Updated: Nov 15, 2021
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2015 Presented by the Alpine Club of Canada – Manitoba Section Saturday, January 17, 2015 7:00 p.m. Burton Cummings (Walker) Theatre Attendance: 1,500 (sold out) Reviewed by Christine Mazur
Sweeping landscapes, stunning cinematography, athletic ingenuity and compassionate, compelling storytelling sum up this year’s selection of films presented at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Manitoba Section presentation of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
There was something for everyone – a goal the organizers strive for each year – and have down almost to a science after 22 years of bringing the show to town. The first half of the show started with a series of six shorts all under 10 minutes and ended with a 37 minute feature. After intermission, the three-hour show ended with two features under 40 minutes and a 5 minute short.
The high-energy crowd was rewarded with high-energy art mixed with beautiful human stories. World-renowned mountain biker Danny MacAskill returned to his roots on Scotland’s Isle of Skye in The Ridge, riding impossibly steep and rugged mountain ridges and slopes to a soaring soundtrack of dance-infused gaelic folk.
Three short films about mountain ski/snowboarding were refreshingly different from what has become common in extreme sports films featuring skiers barrelling through powder down big mountains to a loud hip-hop soundtrack. Instead, each of these gems had inventive visual art or meaningful stories to add substance. The Little Things was about Canadian Haida snowboarder Meghann O’Brien’s exploration of her First Nation roots and paired sweeping visions of her cascading down powdery mountains with close-ups of her smudging, weaving and dancing in traditional costume. Afterglow (a special three-minute edit) from Sweetgrass Productions experimented with painting big mountains with light-covered skiers in the dark. The effect was spectacular. The show’s closer Sundog, wordlessly conveyed the beautiful relationship between Argentinian skier Santiago Guzman and his best friend Conga in this beautifully shot big mountain skiing-with-dog film.
Touch, a six-minute dream of flight captured grace and daring of Jean-Baptiste Chandelier hang-gliding above Santorini in Greece, the Aguille du Midi above Chamonix, and the Col du Galibier in France.
Never-give-up attitudes were inspired through Caleb, a former snowboarder-turned-paraplegic olympic kayaker post-accident, and And Then We Swam a “don’t try this at home” adventure of two non-athletes with no rowing experience who attempted an impossible crossing of the Indian Ocean and survived – barely.
A most heartwarming, mountain culture film was Tashi and the Monk, about a former Buddhist monk and his Himalayan home for abandoned and abused children, and the youngest, naughtiest member of his large family. Tashi is violent and unfriendly, having been rescued from her abusive, alcoholic father and whose mother had died, but slowly learns to open up to her new surroundings while the monk struggles with trying to find room in his overflowing school for more children in desperate need of help.
This year’s films offered an excellent mix of inspiration and adventure, visual beauty and human interest stories. Door prizes given away by the Banff Centre and the ACC Manitoba Section sponsors were impressive as always!
More information about the Banff Mountain Film Festival is available at www.banffmountainfestival.ca. The Alpine Club of Canada Manitoba Section welcomes volunteers and new members. For more information about the Club, please visit www.accmanitoba.ca