Article Published: Sep. 12 | Modified: Sep. 22
A ticket to the Banff Mountain Film Festival is like a
ticket to the world.
From the snow-capped peak of Mt. Denali to the treacherous
slopes of El Capitan to the frozen deserts of Antarctica, the celebrated festival brings some of the
planet’s most extreme locales — and those who brave them — to the silver
And for the 17th year, they’ll find their way to Appalachian State
University for one of the most popular — and already sold-out — stops on the Banff Mountain Film
Festival World Tour. The screenings take place Sept. 20 and 21.
to be one of the most appreciative and enthusiastic audiences that we play to on the tour,” said
Seana Strain, Banff world tour coordinator, in a previous interview. “Our staff love coming to
Boone. The array of themes in the films seems to speak to this community. They enjoy a wide range of
film subjects, from adrenaline sports to cultural journeys. The diversity of interests makes Boone a
wonderful tour stop.”
The film festival, founded in 1976, is one of the flagship
programs of The Banff Centre, based in Banff, Alberta, Canada, and described on its website as “the
largest arts and creativity incubator on the planet.”
The festival was started
when a tight-knit group of outdoors enthusiast sought an annual entertainment that would entertain
during the shoulder season between climbing and skiing, the description
“I love that this event started as a local gathering in a small
mountain town and now travels the world, visiting about 350 locations, about 245,000 people,
approximately 32 countries, seven continents,” Strain said. “It’s a thrill to look at our Facebook
page and see the positive reactions coming from all corners of the world.”
those corners is Boone, where Rich Campbell, director of ASU Outdoor Programs, helps coordinate the
Typically held in March, the High Country tour stop was
postponed due to the extensive renovations of Farthing Auditorium, now called the Schaefer Center
for the Performing Arts. The festival stop will return to its regular schedule for the 2013-14 world
tour in March 2014.
“It’s always been a fun place to see film, but I think it’ll
probably be one of the better places now,” Campbell said of the Schaefer Center, noting that the 16
selected films will be shown in high definition. “We’ve got a fantastic screen, the audio has been
beefed up, and the sightlines are just amazing.”
Per tradition, some of the
featured filmmakers will make an appearance to discuss their work. On Friday, Sept. 20, filmmakers
Benjamin Jordan and Godfrey Masauli will present their film, “The Boy Who Flies,” the story of two
men who aim to paraglide from Mt. Mulanje, the highest peak in Malawi, Africa. According to the
film’s description, “Things go well until they discover that one has taken on a little more than he
has bargained for — and the other has never learned to paraglide.”
Masauli will also host an introduction to paragliding workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept.
21, at the Tater Hill Paragliding Open competition area just outside of Boone, followed by a
question-and-answer session from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Footsloggers courtyard in downtown
Both events are free and open to the public.
“It’s really going
to be quite fun to have Benjamin and Godfrey here,” Campbell said. “This will be the first time
Benjamin has been in the U.S., and Boone will be his first taste of it.”
nights’ screenings start at 7:30 p.m. sharp, so Campbell encourages folks to come early. Live music
will start at 6:30 p.m., and vendors and informational booths will also be on hand for pre-festival
“I think part of what’s so fun about this event is even if you
can’t relate to someone following a dream of climbing this rock or starting a paragliding school,
it’s a great metaphor for just following whatever your passion is,” Campbell said. “And for us, it’s
a great way to encourage people to develop a relationship with the natural world in some way. All of
the themes here can let us learn a lot about ourselves and each other.”
“Some undertake their first big adventures because of a film,” she said.
“Some finally plan trips they’ve dreamed of for years, and sometimes people radically change their
lives, taking on a new career.”
For more information on the Banff Mountain Film
Festival World Tour and The Banff Centre, visit http://www.banffcentre.ca
and op.appstate.edu. For more
information on Saturday’s public programs, call (828) 262-4077.
(Films and show times are subject to change)
Special Jury Mention
UK, 2011, 5
World renowned trials rider Danny MacAskill is at it again, only this time he uses
an abandoned ironworks as his playground. Directed by Stu
‘The Denali Experiment’
USA, 2011, 16
Freeride skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and big mountain snowboarder Lucas Debari
step out of their elements, while heading toward their most ambitious goal: to descend Mt. Denali.
