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Weihenmayer to speak at VIMFF launch

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Although pre-festival screenings for the seventh annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival are slated to begin this Sunday, the official festival kick off takes place on Feb. 25 with a screening of Farther Than the Eye Can See.

Directed by Michael Brown, the film documents the ascent of Everest by visually impaired mountaineer Eric Weihenmayer. The inspirational work was the recipient of the Butch Freedhoff Human Spirit Award at the third annual Whistler Film Festival in December.

Weihenmayer will appear at the opening gala to speak on his remarkable achievement of conquering the world’s seven summits despite his visual limitations.

Along with Weihenmayer, speakers on this year’s roster include Squamish climber Matt Maddaloni, and renowned outdoor adventurers Chic Scott, Simon Yates, Krzysztof Wielicki, Abby Watkins and John "Verm" Sherman.

Whistler will once again be well represented in the festival’s annual photo contest. Organizers confirm several locals to be on the short list of finalists. Contest winners will be announced on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. with winning entries displayed at the Centennial Theatre, headquarters for festival screenings.

Tickets for festival screenings are $15 at the door, $12 in advance from Moutain Equipment Co-op and the Centennial Theatre.

The festival continues through Feb. 29.

For more information go to www.vimff.org.

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