Banff Mountain Film Festival Preview

Dean Potter walks a highline at Cathedral Peak, from the film “Moonwalk” © Mikey Schaefer

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to Boulder this week on February 26 and 27 at the Boulder Theater. Every fall, the Banff Centre hosts a 9-day film and book festival in Banff, Alberta, bringing together top outdoor films and filmmakers, renowned speakers, and local and international adventure aficionados to celebrate mountain culture. A selection of top films from the festival then goes on tour, traveling to 32 countries for over 635 screenings that are customized by host committees for local audiences.

The Access Fund, a Boulder-based national climbing advocacy group and first-time host of the film festival in Boulder, headed up the selection committee that chose the 20 films showing  at the Boulder Theater. “We reviewed all the film trailers and all the comments from other audiences,” says Brady Robinson, Executive Director of the Access Fund. “Then we asked ourselves, what is Banff in Boulder? What have been the defining characteristics of Banff films versus other film festivals like Adventure Film or Reel Rock or any of the other festivals that come through? Based on that we came up with two distinct lineups for each night.”

The final selection is a mosaic of mountain life elements. There are epic adventures of skiing in Afghanistan, snowmobiling from Minnesota to Moscow and blitzkrieging New Zealand whitewater. There are environmental commentaries on pioneering solutions to highway building and its effects on wildlife.  And there are social stories about bringing visitation diversity into national parks.

Different and surprising – that was the goal of this year’s selection crew. “The best nights at Banff are usually with the films  that are unexpected,” says Robinson. “You’re getting a view into someone’s, or some group’s experience of a mountain environment in a way that you didn’t anticipate.”

Tickets for both nights are completely sold out, so you’ll have to bribe (Stout Month?) your pals and gals  into giving you their tickets.

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