Article Published: Sep. 6, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 6, 2012
It’s a long way from Banff to Boone.
Every year, the celebrated Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour travels from the wintry slopes of Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the town of Boone, drawing a sold-out audience at each screening.
This season, however, audience members will have to wait.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour’s stop in Boone has been postponed from March 2013 to Sept. 20 and 21, 2013, due to the extensive renovations under way at Appalachian State University’s Farthing Auditorium.
The renovations, which are geared toward safety, accessibility and performance enhancement, are expected to be completed in June 2013, when the auditorium reopens as The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, named after benefactors Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer.
“We really looked at a lot of different options,” said Rich Campbell, director of ASU Outdoor Programs, which partners with the Banff Centre to organize the festival stop in Boone.
One such option was Watauga High School, but the only available dates fell on Easter weekend. Another possibility was the Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock, which recently fell into foreclosure.
Campbell then set his eyes on ASU’s Holmes Convocation Center, the acoustics in which are less than ideal for a film festival, he said.
“Anyway, to make a long story short, we’re going to do it in September at the Schaefer Center,” Campbell said.
It’s somewhat of a delay, but the dates fit within the world tour’s schedule, albeit closer toward its end. The featured films will be from the 2012 festival, held Oct. 27 to Nov. 4 in Banff. Since the Boone screenings are in September 2013, a whole new batch will be selected from that year’s festival for Boone’s next scheduled screenings.
“We’ll get a double dose of Banff in 2013-14,” Campbell said. “In 2013, we’ll see the films that were screened in Banff in 2012. So, in November 2013, there will be a whole new set of films that have come out, and then we’ll go back into the regular cycle of the timeframe in March in the Schaefer Center. We won’t miss a year of the films that are being presented by Banff.”
For the film buffs who just can’t wait, however, Campbell said, “We may try to do a smaller film event, a much smaller version in the spring, maybe in (ASU’s) I.G. Greer (Cinema).”
All the same, Campbell is confident the change will bode well for the season.
“We talked to our main sponsors over at Footsloggers … and they were explaining that there is a little bit of a downward spike in the fall, that second and third weekend in September,” he said. “You’ve got the summer crowds, then the Labor Day crowds, and then it kind of drops off before the height of the leaf season. So, Banff will be a big weekend in an otherwise quiet time of year up here.”
And with the tour stop taking place during autumn, Campbell said it’ll be billed as part of ASU’s 2013-14 Performing Arts Series.
In years past, the screenings have walked hand in hand with the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition, the winners of which are announced during the film festival.
To keep that relationship going, the photos will hang in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts throughout summer 2013, Campbell said, adding, “It won’t be tied to the same calendar as Banff this year, but we’ll show all the images from the 10th annual AMPC in that September screening of the film festival.”
Campbell and his fellow organizers are excited about the changes, but there’s one particular demographic that may be less than thrilled.
“I think the people who will probably be the most upset will be graduating seniors at ASU,” he said. “But they can always come back in September.”
About the Banff Mountain Film Festival
The Banff Mountain Film Festival – a program of The Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada – is hailed as the largest and one of the most prestigious mountain film festivals in the world.
Its world tour brings the festival’s award-winning films to about 390 communities and 35 countries across the globe.
Next year marks the 17th anniversary of Banff Film Festival screenings in Boone, which has become one of the largest screenings in North America.
“Boone has 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.”