Bilbao Mendi Film Festival
Juanjo San Sebastián WOP Foundation Award 2018
The mountaineer and writer Juanjo San Sebastián has been the guest of honour of this 11th edition of the Bilbao Mendi Film Festival. He has received the WOP ‒The Walk On Project Foundation Award‒ for his defense and transmission of the social values of mountaineering.
This has been the fifth edition in which the Award is given by the The Walk On Project Foundation, and Juanjo San Sebastián will join the exclusive group of great mountaineering personalities that have already been awarded: Josep Manuel Anglada, Sir Chris Bonington and Peter Habeler, along with the film Drawn by Jeremy Collins.
This recognition highlights the values that are intrinsic to mountaineering: effort, teamwork and the ability to overcome challenges; commitment and optimism as a driving force for change, and the great work done when transmitting them. From the WOP Foundation’s point of view, Juanjo San Sebastián’s career is worthy of receiving said award, as he has always transmitted through his actions and his work the aforementioned values.
Juanjo San Sebastián is a mountaineer, climber, writer, specialist and high altitude camera, screenwriter and documentary director. He has always stood out for being sociable, energetic and committed to every responsibility he takes on. It became apparent in all his expeditions, during the 15 years he spent collaborating on Al Filo de lo Imposible ‒aired by public broadcaster RTVE‒, throughout the 27 editions of the March to Pagasarri that he himself continues to promote, or in the mountain and adventure panel talks he has organized over 20 years in many different cities ‒among which we can find the memorable BBK Mountain conferences in Bilbao‒.
In K2, the second highest mountain in the world, he lived one of the most dramatic experiences of his life. While descending the summit, a storm engulfed them, and even though he tried to save his rope-mate Atxo Apellaniz for several days, he ended up losing him, as well as several fingers of his hands. From that experience came Chogori, la Gran Montaña ‒an international award winning documentary‒, as well as the literary work Cita con la Cumbre ‒the best mountaineering book written in Spanish, according to some experts‒.
On this 11th edition of the Mendi Film Festival, Juanjo San Sebastián has been also a member of the Official Selection Jury along with Aldo Audisio, Emi Ueyama, Jim Herrington and Suzan Beraza.
The Walk On Project Foundation Award
During these past years, WOP has relentlessly forged a path in order to bring their mission to fight against neurodegenerative diseases into the spotlight.
WOP has carried out several mountain expeditions (WOPeak project) with climbers such as Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza, who last year returned to the Gasherbrum on the eighth WOPeak stage. They did not reach the top but they did overcome the biggest challenge: life. It was during that expedition when they rescued the Italian alpinist Valerio Annovazzi, who was trapped in camp 3 of the G-II. Luckily, they managed to save his life.
Nowadays, the Foundation continues to work with sports and this year they are focusing on athletics. This is WOP Challenge 2018: a team of men and women will try to break the world records for Marathon, with relays of 400 meters, in the heart of Bilbao's Gran Vía. This will happen next 22nd September. This initiative combines sports excellence with a background of values around WOP.
WOP Foundation Awards at the Bilbao Mendi Film Festival:
2018: Juanjo San Sebastián
2017: Peter Habeler. Mendi TV: prize summary
2016: Sir Chris Bonington. Mendi TV: prize summary
2015: Josep Manuel Anglada. MendiTV: award summary
2014: Drawn by Jeremy Collins. Mendi TV: Summary video
What is WOP?
The Walk On Project (WOP) develops different artistic, social, sports and cultural activities to achieve its main objectives: finance research projects that will help find therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, make the reality of neurodegenerative diseases visible, and raise social awareness to help research and science.