Breath-taking film fest

Into the deep: Freediver Kathryn Nevatt PICTURES: ALISCIA YOUNG

With just one breath, Queenstown freediver Kathryn Nevatt can explore the beauty that lies deep beneath the water’s surface.

Nevatt can hold her breath for seven minutes and 45 seconds.

She’s able to swim 65 metres below, without any kind of breathing apparatus.

It’s a thought both remarkable and terrifying for most.

“Limits are the only ones you impose on yourself,” Nevatt says.

“Freediving is peaceful and calming, but it can be challenging as well.”

The 39-year-old’s consistently been ranked as one of the world’s best competitive freedivers for the last decade.

A minute-and-a-half was the maximum time she could go without fresh oxygen when she started, but “lots of practice, comfort and trust” has led to swimming with sea lions and turtles in waters off the Bahamas, Egypt, Galapagos Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

Nevatt’s passion is captured in a mesmerising short film, The Breath Connection, by Wanaka filmmaker Aliscia Young.

It’s been shot in various local waterway locations.


“The film is documentary-style to be informative and break down barriers around freediving, and Aliscia has done it in such a beautiful and artistic way,” Nevatt says.

That’s just one inspiring story of adventure showing at the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival, which hits Queenstown’s Memorial Centre on July 4-6.

It presents films, presentations and workshops by outdoor enthusiasts from this country and the world.

Stand-up paddle boarding world champ and survivor of an horrific ski accident, Annabel Anderson, of Wanaka, is a guest speaker.

Many films have been shot here, Anderson says, and the district should be proud.

“It’s stories, people and films that capture the heart and soul of this area, and why a lot of people live here.

“Telling these stories is important to remind people to get outside, go for a walk and open their eyes to landscapes and seasons.”

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