Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Scale the heights in film

Banff Mountain Film Festival screens over three nights

Express Staff Writer

Skiers go 'au cheval' (on the horse) in "Unbearable Lightness of Skiing."

While it may not be quite as adrenaline pumping as being there, watching well-made movies about high adventure around the world comes close to exhilarating. Let the lights dim, kick back and allow your soul to travel to a multitude of locations in the company of adventurers of all ages.

The 33rd annual Banff Mountain Film Festival hit the road last November and during its nearly yearlong world tour will travel to 30 countries, hold 500 screenings in 285 locations and inspire thousands. For three nights this week, more than 21 films will screen at nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.

At each stop on the tour, a local beneficiary is tapped to receive a percentage of the profits from those showings. As in the past, the Friends of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center will be the local organization. New this year for the entire festival in Idaho is the addition of another beneficiary, the Satipo Kids Project in Peru, founded by Sandpoint resident Michael Boge. Through his production company Mountain Fever, Boge works every year on organizing the Banff Film Festival tour in Idaho. Coincidentally, there are two films screened that are Peru-based. "Danzak" is a short shot in the Southern Peruvian Andes.

Multi-award winning "Shikashika" is another short concerning a family's journey on foot into the Peruvian Andes to cut out large blocks of ice, strap it to mules, and bring it down the mountain.

"The Unbearable Lightness of Skiing" is an amazing short—with great music—about the crazy spirit of backcountry skiers. It follows filmmaker Greg Hill's triad of tours, including the first descent of Comstock Couloir in Canada's Selkirk Mountains.

At one point he says in narration, "I can see why this has never been toured before."

"The Fine Line" should be of particular interest to the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center. Directed by Calgary-raised Dave Mossop, the scenically jaw-dropping educational film mixes Warren Miller-like scenes with sobering tales from avalanche survivors. Mixed in is a dramatic re-enactment of a tragic 1997 avalanche at Fortress Mountain in Alberta, Canada.

Though the movies are changed up depending on the location of the screening, there are always award winners shown.

"Committed 2: Grit Kids," won an Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film, and features a teenaged climber who attempts a terrifying and truly iconic line at Burbage South in England one evening after school.

The Best Film on Mountain Sports is "Journey to the Center," about a team of BASE jumpers who travel 10,000 miles by airplane, river boat, and truck to an old cave at the center of their dangerous mission: Tian Keng, the Heavenly Pit, in China.

Other award winners to be shown are "Crux," "If You're Not Falling," "Seasons" and "Red Gold."


Thursday, Jan. 29

· "The Red Helmet" USA 2008. Multiple action sports.

· "Mountain Town: The Grasshopper and the Soldier" USA 2007. Culture, skiing.

· "Journey to the Center" USA 2007. Exploration, BASE jumping, culture. Best Film on Mountain Sports.

· "The Sharp End: Eastern Europe" USA 2008. Climbing, tower jumping, culture. Parental guidance.

· "Shikashika" USA 2008. Peruvian Culture.

· "Papiroflexia" USA 2007. Environment, animation.

· "The Fine Line" Canada 2008. Skiing, snowboarding, avalanche safety.

Friday, Jan. 30

· "Crux" Canada 2007. Trails biking.

· "The Unbearable Lightness of Skiing" Canada 2008. Backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering.

· "99 Days on the Ice" France 2006. Polar travel, adventure, environment. Parental guidance for language.

· "Committed 2: Grit Kids" UK 2008. Alpine Club of Canada Best Film on Climbing, Audio Post-Production Award. Rock climbing, family story.

· "The Cable Car" Switzerland 2008. Animation, story.

· "Mountain Town: The Cowboy and the Park Goddess". USA 2008. Culture, skiing, snowboarding.

· "The Sharp End: Lisa Rands" USA 2008. Bouldering. Parental guidance.

· "The Last Frontier—Papua New Guinea" USA 2008. Kayaking, exploration, culture, environment.

Saturday, Jan. 31

· "Under the Influence" USA 2008. Skiing. Parental guidance.

· "If You're Not Falling" UK 2008. Rock climbing. Best Short Mountain Film.

· "Red Gold" USA 2008. Sockeye in Alaska. People's Choice Award.

· "Seasons" Canada 2008. Mountain biking. Special Jury Prize.

· "Danzak" USA 2008. Peruvian culture, human narrative.

· "Patagonian Winter" UK 2007. Alpine climbing, human narrative. Parental guidance for language.

Dana DuGan:

Film Info

What: Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

When: Thursday, Jan. 29, to Saturday, Jan. 31, doors 6 p.m., program 6:30 p.m., films 7 p.m.

Where: nexStage Theatre, Main Street, Ketchum

Tickets: $15, Chapter One Bookstore, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Elephant's Perch, all in Ketchum. A portion of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center and the Satipo Kids Project in Peru.

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