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30 films of the Banff Mountain Film Festival That You should Not Miss

30 films of the Banff Mountain Film Festival That You should Not Miss

People doing crazy stunts, attempting never thought about feats, pushing their limits, going high on adventure, this is what Banff films are made of. A personal account of people trying to do the impossible, these films are just what you need to watch to get motivated to do something crazy in life. A world renowned Mountain Film Festival, Banff is looked upon as the epitome of all mountain films festivals. Here's all you need to know about Banff Mountain Film festival and the films of 2016/2017 out for the World Tour.

What is the Banff Mountain Film Festival

Launched in 1976, Banff Mountain Film Festival is an internationally acclaimed film competition. What began as a one day event in 1976 has now become a nine day festival which is held in the first week of November each year in Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. Approximately 300 films compete each year and it is a privilege for people when their films get featured in Banff. As soon as the festival ends at the Banff center in Alberta, the Mountain Film Festival World Tour starts where the movies are showcased worldwide in almost 40 countries with approximately 840 screenings. Banff Mountain Film festival Image Source: Banff Mountain Film Festival is a very unique film festival as it celebrates the spirit of outdoors and adventure. The presentation of films feature short films and documentaries on mountain culture, extreme sports such as skiing, climbing, kayaking, BASE jumping, snowboarding and mountain biking which are high on adrenaline and also on various environmental issues. There are also many underlying themes of culture, heritage, people in these films which entice you to watch them till the end. Banff films Image Source: Banff Mountain Film Festival is not just about the competition and film screenings, it has also witnessed eminent speakers like Reinhold Messner, Sir Edmund Hillary, and many others. The festival also has a trade show, art and craft fair, photo exhibitions works shops on Mountain Wilderness writing and many more things. Simultaneously along with the Film festival, Banff Mountain Book Festival is held too. This festival celebrates the spirit of mountain literature and brings it to Banff. There is a book competition held too. Climbers, photographers, cinematographers, adventure freaks all consider Banff Mountain Film Festival as the place where their passion gets recognition. These films at Banff are supremely amazing like no other contemporary outdoor films. Here’s a list of the films which are out for the World Tour. Are you in for the thrill?

2016/17 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Films

1. Danny MacAskill's Wee Day Out

2016 UK / Duration: 6 mins | Directed by: Stu Thompson

When it comes to street trials riding, having perfect control on the bike, doing sky high jumps, Danny MacAskill is the person who defines these to the T. Danny is just mind boggling on his bike and he creates magic when he rides it. 'Danny MacAskill's Wee Day Out' is about the ‘normal’ day out of Danny on his bike. The rural landscape of Edinburgh gives you serious travel goals and also motivates you to experience some thrill. Be ready from some humorous shenanigans from Danny.

2. The Accord

2016 USA / Duration: 19 mins | Directed by: RC Cone

Iceland is an unforgiving place yet there is beauty even in this land of harsh weather. ‘The Accord’ is a stunning short film about the surfers in Iceland. Yes! There are surfers in Iceland who beat the North Atlantic Winds and surf! The film follows Heiðar Logi Elíasson an  Icelandic Surfer and his journey in Surfing. The most striking thing is people all over the world have no idea that surfing exists in Iceland. As the director RC Cone says, Banff The Accord This film is about these surfers who win over the difficulties and follow their passion to surf. It's about the relationship between the surfers and the Wind.

The film won the Creative Excellence Award at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival

3. Ace and the Desert Dog

2016 USA / Duration: 9 mins | Directed by: Brendan Leonard, Forest Woodward, Stefan Hunt

Day 1: “Going for a walk with Man! He didn’t say how far…”

               -Desert Dawg

Meet Dawg,  the pet dog of the photographer (The Man) Ace Kvale who sets out on a 60 day trek in the canyons of Utah. Dawg’s name is Genghis Khan and it was pretty natural that he would join Ace for the trek on the occasion of Ace’s 60th birthday. Ace and Dawg
Ace and Dawg
Image Source: ‘Ace and the Desert Dog’ is a beautiful film showcasing how deglam backpacking is and even with it’s challenges and difficulties you do find the meaning of life when you are with nature. Shot in the picturesque canyons of Utah many people joined Ace in different sections for the trek but Dawg stays with him till the end.

