I saw a poster for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour while we were at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports last month, and immediately put the dates on my calendar. I really didn’t know what the festival was, but I figured if it was films about mountains and adventure and stuff, I was in.
I am not a fan of winter weather – the cold, the dark, the grey – and February is officially the worst month. Besides that, I’ve been kinda hunkered down for the past 6-8 weeks, working long hours, and really wanted some inspiration to tide me over until spring. Boy did Banff deliver!
About the film festival
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour brings Banff to audiences around the globe. Immediately after the Festival ends in November, a selection of the best films go on tour across Canada, the United States, and internationally from Scotland to South Africa to China, Japan, New Zealand, Antarctica, and points in between. Each year, the films travel to 32 countries reaching more than 245,000 people at over 635 screenings.
Host organizations in each tour location choose a program that reflects the interests of their local audiences from a selection of films on exploration and adventure, culture and environment, and mountain sports.
The proceeds of many tour screenings benefit a local outdoor program, community cause, or a non-profit such as youth adventure and outdoor pursuit programs, search and rescue operations, climbing clubs, adaptive sport programs, conservation groups, and trail maintenance organizations.
About our screening
Charlottesville’s screening was sponsored by Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, who gave away a ton of great prizes, and the nonprofit organization was the Shenandoah National Park Trust. Works for me! Now, onto the films!
Each screening has a different selection of films, spread over two nights. I’ll post some clips from some of my favorites. A few of the full films are online, but most of these I only have a promo clip. It was so cool to watch these on the big screen and hear the audience reactions, cheers, gasps, and see a few tears being wiped away.
All the films were exciting to watch, inspiring, and left me itching to get outdoors. Which is, I think, kind of the point.
Lily Shreds Trailside
The first night kicked off with a great little film about a Jack Russel Terrier named Lily. Watch this, and see if you can imagine what it would be like to live with this dog inside your house. Haha! The closing shot was of her taking a rock the size of her head and shaking it in her teeth. And I thought my dog was crazy!
The Gimp Monkeys
Talk about inspiring. These dudes are 100% badass and hereby render all your excuses totally lame and invalid. I love when one of them says, “The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time.” This is the full film:
Crossing the Ice
This film swept most of the awards at the Banff festival, including the people’s choice award. It is a moving story of adventure, friendship, heartbreak, and pushing the human body and mind to the absolute limit. If you get a chance to see this film in its entirety, please do. There are lots more clips from the film on Cas & Jonesy’s youtube channel, too.
Danny Mackaskill makes my jaw drop. Dude on a bike with skills. Watch the full film:
Mountains in Motion
I really love time lapse photography, and this film is just so gorgeously done. The Canadian Rockies have moved way, way to the top of my list of places to travel. I also really was inspired by the writing here. Watch the full film:
Wild Bill’s Run
A tie for my favorite film of the night is between these last two clips. The first: Wild Bill’s Run is an epic American folk story about a guy named Wild Bill. This dude had the idea to ride snowmobiles from Minnesota to Moscow (never mind that there isn’t actually a route that snowmobiles can take all the way through), and convinced a bunch of dudes to go with him. A crazy adventure followed, and the film ends with unbelievable stories about Bill’s “marijuana air force” and him being on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. His whereabouts are still unknown.
The storytelling in this one was just unforgettable, and the film was hilarious. Watch the trailer here:
You might have heard of Alex Honnold. He’s pretty famous for his free soloing of huge ass rock faces – also known as climbing without a rope, harness, or any safety gear. He’d done a bunch of crazy climbing before, so he decided for his next project, he’d climb the three biggest faces in Yosemite in 24 hours. No big deal! I just loved watching him do what he was quite obviously born to do, climb up rocks like a spider crawling up a crevice. It’s just extraordinary. His enthusiasm is contagious and his lack of fear is inspiring too. Watch a clip of his improvised climbing style:
Find a screening near you
I highly recommend checking out the Banff Mountain Film Festival if you can! It’d be such a dream to see it in Banff, surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, but any chance to see these films, you should grab it. Find a screening near you, and get inspired!
Upcoming hiking & camping
After dumping from 8 inches to 5 feet of snow on central Virginia last week, the weather has been dreamy since. Highs in the mid 60s, and the sun is finally remembering to come out. Jimmy and I will be backpacking in False Cape State Park this weekend, hitting up Spy Rock next week, and when I’m in Phoenix at the end of the month for a conference, I plan on skipping up to Tom’s Thumb in the Sonoran desert. I only went on a handful of hikes last year between the crazyness at the farm and fracturing my tibia & ankle, and I didn’t get to camp at all, so I am LONG overdue. My ankle is finally at a point where I can build up some distance, and even though every step downhill is quite painful, it’s worth it to be on the trails again!
Are you planning any camping or hiking this year? Which film sparked your interest? Tell me about it in the comments!