Whether or not you consider yourself to be an “outdoorsy” person, The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival will leave you craving your own adventures. The festival began in 1976 and has been held as an international outdoor film competition and presentation every year since in Banff, Alberta. Following the nine-day festival in Banff, the festival hits the road each year, reaching more than 550 locations in over 40 countries as part of the World Tour. Outdoor Adventures is hosting the festival in Salt Lake City for its 28th consecutive year, bringing four nights of screenings and prizes from various sponsors to audience members.
The festival features many groundbreaking stories which attest to the strength of the human race, but one of the primary focuses of the festival is finding empowerment in the outdoors.
According to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the festival has “evolved in a natural way, always responding to the needs of the community.” Perhaps when it began, there was not much emphasis on diversity in the outdoors, but as people around the world continue to combat oppression and fight for equal opportunities, cameras are finding a variety of voices and experiences. In the film “Brothers of Climbing,” BOC co-founder Mikhail Martin was spot on when he said that people’s “outlet to the world is what you see on the TV and on the internet, and if you don’t see any black people or any people of color climbing, you’re not going to think you can do it.” Representation is the key to dismantling racial barriers. In turn, more non-white people partaking in outdoor recreation will allow for more holistic representations.
Other films underscore topics such as feminism and body expectations in the outdoors. “Reel Rock 12: Break on Through” stars Margo Hayes, the first woman to climb a 5.15a. “The Mirnavator” stars Mirna Valerio, an ultrarunner who accomplishes her personal goals despite the fat-shaming that she faces. Outdoor culture gains a significant amount of media attention in the United States, but Banff Film Festival collects films from across the globe, such as “Boy Nomad,” which portrays the unique lifestyle of a family in Mongolia’s Altai Mountains.
From the great indoors you can glimpse into other people’s lives in various outdoor contexts. While some films feature witty adventure-seekers that are sure to make audience members chuckle in their seats, others tell stories that will certainly bring out the sniffles. Hopefully, the films will inspire everyone to begin exploring or to challenge themselves further in the outdoors. Just don’t get too eager and attempt 82 ascents of 4000-meter peaks in one year or compete in cross-country bike races, unless you have the background experience.
The final program in Salt Lake City will be on March 4 at Kingsbury Hall. Eight different films will be screened per night, and each film ranges from two to 39 minutes. For more information about ticket prices, where to get them or which films are being presented each night, visit Outdoor Adventures – Banff.