Now isn't Genghis Khan witty? Watch the film to know him more!

4. Being Hear

2016 USA / Duration: 10 mins | Directed by: Palmer Morse and Matt Mikkelsen

Emmy Award winning nature sound recordist and acoustic ecologist, Gordon Hempton talks about how silence is on extinction in our lives. He talks about how important is listening for us and to understand how we have hampered Mother Earth with noise pollution. This short film is Gordon’s portrayal about his work to save the few remaining quiet places from noise pollution. The film is shot in the only rainforest of USA, the Olympic Peninsula. The intrusion of Human activity on majority of places on earth has taken away all the comfortable silence and natural sounds of nature. This film is Gordon’s quest to save this silence of Planet Earth.

5. Dog Power (Tour Edit)

2016 USA / Duration: 25 mins | Directed by: Jordan Schevene

“There is no sport like this because you are trusting your dog! I can’t explain it in words.”

-Dog Power

Dog Power is all about the relationship between the human and his dog. It’s about these canine athletes and their musher (driver of the sled dog) and the feats they achieve together. In this film the dog powered sports are in focus and how they have gained popularity which is rightly explained in the film,

6. Doing it Scared

2016 Australia/ Duration: 12 mins | Directed by: Matthew Newton

'Doing it Scared' is a film about determination, risk and finishing the unfinished task. Paul Pritchard was a renowned climber in the 1980s and 1990s and was famous for his bold ascents. Tragedy struck in 1998 when he was hit by a falling rock the size of a TV while abseiling the Totem Pole in Tasmania. The injury was life threatening, so much so that the accident left him with hemiplegia, where he was semi paralysed, which means there is little feeling or movement in the right side of this body. Doing it Scared Image Source:

The accident did not deter him from coming back to Totem Pole after 18 years. In this film Paul attempts the Totem Pole again. Watch the film to know whether he succeeds or fails.

7. DreamRide

2016 Canada/ Duration: 5 mins | Directed by: Ryan Gibb

DreamRide is literally a mountain Biking Dream Ride. Filmed in Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington, the film has some stunning scenes. The rider Mike Hopkins creates magic in the forest trails and makes it seem unending. As he says, This film is a dream ride of amazing visuals and crazy mountain biking. Watch it to believe it.

8. Elk River

2016 USA/ Duration: 28 mins | Directed by: Jenny Nichols , Joe Riis

Shot in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Elk River is a documentation of the Elk migrations. Each of the person involved in the documentation do it in their own mediums. The scientist Arthur Middleton, photojournalist Joe Riis and contemporary artist James Prosek interpret the migration through data driven science, photography and original painting. Elk River Image Source: Directed Jenny Nichols and Photojournalist Joe Riis, as they trek through the beautiful vistas of the Yellowstone National park, they come across  landowners, ranch managers and many others and walk in the footsteps of this majestic animal.

9. Fast Forward

2016 USA/ Duration: 8 mins | Directed by: Ryan Heffernan and Grayson Schaffer

Bikepacking is a very intriguing way of travelling to places. Seeking adventure on a self driven trip on a lightly loaded bike is the most rough thing you can do. In this short film, Ultra-long-distance bikepacker Lael Wilcox is in a race with the Arizona Trail. Lael Wilcox is someone who loves to ride fast. She has spent six months each year pedaling around the world and travelling to places on her bike. In this film we get insights into her life and her passion for riding fast. This Arizona trail is the most challenging trail she will venture on to. As she says,
“In this race there is no entry fee and there’s no price to win. It’s just about being out there and riding fast.”
Does she complete it? You won't know till you watch it.

