The Royal Cinema. Toronto, Ontario

PALMER RAPIDS, ON, February 28, 2017


With an audience of avid paddlers and their friends at the Royal Theatre in Toronto, Ontario the Reel Paddling Film Festival’s founder and producer Scott MacGregor emceed an evening of camaraderie and humor marking the premiere of the 12th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour. MacGregor announced the ten award winning films and the premiere host The Complete Paddler used the annual event to raise over $1600 for Project Canoe, a non-profit making a difference in the lives of youth.


Winning films ranged from short comedy sketches to hair-raising adventures to inspiring documentaries representing a new level of achievements in paddlesports filmmaking and storytelling. The ten award-winning films and ten more shortlisted for the World Tour are now in contention for the Aqua-Bound People’s Choice Award. Audiences vote on their favourite films screened at more than 120 locations on the World Tour schedule across the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Europe. The Reel Paddling Film Festival is supporting paddlesport filmmakers awarding a total of $66,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers since 2006.


2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival Award Winners:




Sponsored by Silverbirch Canoes

If it is love that binds people to places in this nation of rivers and in this river of nations, then one enduring expression of that simple truth is surely the canoe.” —James Raffan, adventurer, acclaimed author and director emeritus of the Canadian Canoe Museum. This short documentary film captures the remarkable bond created by Canada’s well-loved national symbol—the canoe. Illustrated by the stories of five paddling enthusiasts across the province of Ontario, Canada, viewers see firsthand how the canoe fosters connection between families, landscapes, traditional Canadian cultures and our inner selves. The film underscores the strength of the canoe and human spirit, and how the canoe is a vessel for creating deep and meaningful connections. This film is a reflection of what Canadian canoe culture looks like today.






Sponsored by the ACA

What would you do to protect the place you love? Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness is a wild landscape of lakes, streams, woods and wildlife covering 1.1 million acres. To Amy and Dave Freeman, this place is home. With a massive sulfide-ore mining project threatening to jeopardize the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for generations to come, the Freemans took action. For one year, the Freemans lived inside the Boundary Waters, broadcasting photos and stories via satellite receiver and hosting politicians, journalists and activists. “It’s up to us to speak loudly for this quiet place,” says Dave Freeman. “It is up to us to bear witness.”

DIRECTOR: Nate Ptacek and Matt Van Biene
PRODUCERS: Fitz Cahall, Nate Ptacek, Doug Niemela and Samantha Chadwick




BEST SHORT PADDLING FILM: Every Day Kayak Mistakes

Sponsored by the Paddle Responsibly Campaign

On a regular kayaking day, every little mistake can always be worse. FTS Style brings kayaking movies to another level with this release.

DIRECTOR: Sebastien Leger





Sponsored by the Ottawa Valley Tourism Association

Thirty-three-year-old Tomass Marnics from Latvia has put together an international team of extreme kayakers. Together they plan to descend the legendary Saryjaz River. The expedition will take the adventurers directly to the Eyes of God, a mystical cliff face reminiscent of an enormous human face, in the no-man’s land between Kyrgyzstan and China.

DIRECTOR: Olaf Obsommer




BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL FILM: Rediscover North America

Sponsored by Kokatat

What’s wrong with an adventure for the sake of adventure? In January 2015, six friends set out to attempt a canoe expedition from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. They battled against the current on the Mighty Mississippi, weathered a winter of snow and ice, traversed massive lakes, dodged constantly shifting forest fires, and shot challenging whitewater. It took eight long months to complete the journey.

PRODUCER: Winchell Delano




BEST SEA KAYAKING FILM: Sea Kayak Around Ireland

Sponsored by Trak Kayaks

Discover the experiences of Irish paddlers, Sean Cahil and Jon Hynes, as they complete their lifelong dream to circumnavigate the rugged wild Atlantic coastline of Ireland. Many have paddled this famed coast but this duo brings it to life with this visually stunning, informative and often funny documentary. The message is clear: “Drop what you’re doing, and go chase your dream adventure!

PRODUCER: Cian Walsh 




BEST INSTRUCTIONAL FILM: Sea Kayak Essentials Volume 2 - Safety and Rescue

Sponsored by Thompson Rivers University Adventure Studies

Sea Kayak Essentials Volume 2 is a valuable resource for sea kayakers wishing to paddle safely in open-water conditions, develop problem avoidance strategies and effective rescue techniques.

PRODUCERS: Mathew Giblin and Nick Cunlife





Sponsored by Pelican International

Explore the varied and dramatic landscape of the beautiful island of Barbados in search of the perfect wave. From the white sand beaches of the populated Southwest to the rugged coastline and world-class breaks of the northeast, Jimmy, Casi, Matt and Connor are welcomed by colorful locals in town and on the waves.

DIRECTOR: Anthony Poulin
PRODUCERS: Heliconia 




BEST KAYAK FISHING FILM: The Kayak Fishing Experience 

Sponsored by Pelican Premium Kayaks

Chad Hoover has worked very hard to give back to the sport of kayak fishing, specifically bass fishing. He has made it his number one goal to help grow the sport and attract new participants. “No matter how hard I work or how much I give, I can never give back more to the sport of kayak fishing than it has given me. Without a doubt, taking up kayak fishing was the single most influential decision that I have ever made in the course of my life. You should give kayak fishing a try, it will change your life,” he says.

DIRECTOR: Kelsey Thompson
PRODUCERS: Heliconia 





Sponsored by the Canadian Canoe Museum

Fifty years ago, girls were not allowed to participate in the rigorous U.S. Outward Bound wilderness school. Then 24 women broke that barrier. Find out how one month of surviving in the woods changed them and history forever

DIRECTOR: Maxine Davis
PRODUCERS: Maxine Davis and Melody Gilbert 




To attend the 2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival visit our World Tour Schedule.


The Reel Paddling Film Festival is now accepting entries for 2018. Enter your film today!


About Reel Paddling Film Festival: Since 2006, the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour has been showcasing the very best paddling films. The World Tour screens in more than 120 cities around the world. Join us for this year's best paddling films. You'll be inspired to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push extremes, embrace the paddling lifestyle and appreciate the wild places.


Reel Paddling Film Festival Partners: The 2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival is presented by Ontario Tourism, and sponsored by Aqua-Bound, Trak Kayaks, Pelican, Kokatat, Silverbirch Canoes, Ottawa Valley Tourist Association, ACA, Thompson Rivers University-Adventure Studies, Canadian Canoe Museum, and the Paddle Responsibly Campaign.


About Rapid Media:   Founded in 1998, Rapid Media is the world’s largest paddlesports media company renowned for producing high-quality content for paddlesports enthusiasts. The company’s portfolio includes some of the world’s best-known paddling brands including Adventure Kayak, Kayak Angler, Rapid, Canoeroots, Paddling Magazine, Paddling Business, the Paddling Buyer’s Guide and the Paddling Trip Guide. Rapid Media produces the annual Reel Paddling Film Festival. 



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