The Banff Mountain Film Festival

A film festival all about mountains. What could be better?

Banff 1

For anyone who loves the outdoors, and there are a rapidly increasing number of us, this is the festival for you. It is action packed, and whatever your sport of choice, if you can do it on a mountain you’ll see it here. Climbing, kayaking, free running, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, horse riding, snow-kiting… everyone driven by a passion for mountains and being outside will find something they like, but there are also quieter moments. You can’t just tear through the wilderness without seeing it can you, without breathing it in and having at least the occasional ‘wow’ moment. There’s plenty of that too.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival was launched 40 years ago in 1976, and has since become a highlight in every outdoor-enthusiast’s calendar. Taking place in the Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, each year around 300-400 films are entered, and the top 60 or so are showcased at the festival in November. A selection of the best films then go on an international tour, visiting 40 countries in 2016 and being seen by more than 500,000 people. There are a variety of themes and styles, and they range in length from brief shorts to longer, more comprehensive films that the tour provides abbreviated versions of. I suppose you could call them documentaries, but each is telling a story, and the sense of narrative is as important as it is to films that are purely fiction. 

For me, this was a chance to observe the sports I enjoy in very beautiful and very dramatic locations, and to start a wish-list of other things I wanted to try. It was also quite exciting to be a part of the crowd; the MOUNTAIN crowd! What a wonderful group of people, all passionate about the environment and the outdoors, all driven by a thirst for adventure and exploration, and all positive, active and healthy. I definitely recommend.

The 2016 UK and Ireland tour is hitting around 55 cities, towns and communities, and there are still dates left all across the country – the last screening is in Ireland on 28th May. Tickets and dates are available here (£15.49 pp). We saw both the Red and the Blue programmes, but I definitely favoured the Red. Particular joys were the slapdash but talented climbers’ bromance in A Line Across the Sky, the beautiful but sad goodbye in  Denaliand Unbranded, a film following four Texas boys, who decide to break in eleven wild Mustangs to carry them from Texas to the Canadian border (so, across the whole of America. It takes them 5 months. That’s a lot of riding). Saying that, there were some fantastic films on the Blue programme as well, so just go and see them both if you can!

A Line Across the Sky 1

The line across the sky. Climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold traversed the entire range you can see here in one go, something that had never been done before.

A Line in the Sky 2

Here they are. Aren’t they just the cutest?

A Line Across the Sky 3

And again. Still adorable.

Denali 3

Denali, taking things much more seriously than his motley crew

Denali 2

Looking after Ben in hospital

Denali 1

Denali and Ben at the beach

Unbranded 2

Cowboys heading North

Unbranded 3

Boys and their… mustangs.

Unbranded 1

My favourite film, Unbranded. This lot were an absolute pleasure to travel with. Trailer for the film here, and you can buy the DVD here.

Is anyone else a Banff fan?

You might also like:

Loch Coruisk   Wild Swimming 2   IMG-20130406-00043



7 thoughts on “The Banff Mountain Film Festival

  1. Hey thanks for that post really interesting – I’d heard of sundance but never Banf! Really keen to watch unbranded – looks great. Are you on Instagram? If you like dogs and horses i am on Juracraven. I’m very behind on my blog now that I am in Ecuador…

  2. Double yay – a blog post from you, Jade, and a lovely write up of Banff. It’s coming to Truro in a couple of weeks and my tickets are booked. Though having said that, there was a screening back in February too so I guess one was Blue and the other the Red? I will have to check which one Richard & I are attending (not that it matters much). Looking forward to it!

    • Oh no! You could try Exeter – there’s a Red screening in May, and they’ll probably have a larger venue so may still have tickets. Hope you enjoy Unbranded! Jx

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