Oh how we love the Banff mountain film festival even in this little county without mountains. As always its the excitement of adventure and the splendidness of the outdoor world at our doorsteps that never fails to inspire.
This year’s Blue List was a standout for one key feature – Fun. So many films and festivals are so self absorbed they trip over their own manicured moustache’s but with a single exception there was humour and humbleness enough to crack a smile on the crustiest curmudgeon.
We were eased into adventure with the very funny ode to the weekend warrior 55 hours in Mexico. The premise is simple- switch off that PC on Friday fly to Mexico, rent a car and climb the third highest peak in the Americas, ski down and be back in the office for Kenyan roast and breakfast burritos Monday morning.
-Watch this on Monday to get you through the week.
However brilliant you might think you are as a dad (or a mountain biker) the Builder will prove you’re not that great. Well, at least in comparison to this crew of dirt magicians who conjure up phantasms and monstrosities in the woods to inspire the craziest flips, trick and whips.
-Watch on Tuesday to make you think parenting could be done differently.
Chasing Niagara the only disappointment of the night really. The Banff Winner Best Film – Mountain Sport, with its massive investment from Red Bull, a very talented team of professional kayakers and the closest thing you’ll ever see to a snuff movie should have been a highlight yet Chasing Niagara is a film that’s ultimately all talk and no trousers.
-Watch on Wednesday when you think you’re the only person in the world who makes promises that they don’t deliver on.
Thankfully Eclipse winner of the Best Film – Snow Sports was here to show us that adventure can be fun AND achievable even when pitting yourself against the universe. Photographer Reuben Krabbe, driven to capture a shot of skiers against the solar ellipse, drags a semi reluctant crew to Norway to descend chutes, not shoot polar bears and build the world’s best toilet in the staggering beauty of Svalbard.
-Watch on Thursday to cheer you up, the weekends nearly here.
Operation Moffat is a gentle and reverent exploration of Britain’s first female mountain guide Gwen Moffat by writer Claire Carter and filmmaker Jen Randall. The duo clamber, scrabble and wild swim in limpid tarns and Scottish peaks as Gwen’s self deprecating humour and steely resolve act as a lesson to all of us tied up with accounts and mortgages.
-Watch on Friday when you’ve been stressing over weekly deadlines or if you’ve not called your mum.
Important Places is a very touching piece about families and fast flowing waters. Winner of the Best Short Mountain Film Filmmaker, Forest Woodward takes his 77 year old father, Doug back to rivers that gave them both so much.
-Watch on Saturday morning when you need to see your dad.
The best was kept for last. Elite athlete Alex Honnold is pretty funny and very talented but Showdown at Horseshoe Hell he’s the baddie, the establishment, the square! Young guns Nic Berry and Mason Earle seek to dethrone the king of climbing amongst the chaos and hedonism of the Arkansas’ 24 hour Horseshoe hell festival. I bet you add this to your bucket list if you’re sad enough to have one.
-Watch on Sunday evening after you’ve washed out the wetsuits, oiled the bike chains, stacked away the ropes and rubbed in that ibuprofen gel.