The 19th Annual Paddling Film Festival World Tour premiered on February 8, 2024. The event was hosted by The Complete Paddler at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex in Toronto. The show treated a sold-out audience to the first screening of the year’s award-winning films.
All proceeds—totalling over $3,000—went to Project Canoe, an organization that provides educational and therapeutic outdoor programming to at-risk youth, mainly through a summer wilderness canoe trip program.
Because the premiere sold out, Kelly McDowell, owner of The Complete Paddler, says he plans to run additional screenings of the festival.
“We had a waitlist for tickets so long that we’ve decided to host another four nights inside of our retail store as we have a new projector and screen with a capacity for about 40 seats,” explains McDowell.
Dates for upcoming screenings at The Complete Paddler have yet to be picked, but will be posted to the Paddling Film Festival World Tour website by the end of February.
2024 Paddling Film Festival Winners
Best Kayaking Film
BEYOND THE SALISH
Category sponsor: TRAK Kayaks
Two kayakers take on a once-in-a-lifetime journey along the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island, paddling into relentless waves, unpredictable weather, and the uncharted depths of their fears. The duo finds themselves in a life-altering struggle against the elements. As their journey unfolds, a near-death experience forces them to confront the raw power of the open ocean, pushing the boundaries of their friendship, endurance and luck.
Directors: Richard Chen, William Chong | Producer: Merrisa Mah
Best Adventure Travel Film
Category sponsor: Kokatat
Follow along on an eight-month ski, canoe and bike expedition covering an area equivalent to 19 percent of the Earth’s circumference. The journey travels from Ellesmere Island in Nunavut to Point Pelee in Ontario, and is one of the longest wilderness expeditions in Canadian history. Challenged by polar bears, freezing temperatures, injuries, equipment failure, windstorms, food shortages, 2,000 kilometers of mostly upstream paddling, and numerous reroutings, the Canada Vertical expedition is a testament to resilience and creativity in the face of challenge.
Director: Laurent Poliquin | Producer: Nicolas Roulx
Best SUP Film
From prison to world records and environmental activism, this film tells the story of one man’s journey of self-discovery and the transformative power of the paddle.
Director & Producer: Angus Peel
Best Rafting Film
Category Sponsor: AIRE
Few river guides ever get the chance to drive Idaho’s iconic sweep boat. Driving Sweep follows Katie Veteto as she learns how to “drive sweep” down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. She’s learned the rapids and the river. Now, she learns how to drive a 4,000-pound sweep down steep, rocky rapids.
Director & Producer: Gregory Cairns
Best Documentary Film
Category sponsor: The Canadian Canoe Museum
An eighth-generation Tasmanian and environmentalist, Oliver Cassidy embarks on a life-changing solo rafting trip down the famous Franklin River in the remote Australian rainforest. He retraces his late father’s 14-day expedition to attend the blockade that saved a World-Heritage-listed national park from being destroyed in the early 1980s. Narrated by Hugo Weaving, Franklin is an inspiring example of the power of non-violent direct action to bring about lasting change.
Director: Kasimir Burgess | Producers: Chris Kamen, Oliver Cassidy
Best Instructional Film
HOW TO STERN SQUIRT YOUR KAYAK
Category sponsor: Thompson Rivers University
This film details a step-by-step progression of how to do a version of the stern squirt. This is a fun advanced kayaking maneuver that has many variations.
Director: Matt Allen | Producer: Simon Coward
Best Canoeing Film
RENOVATING A CANOE WHILE RUNNING A MARATHON
Category sponsor: Rhéaume Canoes
In between all the dust and rot and problem-solving of giving a banged-up fleet canoe a new lease on life, Beau Miles runs around his paddock to complete a marathon. “I did this nonstop for 24 hours, and by golly, it was a bloody great day,” he says.
Director: Beau Miles | Producers: Mitch Drummond, Beau Miles
Best Environmental Paddling Film
RIO PUSUNO: MEET THE COMMUNITY
Category sponsor: Paddle Responsibly
Ecuador is well-known amongst whitewater kayakers as a paradise. Generations of Ecuadorians like Diego Robles have found their life’s passion in paddling and guiding the rivers in their backyard. But a few months after Robles found his favorite river, he found excavators in the river building a dam and diversion that would dry up the Rio Pusuno. He had no idea how bad the situation was until he met the local community.
Directors: Ben Stookesberry, Willie Henkel
Best Kayak Fishing Film
RODS, ROLLS AND REALITY ON THE SOČA
Swapping paddles for rods, this crew of kayakers attempts to learn how to put the hook in the right spot. Under the emerald waters of Slovenia’s Soča River hides an endemic trout, creating both a classroom and a playground for misadventure.
Directors: Rok Rozman, Rožle Bregar | Producer: Leeway Collective
Best Whitewater Film
THERE’S GOOD IN EVERYTHING
Category sponsor: Ottawa Valley Tourist Association
Join whitewater legend Aniol Serrasolses while he kayaks the rivers of Chile. In this short whitewater film, Aniol shows us how mindset on the river sets paddlers apart and allows us to find the good in everything.
Directors: Gonzalo Robert, Juan Garcia | Producer: Aniol Serrasolses
Best Short Film
WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR GOAT
Nico lives in her Sprinter van with two goats, three chickens and a dog. Spend a day with Nico goat-packing a raft up to a high mountain lake in this quirky short film. Take a dive into her lifestyle, the goats’ personalities, and Nico’s deeper mission to use her unique lifestyle for sustainability education.
Director: Jack Lewis Elder
2024 Paddling Film Festival Shortlist
Find out which films are touring in this year’s Paddling Film Festival below.
- A Canoe Perspective
- Bad River: Rafting The Most Polluted River In Australia
- Beyond The Salish
- Canada Vertical
- Coast Mountain Chronicles – The Bishop River Part 1
- David Haze
- Driving Sweep
- How To Stern Squirt Your Kayak
- International Whitewater Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023
- Life Downstream: The Story Of The Wabigoon River
- Mi’kma’ki: Gwitna’q (Land Of The Mi’kmaw: Travel By Canoe)
- Near The River
- Paddle Tribal Waters ll: Bring The Salmon Home
- Paddling The Margins
- Renovating A Canoe While Running A Marathon
- Rio Pusuno: Meet The Community
- Rod, Rolls And Reality On The Soča
- Save Solace
- Sleeping Giants
- Surface – A Norwegian Ski Rafting Adventure
- The Coppermine River
- The River
- The River Of Sorrows
- The Stakeout
- There’s Good In Everything
- Whatever Floats Your Goat
Want to join in the fun and get the big screen experience? Find a World Tour event near you at: paddlingevents.com
The Virtual Paddling Film Festival will be released in March allowing you to rent and watch the award-winning films plus 14 others in the comfort of your home. Check back here for the release of the 2024 virtual program.
Thank you to our 2024 Paddling Film Festival World Tour partners who contribute to the energy and sustainability of the Paddling Film Festival. Without their support the World Tour would not be possible.