10. FIFTY - The Movie (Tour Edit)

2016 New Zealand/ Duration: 3 mins | Directed by: John-Jo Ritson

To what extent can someone push oneself to do something good for society? People do exist who push themselves to do unimaginable feats. Meet Malcolm Law. The man who attempted to run 50 marathons over 50 peaks in just 50 days, all around New Zealand.  He is joined by many like minded people who support him in the endeavour. Malcolm-Law Malcolm Law
Image Source: But you would ask why would he do it? Mal Law decided to do this to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation. This short film is the account of his adventure and how when you are determined to fulfill a purpose you can do the impossible.

The film out for the Banff tour is just a 3 min tour edit whereas the original film is of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

11. For The Love (Tour Edit)

2016 / Duration: 1 hr 60 sec | Directed by: Todd Wells

The Wells brothers are sheer explorers. A childhood love for rivers, these brothers set out on a journey to explore the white water where no human has dared kayaking before. The brothers love exploring never before paddled rivers and this film is all about their exploration. In this journey they explore many places like the West Coast, Ecuador, Iceland too and meet many inspiring and pro kayakers. The film focuses on the struggles and rewards of discovering new rivers, and also features elite paddlers pushing the limits of gravity. Kayakers in the film Image Source: These brothers have done all they can to reach the waters. Be it going through the dense Ecuadorian jungle with machetes or strapping kayaks to Alaskan bush planes, the struggle is real.

The film out for the Banff tour is just a 16 min tour edit whereas the original film is of 1 hour and 60 seconds.

12.Four Mums In A Boat (Tour Edit)

2015 / Duration: 44 min | Directed by: Simon Tucker

How would you react if your Mom comes to you and says she wants to row the Atlantic Ocean? You would think she’s out of her mind, won’t you? These ‘Four Mums In A Boat’ in their 40s and 50s did row the Atlantic Ocean and made a world record as oldest all-female crew to row across ocean. The Four Mums, Janette Benaddi, 51, Frances Davies, 47, Niki Doeg, 46, and Helen Butters, 45, participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The Four Mums The Four Mums
Image Source:Banff Centre This Rowing Competition is considered to be the toughest challenge in the world. You really need to be a person with immense grit and determination when you are faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation and many other things which can happen on water.That’s why the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the world’s toughest row. These Mums also faced many ups and down while aboard the 8m by 1.5m boat. They encountered a hurricane, there were power failures, attacks from flying fish, sea sickness and injuries. Yet these Mums with no prior endurance experience did accomplish this crazy feat.

The film out for the Banff tour is just a 30 min tour edit whereas the original film is of 44 minutes.

13. The Great Siberian Traverse

2015 USA / Duration: 28 min | Directed by: Leo Hoorn

“But it is in the search of the unknown, we write our greatest stories.”

-The Great Siberian Traverse

Could you ever think of spending 70 hours in a train? Your destination freezing cold? The Great Siberian Traverse is a short film of Team skiers Ingrid Backstrom, Callum Pettit, and Nick Martini who travelled all the way to Russia in the Trans-Siberian Railway for a 6000-mile ski journey. It talks about all the exciting things and struggles that this team of skiers goes through on their adventure. httThe Great Siberian Traversep:// Image Source: This short film is created in collaboration with POWDER Magazine and the epic film makers, Sherpas Cinema. You are in for some amazing visual treats of some of the most remote communities and mountains in Russia.

14. Gyalmu's House

2016 UK / Duration: 19 min | Directed by: Gavin Carver, Asmita Shrish

“Where is the green now? It seems like a strange land to us now.”

-Nima Gyalmu

It’s always a story of struggle and hardships when you try to rebuild your life after a tragedy. It is in these tough times that you need to be strong and Nima Gyalmu is way above that. Nima Gyalmu Photo Credit: Gavin Carver Nima Gyalmu lost her home in Langtang Valley, Nepal when a huge earthquake in 2015 gave way to avalanches and landslides. This short film, ‘Gyalmu’s House’ is the story of how Nima rebuilds her abode in the mountains, how she comes to terms with the changed landscape which she has called home for years. It is a story of her extraordinary strength, dignity, and humour in dire times.

