Review: Banff Mountain Film Festival


BANFFIn 1995 I got it into my head to travel by Greyhound from Vancouver to Toronto. I thought bussing my way across Canada mid-winter would be interesting. Not so much as it turns out. Think the Karoo covered in snow.

There were highlights however – a couple of days in the Rockies being undoubtedly the best. Tucked away in Alberta, Canada is the picture postcard pretty little town of Banff where not only did I try my hand at snowboarding, but I also saw my first moose. That town has had my number ever since.

I later discovered that Banff is famous for more than just its great skiing terrain and scenic backdrop. This sleepy hollow is also home to The Banff Centre, Canada’s creative leader in arts and culture, and the place where hundreds of entries are received from hopeful mountain-based extreme sport and adventure filmmakers across the globe for possible inclusion in the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Whether you’re an outdoor adventure enthusiast, adrenalin junkie or a couch potato, The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour is worth checking out.  The nine short films that have been selected for the 2013 World Tour include All.I.Can: The Short Cut, Origins – Obe & Ashima, C.A.R.C.A, From the Inside Out and Concrete Dreams, and are almost without exceptionfirmly in the ‘yowzers’ / ‘you should NOT try this at home’ category of film.

Frontier features huge waterfalls, remote areas, breathtaking scenery, and some of the most challenging whitewater ever paddled, while White Water Grand Prix brings together 20 of the world’s best kayakers for a six-stage competition on some truly spectacular white water.

There’s a special fascination about people who appear to have no regard for danger. It’s amazing that no one died as kayakers were filmed hurling themselves down impossibly high and freakishly tumultuous rapids in nothing more than bright yellow Tupperware clogs.

Rock climbing is another endeavour that is fascinating to watch even if you would never dream of trying it for yourself. For some though, ‘because it’s there’ is enough of a reason to climb it… regardless of what or where ‘it’ may be. Chad’s EnnediDesertis a hot, sand-scoured and unfriendly place, but it also boasts majestic spires, towers, and rock formations. In Towers of the Ennedi, veteran climber Mark Synnott and young climbing stars Alex Honnold and James Pearson travel toChad to explore its untouched landscapes.

The festival saved the best (and craziest) for last however. Andy Lewis in Sketchy Andy takes slacklining into the future as he solos the world’s longest high-lines and masters the hardest aerial tricks, in some cases in the nude (because that’s how he rolls). Watching him, one can’t help but wonder when he’ll go too far.

All nine films are presented as a single screening once daily from 26 October – 1 November 2012 at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country.  For more information and to watch the trailer, check out

by Angela Gaye Horn

Angela Gaye Horn was invited to a preview of the BANFF Mountain Film Festival, which runs 26 October – 1 November 2012 at Cavendish and Tygervalley Ster Kinekor cinemas.

See images from the Banff Mountain Film Festival


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