Banff Film Festival Returns to Santa Barbara for 26th Year
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The Banff Mountain Film Festival is a celebration of sorts – a celebration of mountain culture, sports, and the environment. Originating in Banff, Canada, The Banff Centre launches a world tour of the film festival that visits over 300 cities in 20 countries across the globe every year. The films shown range from amateur passion projects to professional documentaries, all of which follow incredible stories of the outdoors.
Last week marked the 26th year that the festival made its stop in Santa Barbara, playing two unique shows over two nights in the Arlington Theatre. The Horizon reports on the first night, which screened eight inspiring and entertaining short films.
The shortest of the of the films were “Max Your Days,” a short film that showcased several extreme activities stretched out over summer solstice on Canada’s west coast, and “Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out,” a 6 and a half minute venture that follows professional mountain biker Danny MacAskill around his native Edinburgh as he pulls off a series of impressive bike maneuvers. Both of these videos can be found online for free.
There were three other films that clocked in below a 15 minute run time: “Ace and the Desert Dog,” “Iran: A Skier’s Journey,” and “Doing It Scared.” “Ace and the Desert Dog” followed photographer Ace Kvale and his dog, Genghis Khan (nicknamed “The Desert Dog”), as they venture out for a heartwarming and beautiful 60-day hike into the wilderness of Utah. The second film, “Iran: A Skier’s Journey,” told the story of skiers Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots as they traveled to Iran, despite travel advisories warning them to avoid doing so, in search of a secluded place to ski. Despite the cautions they received, the skiers found comfort and hospitality. Lastly, “Doing It Scared” told the story of Australian climber Paul Pritchard, a man who returns to climb the Tasmanian Totem Pole, a dangerous seas stack off the southeast coast of Tasmania, 18 years after an accident on the same route left him partially paralyzed (this one really tugged at the heartstrings).
The final three films to be screened that evening were roughly half an hour in length, each telling a unique, deeply human story. “Four Mums in a Boat” was exactly what it sounded like – four middle-aged working mothers from Yorkshire set out on the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000k+ row across the Atlantic ocean. “The Great Siberian Traverse,” followed three friends through a ski journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Along the way they meet various skiing communities hidden within the Russian backcountry, and even learn about the ancient beginnings of skiing. Lastly, there was “Shift,” a documentary that focuses on an indigenous community in the Yukon converting trails around their town into some of the most desired mountain biking trails in the world.