15. Iran: A Skier's Journey

2016 UK / Duration: 12 mins | Directed by: Jordan Manley

Iran: A Skier's Journey is one of the films from the ‘A Skier’s Journey’ film series by Jordan Manley. Jordan Manley, 32 a North Vancouver based photographer and videographer started his  project 'A Skier’s Journey' in 2010. The first episode was about ski touring in Kashmir. Following this there have been many episodes of skiing in locations of Baffin Island, Dubai and many more. Iran: A Skier's Journey film In this film he explores the skiing community in Iran with two skiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots. Be ready to see the beautiful locations of Iran and some breathtaking drone shots too.

16. Max Your Days

2016 Canada / Duration: 5 mins | Directed by: Dave Mossop

Max Your Days is just what it means. Max as much as you can in your day and who better to help you with it than North Face and Sherpa Cinemas?  North Face celebrates the longest day of the Summer Solstice in a unique way. Max Your Days Image Source: Max Your Days is an adrenaline rushing short film about how you can max in all the craziness in 24 hours. The film has everything from skiing and snowboarding, to skateboarding, to mountain biking, to kayaking, climbing, BBQ-ing, wake-skating, cliff jumping, surfing, prop-plane flying and so on, all packed into a 24-hour span. Watching this film feels like there are endless possibilities one can think of in 24 hours. Here’s Max Your Days, squeezing as much adventure they can in a day from dawn to dusk.

17. Metronomic (Tour Edit)

2015 / Duration: 5 mins | Directed by: Vladimir Cellier

THIS IS DOWNRIGHT CRAZY! Trust us on this. ‘Metronomic’ is the sheer definition of crazy.

Metronomic is a blend of proficient and talented stunts men, aerial dancing high level balancing athletes and the band members from the band Radio Monkey. What they do is just phenomenal. Creating high energy symphony up in the air is just what you term crazy. And these talented bunch do it! Metronomic Image Source: Up on one of the most beautiful river canyons of Europe, Gorges du Verdon, these bunch of artists just take their art to a whole new level literally! A visual performance like no other this short film is pure entertainment so much so that this film has won the Best Film in the Mountain sports category at Banff.

18. Mira

2016 Hong Kong S.A.R., China / Duration: 42 mins | Directed by: Lloyd Belcher

“She turned up in just a cotton t-shirt and long running pants, and carrying nothing, no water, no food, nothing. Several hours later She’d won this race.”


This is the story of Mira Rai, a village girl from Nepal with big dreams. Her dream? To become a recognized Mountain Runner. Mira ran away from her home to follow her dreams. As a young adult she joined the Maoist army till she travelled to Kathmandu. Broke and low on confidence she thought of coming back home. Mira Rai Image Source: But one fine day on a morning run she met a runner and came to know about a local running competition. She participates and wins realising that her upbringing in the mountain has trained her well for this sport. This is Mira’s story, an ordinary girl who wins through adversities.This film is her journey through some of the tough decisions she takes and also the opportunities she grasps with open arms.

19. Northbound

2015 Norway/ Duration: 11 mins | Directed by: Jorn Nyseth Ranum

Gushing waters, foamy waves, frozen sand and skate boards? Northbound is an all in all jaw dropping short film of Skateboarding on the frozen sand beaches in Norway. Four skaters, Karsten Kleppan, Henrik Lund,Hermann Stene & Didrik Galasso set out on the cold coast of Norway to showcase their skating skills. Northbound Image Source: Northbound is like a painted canvas with a nice beach, frozen sand and beautiful pastel skies so much so that it has won the Best Short Mountain Film  Award at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival.