But first they must put everything they have into making it to the summit. Directed by Jimmy
‘The Boy Who Flies’
Canada, 2012, 46 minutes
opposite corners of the earth, two men are united by a common dream: to be the first to paraglide
from Mt. Mulanje, Malawi’s highest peak. Things go well until they discover that one has taken on a
little more than he has bargained for — and the other has never learned to paraglide. Directed by
‘Flow Hunters’ (special edit)
2012, New Zealand,
Some of the world’s best paddlers experience adventure and risk, as they explore
New Zealand’s white water. Directed and produced by Jon Forder.
Best Film — Mountain Sports
Switzerland, 2011, 17 minutes
quiet corner of this conflicted country, gutsy first-time skiers learn to ski through trial by fire.
Racing with a true spirit of camaraderie, they take part in the first-ever downhill racing
competition in Afghanistan. Directed by Hans-Urs Bachmann.
2011, USA, 4 minutes
Just try to keep up with Lily. Go ahead. We dare you.
Directed and produced by Ross Downard.
‘Reel Rock 7: Honnold 3.0’
Film — Climbing
USA, 2012, 33 minutes
Alex Honnold is a bit of an enigma. He’s
become known as the boldest soloist of his generation, but how does he balance pure ambition with
self-preservation? Honnold wrestles with this question in preparation for his biggest adventure yet
— the Yosemite Triple. Directed and produced by Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen and Alex
Saturday, Sept. 21
USA, 2012, 8 minutes
What has four legs, five arms, and three heads? The Gimp
Monkeys. Three friends attempt the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan.
Directed by Mikey Schaefer.
USA, 2012, 6
This sweet piece of visual and musical poetry builds to a climax of Taiko drumming
and swirling snow that will envelope you. Directed by Ben
‘Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies’ (special edit)
2012, 10 minutes
This 100-percent human-powered film uses striking time-lapse photography
and an original story to bring the landscape center-stage and offers a thrilling new perspective
that re-establishes the Canadian Rockies among the finest mountains in the world. Directed and
produced by Paul Zizka and Doug Urquhart.
‘Crossing the Ice’
Prize, People’s Choice Award, Best Film — Exploration and Adventure
Australia, 2012, 44
Australian adventurers James Castrission and Justin Jones dare to tackle the
perilous journey across Antarctica to the South Pole and back again, completely unassisted — just
two men dragging their food and shelter across 1,140 kilometers of barren ice. Many have tried, and
all have failed. After much planning and preparation, Cas and Jonesy arrive to tackle one of the
last great Antarctic odysseys, but discover an eerie similarity to Capt. Scott’s race to the South
Pole: There’s a Norwegian on the ice. He’s more experienced, he’s tackling the same record, and he
has a head start. Directed by Justin Jones.
USA, 2012, 5
You’ll fall in love with Ernest Wilkinson, one of the last of a vanishing breed of
mountain men, as he explains what your best survival tool is. Directed by Samuel
USA, 2012, 6 minutes
Evan Garcia considers
both the risks and rewards of a life driven by big waterfalls. Directed and produced by Andy
‘Highway Wilding’ (special edit)
Canada, 2012, 13
Build them, and they will live. That is the simple message in this short
documentary that looks at the issue of wildlife and highways — and some of the pioneering solutions
that exist to prevent road kill and reconnect landscapes. After seeing this film, you’ll never drive
down a highway the same way again. Directed and produced by Leanne
‘Strength in Numbers’ (special edit)
Canada, 2012, 15
The world of mountain biking has many communities. And while different riders
follow different lines, they all end up in the same place. Tire to ground, foot to pedal, hand to
bar — people drawn together by trails of dirt. Directed by Darcy
‘Reel Rock 7: Wide Boyz’
Best Short Mountain
USA, 2012, 12 minutes
Meet U.K. off-width crack climbing specialists Pete
Whittaker and Tom Randall, who train hard and play harder. Wide Boyz is about suffering in a dodgy
Sheffield basement, the ethics of style and big payoffs in the Southwestern U.S. From the feature
film by Paul Diffley & Chris Alstrin. Special version created by Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen,
Josh Lowell and Alex Lowther.