Film Festival Award Winners

November 9, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Events & Entertainment

Once again the Banff Mountain Film Festival was jam packed with exciting and inspirational films, and here’s a quick list of the award winning films for 2008:

Grand Prize - The Last Nomads, directed and produced by Andrew Gregg (you can watch the whole movie here).
Best Feature Length Mountain Film - Stranded - I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains…, directed by Gonzalo Arijón, produced by Marc Silvera.
Best Film on Mountain Sports - Journey to the Center, directed by Jens Hoffmann, produced by Iiro Seppanen, Jeb Corliss.
Best Short Mountain Film - If You’re Not Falling, directed by Dave Brown, produced by Paul Diffley.
People’s Choice Award - Red Gold, directed by Ben Knight, Travis Rummel, produced by Travis Rummel.
People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels - Crux, directed by Alexander Lavigne, produced by Ryan Leech.
Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing - Committed 2: Grit Kids, directed by Paul Diffley, produced by Dave Brown.
Best Film on Mountain Culture - Tracking the White Reindeer, directed by Hamid Sardar, produced by Manuel Catteau.
Best Film on Mountain Environment - The Meadow, directed by Jan Haft, produced by Tom Synnatzschke.
Special Jury Award - Psyche: Patagonian Winter directed and produced by Alastair Lee, Seasons produced by Jamie Houssian, Saving Luna directed by Suzanne Chisholm, Michael Parfit, produced by Suzanne Chisholm.

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the film festival in Banff, you should try to see some of the award winning movies on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.

The Sharp End - Sender Films

November 4, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Events & Entertainment

As you might expect the Banff Mountain Film Festival tends to show several films of the rock climbing genre, indeed this viewer saw 3 in the first 2 days, plus many over the course of the past few festivals. You may be tempted to think that it’s all been done before, that is until you see The Sharp End.

While many climbing and mountaineering movies show athletes ‘pushing the limits’, none push them quite as far as the climbers in The Sharp End, which portrays several of the world’s top climbers, climbing at an extremely high level of risk, and of course reward.

We are fortunate to see Ammon McNeely show us his tricks on his home turf on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, McNeely’s climbing partner Chris McNamara base jumping in Europe, and Steph Davis free-soloing on the 1000 foot Perverted Sanctuary.

An incredible experience was had by Alex Honnold and others climbing spires on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany, with local legend Bernd Arnold as their guide, and without traditional gear or chalk!
Dean Potter perhaps gives us a glimpse of the future when he introduces the concept of ‘free base’ or ‘base solo’ (free climbing wearing a base jumping chute in case of a fall) on Deep Blue Sea (5.12+) on the north face of the Eiger.

While most of the time the viewer watches in awe of the sheer courage, ability and focus shown by these athletes, you can’t help thinking what motivates a person to go to such extreme levels of risk. Indeed the question is posed in the movie and goes unanswered.
Without doubt The Sharp End is one of the most thrilling rock climbing movies this viewer has seen and is guaranteed to get your heart pumping!

Find out more about this movie and other excellent climbing movies at

The Sharp End was shown on Nov 2nd 2008 as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival. It will be shown again on the weekend of Nov 8th and 9th as part of the Daytime Screenings Program A.

Grand Canyon Adventure - River at Risk

November 4, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Events & Entertainment

This movie uses a wonderful family rafting trip along the Colorado River to make a statement about the decreasing supply of water on the planet, and the ever increasing demand and misuse of this precious commodity. On the rafting adventure are Wade Davis, anthropologist, author and photographer, and his long time friend Robert Kennedy Jnr, chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance, and their daughters Tara Davis and Kick Kennedy.
Grand Canyon Adventure - River at Risk has a serious environmental message, but the viewer could be forgiven for losing themselves in the sheer beauty of the journey, with outstanding cinematography and amazing footage both from the air and at river level within the Grand Canyon. There is also an element of adventure, rafting through the fierce rapids of the Colorado River, and camping among ornate rock features along its banks. However, we are constantly reminded of the decrease in water levels through comparisons of various sections of the Colorado River with old photographs, and the much more obvious drops in levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, at the two major dams along the river. We are also told the story of the Anasazi, who were forced to abandon their important settlement of Chaco Canyon 1000 years ago due to a terrible drought at that time, and when we see the bright lights and fountains of Las Vegas, one of the major reasons for the lack of water in the Colorado River, we cannot help imagine that history may be on the verge of repeating itself.
At the end of the movie we are reminded how we can help to conserve water in our everyday lives, and even if you are already making those efforts, after being inspired by this movie you will probably try that little bit harder!
Narrated by Robert Redford, Grand Canyon Adventure - River at Risk is a beautiful movie and is strongly recommended.

Preview the film at the official website:

Grand Canyon Adventure - River at Risk was shown at the Banff Mountain Film Festival on Nov 1st 2008.

Film & Book Festival Highlights

October 31, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Events & Entertainment

The first weekend of the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival is almost upon us, and the schedule as always is packed full of interesting films, talks and seminars. From the amazing choice of exciting movies and inspirational speakers, we have drawn up our own shortlist of ‘must see’ events:

On Nov 1st and 2nd the festival starts with 3 feature length movies each day at noon, 3.30pm and 7.30pm. Movies that caught our eye for Saturday are Committed 2: Grit Kids, Grand Canyon Adventure — River at Risk, and Stranded — I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains. On Sunday, fans of climbing films will be eager to attend the 3.30pm show which features 2 rock climbing movies, The Sharp End and Spray: Window of Opportunity plus the mountain biking movie Latitudes. Also Zum Dritten Pol at the 7.30pm show looks like a very interesting film about 1930s mountaineering in the Himalayas.

Our next choice is the annual Radical Reels film on Nov 4th at 7.30pm, which shows a collection of adrenalin filled mountain sports movies.

On Nov 5th the book festival starts with talks from Sid Marty and John Vaillant. Sid Marty should be particularly interesting for Banff locals, as he has written several excellent books about this part of the Canadian Rockies, and will be reading from his latest book The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek, a true account of a spell of horrific bear attacks one summer in the town of Banff.

The opening of the main film festival at 8pm Nov 7th will see Austrian mountaineer Peter Habeler talk to a packed crowd in the Eric Harvie Theatre, hopefully relating some of his experiences with climbing partner Reinhold Messner, with whom he pioneered alpine style climbing and made the first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Our choice of the daytime screenings on Nov 8th and 9th is program B, and in particular Chadar — The Ice Trail about an isolated region of the Himalayas with an 8 month winter, Return to Nepal where musician Bruce Cockburn goes back to Nepal after a 20 year absence to see how life has changed there, and finally The Fine Line which promises an interesting spin on avalanche education with a combination of skiers, climbers and avalanche experts.

The team at will be attending several events ourselves and during the course of the festival we will be adding reviews to the site of some of the best movies and speakers, so stay tuned!

See the full film and book festival schedule and purchase tickets at the Banff Centre Website.

If you have your own list of favorites, or other views about the festival, please feel free to leave us a comment below.

Banff Mountain Film Festival

September 16, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Events & Entertainment

Nov 1-9 - one of the highlights of the Banff cultural calendar. Film makers and viewers come from all over the world to share their passion for mountain culture. The 33rd annual Banff Mountain Film Festival starts on the weekend of November 1st and 2nd with several feature length films each day. The main weekend of the festival is from November 7th-9th and includes 3 evenings, and 2 full days of films inspired by the mountains and other natural places. Speakers such as Peter Habeler and Jim Donini will preceed the screenings on Nov 7th and 8th.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an event not to be missed, and more information can be found on the Banff Centre website.