Every year the Banff Film and Book Competition is held at Banff, Alberta Canada. This is an international competition and an annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports, and environment. It was launched in 1976 as The Banff Festival of Mountain Films by The Banff Centre. Held concurrently is the Banff Mountain Book Festival which brings the spirit of mountain literature to Banff, and features guest speakers, readings, seminars, and an international book competition.
Even if you can’t make it to the actual festivities in Canada, you can still get a taste of it through the touring film festival. Hubs and I attend the Banff Film Festival every year when it hits our area. When you attend the film festival you are going to see about three hours worth of short films on outdoor sports and nature. Each hosting area gets to choose a smattering of films from all the films that won awards that year to show.
I have to start by showing you the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Trailer Tour. The energy at the film festival every year is incredible and when this trailer comes on, my heart starts to race. This is one of the reasons I love to come every year. I feed off of the vibe and use it to fuel my excitement for my own adventures. It’s a seriously cool event!
My favorite films of the night were (the links will lead you to the film trailers)…
A Line Across the Sky “Long considered impossible, coveted by many and attempted by a few, the Fitz Traverse has fueled the imaginations of climbers in Patagonia for decades. Tracing the iconic skyline of Cerro Fitz Roy and its six satellite peaks, it spans four miles and 13,000 feet across snow and ice-covered rock, with epic route finding and endless rapelling. Seizing their chance during a rare extended weather window, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold went big. The pair completed the first ascent in a five-day push during February 2014.” (Holy shit! I really wish I could link to the entire video but you have to pay for that. It’s worth watching.)
The Important Places “Using a mix of old 16mm footage and new footage…we document the special bond of father and son while exploring the necessity of returning to “The Important Places” in our lives.” (This one made me cry)
The Last Dragons “An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander that lives as much in myth as in reality…. and in many waters, myths are all that remain of these sentinel stream-dwellers.” (This one made me cry too)
Eclipse “The odds are low, the risks are high – photographer Reuben Krabbe is determined to capture a photo of a skier in front of the 2015 solar eclipse in Svalbard. But the weather’s bad, the guide is sketchy, the pressure is massive, and the skiers just want to ski.” (What an amazing trip)
Here’s a look at the 2015 winners of the book competition. If I can get my hands on copies, I’d really like to read…
Alpine Warriors, Bernadette McDonald “During the thirty years following the war [WWI], a Yugoslavian passport was one of the best in the world, and Yugoslavians could travel freely during this time, if they had the money. Most did not. But alpinists did. Through centralized government programs that established elaborate training régimes and state-supported expeditions abroad, Yugoslavian alpinists began making impressive climbs in the Himalaya as early as 1960.”
The Adventure Game, Keith Partridge “If some astonishing location has amazed you on television, or you have watched a climber, or explorer, in some outrageous position, the chances are that Keith Partridge was there with his camera. From the caves of Papua New Guinea to the summit of Mount Everest, no location has been too dangerous, no environment too wild, for his daring and consummate artistry. In this lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed volume Keith Partridge tells his story, describes the challenges and discusses the daring adventurers he has [had].”
As an outdoor enthusiast, I love this event and really look forward to it. Even if you’re not super outdoorsy, I guarantee you’ll be inspired by the films and books included.
Do you participate in any of these kinds of sports? I’ve dabbled in rock climbing and I cycle some but my main outdoor love is hiking.