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2013-06-01 Steve Gardiner The Banff Mountain Film Festival

Sometimes people just get it right. That is the case with the folks who run the Banff Mountain Film Festival. I have watched the films for over 25 years and each time I leave with a sense of awe and wonder.

The Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta (http://www.banffcentre.ca/) sponsors a variety of creative endeavors in the visual arts, literary arts, music, theatre, opera, and film. They bring together talent and innovation in a setting that itself is inspirational. The combination of people and place are electric and the results are stunning.


The Film Festival begins with a competition. Hundreds of adventure filmmakers submit their works. Selected pieces are shown during a week-long festival in October and the best of those films, usually about ten films ranging from two minutes to an hour, make the cut for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour (http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/worldtour/).


For example, the 2013 World Tour included:

  • Unicorn Sashimi, 6 minutes, powder skiing

  • Highway Wilding, 13 minutes, building bridges for wildlife to cross highways

  • Lily Shreds Trailside, 4 minutes, a dog who races mountain bike trails

  • Crossing the Ice, 44 minutes, an account of two Australians who skied unsupported to the South Pole and back

  • Industrial Revolutions, 5 minutes, a trick biker who turns an abandoned ironworks into a cycling playground

  • 1st Afghan Ski Challenge, 16 minutes, teaching locals to downhill ski in Afghanistan

  • Huck, 6 minutes, kayaking off 80-foot waterfalls

  • Reel Rock, 33 minutes, gripping footage of Alex Honnold free solo climbing walls in Yosemite

  • On Thin Sea Ice 2, 2 minutes, skating and swimming on Norwegian sea ice


The variety of these films is only surpassed by the quality and the award-winning films that make the world tour leave viewers breathless, inspired, and awestruck. They tug at something deep in the human spirit and give us a fresh view of life and its possibilities.


See the above websites for locations of the World Tour, dates of showings, and dates/events at the Banff Centre. I've watched the World Tour many times and know that a visit to the Banff Centre, preferably in October to see the full Mountain Film Festival is on my short list of things to do soon.

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