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BBK MENDI FILM Bilbao Bizkaia: a new era begins

Nora Sarasola (BBK), Lorea Bilbao (BFA-DFB), Eduardo Martínez (Mendi Film), Xabier Ochandiano (Bilbao City Council) and Jabier Baraiazarra (Mendi Film)


Bilbao, 24th June 2019. The Regional Government of Biscay, the City Council of Bilbao, the BBK Foundation and Mendi Film have signed a four-year collaboration agreement, which strengthens the project in the face of a new era.

This roped team’s name: BBK MENDI FILM Bilbao Bizkaia


  • Regional Government of Biscay
  • City Council of Bilbao
  • BBK Foundation
  • Mendi Film Festival



Collaboration agreement

The press conference announcing the collaboration agreement was held this morning, at BBK Foundation's Sala BBK, Bilbao. Here is a list of the representatives that attended to the event:

  • Lorea Bilbao, Regional Government of Biscay
  • Xabier Ochandiano, City Council of Bilbao
  • Nora Sarasola, BBK Foundation
  • Eduardo Martínez, Mendi Film Festival
  • Jabier Baraiazarra, Mendi Film Festival 


Energy built on solid pillars

Mendi Film Festival was founded in 2008. The first four editions took place in Vitoria-Gasteiz and, since 2012, the festival has moved to Bilbao. Over the last seven editions, the audience attendance has tripled, with over 12,000 viewers in 2018. If we combine the aforementioned figure with the attendance gathered at the screenings of our travelling Mendi Tour, last year only over 26,000 people enjoyed Mendi Film’s great offer.

Mendi Film Festival is an ambassador and a point of reference for Basque mountaineering culture. Mendi Tour has been distributed in over 50 towns from all over Spain, being represented at 70% of the autonomous regions. On top of that, it has also been held in France and Mexico. Furthermore, Jabier Baraiazarra is president of the International Alliance for Mountain Film, which includes 27 mountaineering festivals that represent 20 different countries. Mendi Film Festival has been a member since 2011.

The collaboration agreement presented today, not only does it fill the festival with hope, but it also strengthens its already solid base. 

‘Top of Africa’, image of the poster for this 12th edition of Mendi Film

BBK MENDI FILM Bilbao Bizkaia has been presented with the image ‘Top of Africa’, from the American photographer Christian Pondella. Said picture received the ‘Cartel Mendi Film Festival’ award at the International Mountain Photo Context, CVCEPHOTO. It has thus become the image of this 12th edition. It is the third consecutive year that the association Club Vasco de Camping Elkartea (San Sebastian) and Mendi Film hand over the award.

The picture ‘Top of Africa’ is a spectacular photography taken at Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). In the image we can see Canadian climber, Will Gadd, as he ascends one of the last remnants of the rapidly disappearing glaciers on this mountain. Apart from being visually striking, it also makes us think about one of the biggest issues nowadays: climate change. 

WOP 2019 Award: Nives Meroi and Romano Benet


During the press conference, some of the most important news of BBK MENDI FILM Bilbao Bizkaia 2019 has been announced: alpinists Nives Meroi and Romano Benet will be honoured with the WOP award during the 12th edition of the festival. 

The couple has climbed all fourteen eight-thousanders without porters or oxygen bottles. Their first expedition to an eight-thousander happened 25 years ago, and they finished conquering them all in 2017. During all these years, they were forced to stop at some point, which proves the great human value of this roped team. 

Back in 2009, the couple was climbing Kanchenjunga, which was supposed to be their 12th eight-thousander. Near the top, Romano started feeling unwell. Nives was competing against Edurne Pasaban and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner in order to become the first woman to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. However, she did not think it twice: she turned around, as she was unable to leave Romano alone, who would otherwise have had to wait for her to return from the summit. After a very complicated descent, Romano was diagnosed with a very serious illness. Therefore, Nives decided she would pause their high-mountain challenge until her husband felt better. After two bone marrow transplants, Romano was fully recovered and back in the Himalayas. Together, as always, they summited the Crown of Himalaya in 2017, as they got to the top of Annapurna. 

The award granted by the WOP-The Walk On Project Foundation and Mendi Film rewards the defence and transmission of mountaineering values. In previous editions, the following have been awarded: Josep Manuel Anglada (2015), Sir Chris Bonington (2016), Peter Habeler (2017) and Juanjo San Sebastián (2018), alongside Jeremy Collins’ movie, Drawn (2014).  

Special ticket offer

In order to celebrate those milestones, tickets for the 12th edition of BBK MENDI FILM Bilbao Bizkaia festival will become available next 26th and 27th June. The offer will last 48 hours, and the audience will have the chance to buy tickets half their price. 

Only members of the MendiZale community will have the chance to enjoy such unique opportunity. Here is the link to become member of the MendiZale community:


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