Banff Mountain Film Festival – October

Yet another dream completed, when I started with all the crazyness of adventures, I heard about the Banff Mountain Film Festival, a weeklong festival honouring the best o the best adventurers around the world and showing some of the best movies made over the year with one theme in common… Mountains.

Saturday, October 27 — 7:30 p.m. Program


Canada, 2006, 13 minutes

Directed by Will Gadd

World Premiere

This film follows Will Gadd and his climbing partners as they put up a new route on “the Yam”, as the massive rock wall in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is affectionately called. In Will’s words, it is a “sporty sport route”: eight pitches following vastly overhanging sections of the wall that have not been climbed before.

Into the Wild

USA, 2007, 140 minutes

Directed by Sean Penn

Produced by Art Linson, Sean Penn, and William Pohlad

Into the Wild is based on a true story and the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer. After graduating from Emory University in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity, and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Sunday, October 28 — 3:30 p.m. Program

Searching for the Coast Wolves

Germany, 2006, 52 minutes

Directed by Richard Matthews

Produced by Heinz von Matthey

In person: Gudrun Pflueger

This is a story of one woman’s passion for wolves. Gudrun Pflueger is a former world champion cross-country skier and long-distance runner. For the last six years, she has been studying wolves in the wilds of Canada, collecting field data, hair, droppings, and other evidence for use in scientific projects on wolves. This film follows her as she goes in search of the coastal wolves of British Columbia.

Becoming a Woman in Zanskar

France, 2007, 87 minutes

Directed by Jean-Michel Corillion

Produced by Manuel Catteau

Canadian Premiere

Becoming a Woman in Zanskar recounts the moving story of a friendship shattered by destiny, when two best friends have to part and leave their families forever. Tenzin will be married to a man she hasn’t chosen, while Palkit will become a nun.

Sunday, October 28 — 7:30 p.m. Program

Facing Obsession

Germany, 2006, 27 minutes

Directed by Jochen Schmoll

North American Premiere

Stefan Glowacz and Robert Jasper are totally obsessed with climbing the notorious “ForgottenWall”, the steep and massive 1000-metre north pillar of Cerro Murallon amidst the inland ice of Patagonia. This obsession dates back to 2003, when they first attempted the climb. Despite being brutally beaten back by raging storms, the two “possessed” alpinists decide to return for two more extremely tricky attempts. In order to make their dream come true, Glowacz and Jasper are finally forced to push themselves to the very limit.


Norway, 2005, 75 minutes

Directed and produced by Sjur Paulsen

Searching for extraordinary ski trails, an engineer and a fishing enthusiast travel from Narvik to the Lofoten Islands on a cutter. A marketing expert manages to climb one of Norway’s most difficult routes all alone, just to BASE jump from the top. A paramedic takes time out from his exhausting job to monitor a large forest area and prevent outbreaks of fire. What unites these four men is a typical professional career on the one hand and the courage to defy conventions on the other. Loop tells us their stories and introduces us to 90 year old Arne Nœss, a philosopher and adventurer.

November 2 —

8:00 p.m. Official welcome and Opening address (simulcast)

Mary Hofstetter, President & CEO, The Banff Centre, and Shannon O’Donoghue, 2007 Festival Director

8:20 p.m. Krzysztof Wielicki (simulcast)
9:25 p.m. Break
9:45 p.m. Great Day for Climbing

USA, 2007, 7 minutes

Directed and produced by Stephen Burgess

World Premiere

In person: Stephen Burgess

A sleepy climber has trouble distinguishing dream from reality as his climbing buddy bursts into song at the most inopportune moments. Who are those guys dancing in his driveway?

9:54 p.m. Duet

UK, 2006, 7 minutes

Directed by Keith Partridge

North American Premiere

The lives of the birdmen of St Kilda were intertwined with those of the sea-cliff birds they hunted. However, increasing contact with the wider world disrupted the old rhythms and balances. St Kilda was evacuated in 1930, but its story continues to resonate through many cultures today. Told in aerial dance, Duet represents the ebb and flow in a relationship between two lovers flying in the face of a dangerous existence.

10:02 p.m. Iran — A Mountain Journey (Part 2)

Ireland, 2004, 51 minutes

Directed and produced by John Murray

Irish writer and mountaineer Dermot Somers travels with a group of nomads on a spectacular mountain journey across Iran. Dermot’s hosts are a family of shepherds who travel 400 kilometres on foot across a forgotten corner of this extraordinary country. Stunning landscapes and an isolated tribe reveal aspects of Iranian life almost never seen in the West.

Saturday, Nov 3 — Eric Harvie Theatre and Max Bell Auditorium

Max Bell times in italics

9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Light in Liquid — A Kayak Collage of Movement and Sound

USA, 2007, 15 minutes

Directed and produced by Adrian Matthew Glasenapp

Canadian Premiere

In person: Adrian Matthew Glasenapp

Light in Liquid features expeditions and adventures on rivers and creeks in Colorado, Idaho, and Mexico. This kayak collage pushes the creative edge in the whitewater film genre and focuses on the process of travel, the paddlers themselves, and the world around us, just as much as it does on running waterfalls and creeks.

