking. Alexis has a tireless pursuit for the purpose behind a good story, making films in both a visually compelling and meaningful way for the project and its audience. Their ambitious, synchronised approach led them to found Sourcy, an award winning video production company based in south London, in 2018. They are relaxed, adventurous types – intent upon colouring outside the lines. They’ll happily chuck on a wetsuit, bivvy on a cliff edge or get their boots very, very muddy if the film calls for it.
Lock Down Rock Up
This film follows Jerome Mowat as he takes us through the challenges he faced as a front-line paramedic during the global pandemic and how he used rock climbing as an escape.
Directed by ex-qualified ski instructor Nico Hambleton, this is a man who can ski backwards faster than most people can ski forwards! As a result of his expertise, he is trained in mountain and avalanche survival. When not on the slopes, you can find him on the rocks or by the sea. He has also taught kite surfing which has given him good knowledge with open waters and his other enjoyment of rock climbing has allowed him to explore and expand his knowledge of rope access, helping him achieve those once-in-a-lifetime shots.
The film won Best Short prize at Kendal Mountain Festival in 2020. About the win, Nico said: “This win isn’t just for Jerome, it’s representative of all frontline workers surviving out there.”
The Frozen Road
Documenting his journey cycling through the Canadian Arctic in winter, Ben Page discovers the wonders, terrors and frustrations of travelling alone to the coldest corners of the earth.
This film was directed and self-shot by Ben himself. Talking about his reasons for embarking on this incredible journey, Ben says: "Compelled by Jack London’s assertion, that ‘any man who is a man can travel alone’, I sought an adventure of perfect solitude. Yet, as I came to realise, the harsh truths of travelling in such a formidable environment were a long way from the romantic images I’d held of this land. The Frozen Road is an honest reflection on my solo trip; of the wonder, terror and frustration I experienced when riding through the unforgiving emptiness of one of the world's 'last great wildernesses'."
Ben is a British commercial documentary director and DP currently living and working in Boulder, Colorado. He discovered his passion for filmmaking during a three-year, 50,000 mile bicycle ride around the world. After self-producing the award winning The Frozen Road about a part of that journey, he jumped into filmmaking full time and has been capturing human centred stories of people making a difference in their lives and the lives of others ever since.
In May 2022 Clare Dyson spent a month travelling solo through the Lake District landscape with her horse Merry, searching for stories of nature regeneration. Visiting farmers and ecologists along the way, Clare and Merry travelled nearly 200 miles through Cumbria’s diverse and dramatic landscape to meet people who are adapting the way they work the land to prioritise nature, produce food and combat climate change.
Directed by award winning filmmaker Dom Bush from Land and Sky Media, Thriving is a story of hope and adventure in unprecedented times. Dom has been making films for the last nine years - films which verge on the understated, but where the individual's story speaks loud. Working on projects across Europe, North America, Borneo, Sierra Leone and South Africa, Dom has travelled around the world in search of stories. But the place which draws him the most is the Lake District, and the individuals living there. His films are tales about climbers, farmers and artists, character-led stories that connect people to the landscapes around them.
The Last English Poacher
In the award winning short film, Brian Tovey roams his surrounding fields and woods illegally hunting for game on private estates belonging to the big land-owners - Earls, Lords, Duchesses and farmers, an almost ethereal existence that clings to the age-old conflict between common and forest Law. The film is an elegy to England's changing rural communities, and our diminishing connection to the land.
Directed by Emma Crome and Peter Emery, The Last English Poacher sprang from research into characters for a long-form documentary about the state of nature in the UK. It quickly became obvious that Brian's way of life was an intriguing representation of a lesser-known part of our rural history, a far-cry from our picture postcard, bucolic views of our green and pleasant land.
Emma's story of how she came to meet Brian can be heard on The Adventure Podcast. Emma's work stems from her love for the outdoors and is rooted in people and cultures connected to the land and nature. Her work has taken her from rural Gloucestershire to the jebels of Wadi Rum where she spent time with the Bedouin nomads, to the ghost towns of New Mexico and the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. As Emma says, "I put people first in all aspects of my work – it’s important to have strong relationships with the communities I work among and to ensure that every project is an honest reflection of its contributors and subject."
Watch these films and a whole host of other unmissable adventure content on the Kendal Mountain Player for as little as £9.99 a month. We are currently offering a free three day trial - don’t miss out!