20. Packing It Out: Cleaning America's Wild Trails

2016 USA/ Duration: 4 mins | Directed by: Colin Arisma, Luke Kantola

Seth Omre and Paul Twedt founded the ‘Packing it Out’ Project in 2014 with the idea to keep the beloved outdoors clean, rehabilitate trails and wild spaces all over North America. The duo is passionate about saving the planet from waste which people leave behind in their outdoor excursions. Seth personally feels that it is us who are responsible for this dire state of Planet Earth and rightly so. This duo has since then inspired many to join them on this venture. Packing It Out: Cleaning America's Wild Trails is the effort these guys go through while clearing out the Pacific Crest Trail.

21. The Perfect Flight

2016 USA/ Duration: 5 mins| Directed by: Josh Izenberg

Falconry is where you train the majestic bird of prey, and use it for hunting in natural habitats. Falconry is an art and is tough to master. In today's times, falconry is a boon as it literally saves the birds from all sorts of toxic waste they eat like PCBs and DDT. The Perfect Flight Image Source: Falconry is a tradition. It’s an art. The Perfect Flight is about a falconer, Shawn Hayes. This short film is about how Shawn fell in love with falconry when he caught a white falcon in the rough neighbourhoods of LA. Never expecting he would love it and come this far this film is his journey with his Falcon and the art of falconry.

22. Poumaka

2016 USA/ Duration: 15 mins | Directed by: Andy Mann, Keith Ladzinski

Poumaka is a story of blood sweat and tears. To add to it there is also mud, rain, crumbling wet flora and some amazing tower climbing. It’s a story of two climbers attempting to climb the gnarliest of tower on this earth: The 1500 ft high volcanic spire Poumaka, in the wet and dense jungle Ua Pou of French Polynesia. Climber Angie Payne is a bouldering champion and the first woman to ever climb in the climbing grade of V13. Angie Payne Image Source; Mike Libecki a national geographic explorer, has visited Poumaka in 2012 but never went ahead than the base. This time he teamed up with Angie and finally attempted climbing the tower. The climb up the tower takes every ounce of strength of these climbers. All that they have achieved till date is out to test while climbing. Like Angie Payes says in the film, Here's the trailer of the film.

23. Ruin and Rose (Tour Edit)

2016 / Duration: 7 mins | Directed by: Ben Sturgulewski

A World all consumed by sand and there is no water. A world called The Big Empty. The last remnants of this world are a group of children who survive on this lone edge of the desert. From somewhere a young boy unearths a relic of the long forgotten wonders of winter and he sets out on a journey to find these ghosts who called the mountains their home. Ruin and Rose Image Source: This is how director Ben Sturgulewski has set the tone for this skiing film. Extremely mesmerising cinematography, this film will grip you from the very start. The freeskiers in this film ski through the toughest slopes of Alaska and Africa’s Skeleton Coast contrast seamlessly as the Empty World. This film is sure to spark your imagination.  

24. Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World (Tour Edit)

2016 / Duration: 1hr 29 mins | Directed by: Nico Edwards

Infinity is a 120ft handbuilt sailing ketch. Infinity sets out on the Pacific Ocean on a one of a kind voyage. A crew of wanderers, they set out on a perilous 8000 mile pacific crossing journey onboard Infinity, where they battle ice hurricanes, mechanical and flooding problems and what not! From New Zealand to Patagonia with a stop in Antarctica this crew worked on no permits no insurance and immensely low budget. When Nico was asked in an interview about why should the audience watch this film, this is what he said,

The film out for the Banff tour is just a 46 min tour edit whereas the original film is of 1 hour 29 minutes.


