Banff Mountain Film Festival

Something I really, really look forward to every year around this time is the Banff Mountain Film Festival.  Of
course, the festival itself (which usually takes place in early November), is already over, but its spirit lives on
with a traveling road show that highlights the best films of the festival.

The festival is an annual event held in the beautiful town of snowy Banff.  Throughout the year, some 300
films are submitted to the festival by amateurs and professionals alike.  A jury boils the selection down to the
best fifty, which are then screened in
.  At the conclusion of the festival, the best 15 or so are then spliced into a reel, put in a van, and
toured around the world.  In 2006, the tour will run through Canada in February, America in March, and then move
on internationally.  Check out the schedule here
before you miss it in your home town.

Each film has to have an outdoor theme, but that is pretty much the only rule.  As a result, the final reel is
as varied as the outdoors.  Films, which vary in length from one minute to more than an hour, capture the very best
of what the natural world has to offer; rock climbing, hang gliding, kayaking, mountain biking, exploration, ice
climbing, BASE jumping, and more.  This year’s Grand Prize winner, Sur le fil des
, follows two climbers as they attempt to summit all 82 Alpine peaks over 4000 feet.  Another winner,
this one for Best Film on Mountain Sports, captures the exploits of a 79-year-old paraglider in

Every year, the films in this festival are simply mesmerizing.  They are beautiful, inspirational, and in some
cases, even quite hilarious.  I simply can’t say enough about this festival.  Sure, it always makes me
feel like a lazy city-dweller, but sometimes that’s just the kick in the pants I need to get motivated. 
Anyone up for some paragliding?