9:25 a.m.

9:23 a.m.

Borneo’s Pygmy Elephants

The Netherlands, 2006, 53 minutes

Directed by Joe Kennedy

Produced by Michael Patrick Wong

Until very recently, Borneo’s forest elephants were thought to be tame elephants gone wild. However, DNA testing has proven that they are a new species unique to the island and now under threat from habitat loss and conflict with humans. This is the story of one man’s mission to track and monitor these mystery elephants in order to protect them.

10:21 a.m.

10:17 a.m.

10:41 a.m.

10:32 a.m.

Higher Ground: Black Canyon

USA, 2007, 14 minutes

Directed by Chris Alstrin and Alexander Lavigne

Produced by Chris Alstrin

In person: Chris Alstrin

Black Canyon features Josh Wharton and Phil Gruber, who explain the importance of friendship and of climbing efficiently while ascending the Free Nose (5.12c) in Colorado’s notoriously adventurous Black Canyon.

10:58 a.m.

10:47 a.m.

20 Seconds of Joy

Germany, 2007, 60 minutes

Directed by Jens Hoffmann

Produced by Clenonice Comino

World Premiere

In person: Jens Hoffmann

“I don’t want to die, I want to live. I’m pretty good at running away, and this is my escape!” This is how Karina Hollekim describes her dedication to BASE jumping. Documentary filmmaker Jens Hoffman first met the now 30-year-old Norwegian in 2002. He immediately started to film, accompanying her through many stages of her BASE-jumping career, until it comes to a sudden stop, changing all aspects of her life.

Noon Break
2:00 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

Last Chance Journeys: Across the Himalaya

Ireland, 2007, 52 minutes

Directed and produced by John Murray

This documentary follows a clan of Buddhist yak herders on a breathtaking journey unmatched anywhere on the planet. Starting from the nomads’ tiny village close to the Tibetan border, the film shadows the group through a soaring landscape, traversing some of the highest mountain passes in the world, until the exhausted caravaneers eventually reach their destination—the lowland valleys of southern Nepal.

2:55 p.m.

3:08 p.m.

King Lines

USA, 2007, 50 minutes

Directed and produced by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer

Filmed on location in France, California, Venezuela, Greece, Utah, and Mallorca, King Lines captures Chris Sharma’s most outrageous ascents and visionary projects, and explores his fascinating lifestyle as a nomadic professional climber and global citizen.

3:48 p.m.

3:59 p.m.

4:08 p.m.

4:14 p.m.

Vicious Circle (Festival edit)

Canada, 2007, 16 minutes

Directed and produced by Jonathan Desrosiers

In person: Jonathan Desrosiers

A bike movie shot in North America, from the wildest areas of the rain forest, to the baking-hot sun of California, and the fastest trails on the east and west sides of Canada.

4:27 p.m.

4:31 p.m.

The Beckoning Silence

UK, 2007, 73 minutes

Directed and produced by Louise Osmond

North American Premiere

Joe Simpson, whose battle for survival featured in Touching the Void, travels to the Eiger to tell the story of one of mountaineering’s most epic tragedies. Toni Kurtz was a brilliant mountaineer who in 1936 tried to be the first to conquer the Eiger. The climb started well, but disaster struck and Kurtz’s climbing colleagues were killed, leaving him alone and fighting for his life. The Beckoning Silence recounts Kurtz’s heroic battle for survival but it also forces Simpson to confront some fundamental questions of his own. Why continue climbing when you have come so close to oblivion?

Saturday, Nov 3 — Evening Program – Margaret Greenham Theatre

8:00 p.m. Lincoln Hall — Dead Lucky (simulcast)

Lincoln Hall is one of Australia’s best-known mountaineers. Hall’s eighth book, Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest, is his personal account of his climb of Everest and of a tragic season on the mountain.

9:00 p.m. Announcement of the 2007 John Lauchlan Memorial Award (simulcast)
9:10 p.m. Break
9:25 p.m. Set in Stone

UK, 2006, 37 minutes

Directed and produced by Alastair Lee

Canadian Premiere

In person: Alastair Lee

U.K. trad-climbing legend Dave Birkett and his numerous hard climbs are profiled in this humorous and innovative film.

8:00 p.m. Ain’t Got No Friends on a Powder Day

Switzerland, 2007, 5 minutes

Directed and produced by Nicolas Falquet and Loris Falquet

North American Premiere

Loris is a “classic” freerider. Jean-Yves, however, has a more or less “accidental” style. This film draws a parallel between two styles and two approaches to the same mountain, which are otherwise worlds apart.

