Enjoying the BANFF Film Festival

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Photo by Kiffer Creveling

In a collective appreciation for all things adventure and outdoors, the Banff Film Festival opened Tuesday night in Salt Lake City with rad films featuring adrenaline enthusiasts and raw nature from all over the world.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival finds its origins in Banff, Alberta where it first took place in 1976. It is an international film competition featuring short films and documentaries from numerous countries; roughly 300 films are submitted each year. All are viewed and voted upon by a panel and an audience at the initial festival in Canada. After that, a world tour visits over 300 cities in 20 countries to feature the 30 best films. Banff shares its prizes far and wide.

Banff Mountain Film Festival, not to be confused with Radical Reels which takes place later, focuses on mountain culture, adventure sports and heritage. Radical Reels is known for its higher “adrenaline junkie” vibe and highlights action films from within the Banff submissions.

The Salt Lake City event created a commonplace and a wonderful environment for outdoor enthusiasts, granolas, climbers and skiers. Families, students, couples and professionals all came together under the shared umbrella of a love for the great outdoors and respect for the sheer talent and bravery featured within these films. Cheering, whistling and clapping were heard randomly and at particularly dramatic moments throughout each of the features; this was in no way a formal setting.

The films varied from 4 to 31 minutes. Each was set in a different part of the world and with a different theme. From base jumping to kayaking to sport cycling to dog mushing, there was no shortage of variety at the festival.

Each film was introduced beforehand in order to explain context as well as introduce the director.

At intermission, a raffle took place with prizes featuring North Face, Cliff Bar and other outdoor retailers.

Highlights from the Tuesday night showing included “Four Mums in a Boat,” a story of four British mothers who set the world record for the oldest group of females to row across the Atlantic. It also included “When We Were Knights,” directed and filmed by Salt Lake native Ansel Fogel, a gripping story of two base jumpers. And finally, “Northbound,” a short film highlighting the beauty of rugged arctic Norway and three skateboarders.

The only drawback from this experience was the long running time. Tuesday night’s event didn’t conclude until after 10 p.m. after starting at 7 p.m. Though the online description lists roughly two hours for each night, the combination of excitement, an engaging and hyped up audience as well as commentary throughout the films chalked up the evening to a bit of a lengthy experience. However, there was never a dull moment; even after those three hours had passed, it wouldn’t have been hard to stay longer.

The Banff Film Festival was hosted at Kingsbury Hall in partnership with Campus Recreation Services Feb. 21-23.

For a list of movies being screened as well as a short description, please visit the website and view the attached pdf. https://tickets.utah.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/02/Banff2017Films.pdf

Additionally, Radical Reels will take place one night only on March 2, also at Kingsbury Hall. Information for that event can be found here: https://tickets.utah.edu/events/radical-reels-2/.

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