2016 Canada / Duration: 28 mins | Directed by: Kelly Milner

A small territorial place in Canada called Yukon suddenly got popular globally. You ask why? The youth of Yukon have made world class mountain biking trails and have evolved Carcross in Yukon into a global mountain biking destination. Shift is their story. It’s a story about these youth in Carcross who have toiled hard for 10 years making these biking trails which are now world renowned. The film is not just about mountain biking but also about how these youth got a purpose in life because of this, how positive an impact it had on them. The director Kelly Milner bought a small piece of land in Carcross and that’s when she came across these youth and that’s how the idea of Shift was born. As she said in an interview,

SHIFT won the People's Choice Award  at  the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

26. The Super Salmon

2016 / Duration:25 mins | Directed by: Ryan Peterson

The Super Salmon is a film about passion to save one’s ecosystem. The Susitna River is in huge danger from the second tallest dam being built on it. A $5.2 billion hydroelectric mega Dam. What’s more shocking is the effect it will have on the species of Salmon in the Susitna river. Yes the protagonist of this film is the Super Salmon and the Villain is the Dam. The Super Salmon Image Source: This short film is a story about the tight knit community who strive hard to overrule the government's idea of building a dam which will surely hamper the people who live by the river. Haunting background score, stunning visuals and a balance of comic moments, Ryan Peterson made Salmon the King of the story. The Super Salmon won the Special Jury Mention Award at the  Banff Mountain Film Festival.

27.Trail Dog

2016 South Africa/ Duration: 5 mins | Directed by: Christian Denslow

"Like most dogs, they have it figured out: happiness is so much simpler than you might think."

-Trail Dog

Running is one sport which liberates you. Once you start running nothing else exists. But what if you have a dog to give you company. Things automatically turn happy and lively. TrailDog Image Source: Banff Center Trail dog is a film which traces the story of runner Gaëtan Ugnon-Fleury and his beloved dogs, Pépite and Jolyn. It’s a beautiful short film about the most purest of relationships ever: one of the man and a dog.

28.When We Were Knights

2016 USA/ Duration: 12 mins | Directed by: Anson Fogel

‘When We Were Knights’ is a heart wrenching story of two friends who happen to be BASE Jumpers.  Matt Blank and Ian Flanders are brothers more than friends. The relationship, the emotions of the film are so strong it just make you feel the loss. BASE Jumpers risk their lives every time they jump but that's what makes them value life too. matthew blank ian flanders Image Source: Ian Flanders died in a BASE Jumping accident in Turkey. This film is about the loss of life and love and how Matt copes with it after losing his brother to sport they love.

29.Young Guns

2016 USA/ Duration: 30 mins | Directed by: Nick Rosen, Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer

A sport which is dominated by trained professionals, Ashima Shiraishi and Kai Lightner are breaking all stereotypes. Ashima, 15 and Kai, 16 are the gen next when it comes to the global climbing scene. These two climbers are already taking the sport to a whole new level. Ashima Ashima Shiraishi
Image Source: Ashima and Kai first met in the Ring of Fire Massachusetts in 2014 where they became close friends. Ashima and Kai are the youngest climbers in this sport and this film is about their learning experience. The film focuses on a summer break taken by the two in which they attempt the Hanshelleren cave, an enormous overhanging swath of granite. It has the highest concentration of the hardest (5.15) sport-climbing routes on earth. Still learning how to control emotions when you fail at climbing and doing it gracefully, this is a film of taking things in one’s stride and growing from it.

30. Devotion: Libby Peter

2016 USA/ Duration: 5 mins | Directed by: Matt Pycroft

One of the most respected climber in the UK, as Libby Peter turns 50 she talks about how climbing as a sport has shaped her life till date. Libby has gone through different stages in life which have one thing constant: Climbing. She becomes a mother of two, Ruby and Zoe. She also manages to becomes a British Mountain Guide. Libby Peter Libby Peter Image As she passionately says,

These films are varied in the ideas they give forward. But we guarantee that with each film you will take something back with you. The stories of these extraordinary people is exactly what you need to feel, ‘If you believe in yourself, You can conquer’.

Banff films are also touring in India and will be screened by The Himalayan Club. Also we do watch these films right here in our cozy little working space. So if you are in for a screening do let us know and we will be glad to host you.


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