10:09 p.m. Un Désert Vertical (Vertical Desert)

France, 2006, 48 minutes

Directed and produced by Daniel du Lac

In person: Daniel du Lac

In this film about desert rock climbing in Mali, Africa, Daniel Du Lac, 2004 world champion and European bouldering champion, attempts an ascent of Harmattan Rodeo, a 400-metre route comprising 13 pitches graded between 5.12a and 5.13b. The culture of the people living in the Gourma desert forms the backdrop to the film.

Sunday, Nov 4 — Eric Harvie Theatre and Max Bell Auditorium

Max Bell times in italics

9:00 a.m. Pacific Horizons: Exploring the Northwest Coast by Kayak

Canada, 2007, 32 minutes

Directed by Bryan Smith and Lise-Anne Beyries

Produced by Bryan Smith

In person: Bryan Smith and Lise-Anne Beyries

Showcasing some of the world’s most sought-after sea-kayaking destinations, Pacific Horizons captures the essence of the ocean and inspires one and all to get out on the water and go kayaking! Blending wildlife, people, places, and action-packed kayaking, the film takes viewers on an unforgettable journey through the San Juan Islands, the Bunsby Islands off the remote coast of Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlottes, and along the Oregon coast.

9:42 a.m.

9:40 a.m.


UK, 2007, 61 minutes

Directed by Paul Diffley and Dave Brown

Produced by Dave Brown

In person: Paul Diffley and Dave Brown

Held in awe by climbers around the world, the hard traditional rockclimbing scene in Britain commands both respect and bewilderment. This film accompanies many of the top climbers of the modern era on an astonishing journey through the world of hard trad and witnesses, first-hand, one of the most remarkable years in climbing history.

10:46 a.m.

10:42 a.m.

11:06 a.m.

10:57 a.m.


Canada, 2007, 2 minutes

Directed by Carlos Villarreal-Kwasek

Produced by Vancouver Film School

A climber attempts an icy route in this animated short.

11:10 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

The Endless Knot

USA, 2007, 52 minutes

Directed by Michael Brown

Produced by David D’Angelo

In person: Michael Brown

In 1999, best friends Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker were overcome by an avalanche while climbing in the Tibetan Himalaya. Alex died and Conrad survived and suffered terribly from survivor’s guilt. In comforting one another after the tragedy, Conrad and Alex’s widow, Jennifer, unexpectedly found love. Now they must see if their love can survive and if Alex’s three boys can accept Conrad as a new father. To honour Alex’s name, Conrad and Jennifer try to find meaning beyond tragedy by supporting a mountaineering safety school for Sherpas.

Noon Break
2:00 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

Ice Mines

Canada, 2007, 30 minutes

Directed and produced by Will Gadd

World Premiere

In person: Will Gadd

What’s an ice climber to do in the age of global warming? Go underground. Deep underground. Five years ago Will Gadd heard rumours of ice hidden in the blackness of abandoned mines in Sweden. This is the story of what Gadd and his friend Spak found.

2:33 p.m.

2:46 p.m.

Resorting to Madness — Taking Back Our Mountain Communities

USA, 2007, 50 minutes

Directed by Hunter Sykes and Darren Campbell

Produced by Darren Campbell

Canadian Premiere

In person: Hunter Sykes and Darren Campbell

Resorting to Madness addresses the impacts of the modern ski resort industry on mountain communities and the environment. Including footage of dozens of ski areas, experts, and concerned community members throughout North America, it reveals some disturbing trends and presents examples where efforts are being made to protect and maintain mountain environments and communities.

3:26 p.m.

3:37 p.m.

3:46 p.m.

3:52 p.m.

24 Solo (festival edit)

USA, 2007, 55 minutes

Directed by Jason Berry

Produced by Ken Bell

Canadian Premiere

In person: Jason Berry and Ken Bell

24 Solo follows the gut-wrenching story of Chris Eatough on his quest for a seventh world title in the unforgiving discipline of 24-hour solo mountain-bike racing. Dark horse Craig Gordon, who is the Australian national champion, challenges Chris to a level of intensity and exhaustion that leaves one rider with severe blood poisoning.

4:44 p.m.

4:48 p.m.

Wings on Your Feet (Le ali ai piedi)

Switzerland, 2006, 52 minutes

Directed and produced by Fulvio Mariani

North American Premiere

John Falkiner and Paolo Tassi — two charming characters, untiring powder hunters, and free telemark interpreters — tell us about their dreams and why they have chosen skiing as their true lifestyle. Whooshing through Fulvio Mariani’s camera shots, they guide us on journeys of discovery and friendship in the magnificent landscapes of Lebanon, Patagonia, the Dolomites, Mount Etna, and Kashmir.

Sunday Evening — Nov 4 – Best of the Festival @ Eric Harvie Theater

7:30 p.m. The Bill March Summit of Excellence Award

Presentation to Bernadette McDonald. Sponsored by Canadian Mountain Holidays.

7:45 p.m. Awards

Introduction of the international jury and announcement of the 2007 Banff Mountain Film Festival awards

8:00 p.m. Screening of award-winning films

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