Hold on to your hats; the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2013 is an absolute corker. The iconic tour is always a highlight of the outdoor adventure calendar in South Africa – and I was lucky enough to get sneak preview of what’s in store when the film festival kicks off in a couple of weeks time.
The 11 short films cover an eclectic range of adventure sports from the breathless footage of death-defying wingsuit flying to the beautifully shot, quirky film of mountain bike ace Danny MacAskill showing off his skills on the industrial architecture of an abandonned ironworks. Some made me green with envy; I just wanted to be with the guys in Being There, standing on remote Norwegian peaks waiting their turn to carve down impossibly steep, and even more impossibly beautiful, virgin slopes and to join speed-riders Maxence Cavalade and François Bon as they glided above the clouds in the French Alps. Others, like the Wide Boyz - in which Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, two plucky youngsters from the ‘norf’ of England, are shown training in their customised Sheffield basement before confounding the international climbing community by grunting and grinding their way up some of America’s ‘unclimbable’ off-width crack lines - had me shuddering at the awfulness of their chosen endeavour.
There are inspiring stories like The Gimp Monkeys in which three disabled climbers (with only four legs between them) take on the iconic big wall of El Capitan and a hilarious documentary on the first Afgan ski championships – you guessed it, featuring a band of intrepid locals who’d only been introduced to the sport two weeks before the event. And this year, for the first time, a locally made documentary will be screened in the South African leg of the tour. Path to the Future, an evocative account of two paragliders soaring with threatened Cape vultures, was the winner of Cape Union Mart’s Adventure Film Challenge 2013, a local competition aimed at encouraging budding filmmakers to capture South Africa’s local outdoor adventure lifestyles.
But the star of the show for me was the ebullient Lily the Jack Russell who takes all the obstacles in her stride as she stays on the tail of a mountain biker carving out new lines in Utah. I laughed for the full four minutes. And it reminded me why I love Banff so much. It’s not just about the terrifying risks that modern adventurers take as they push their limits or about the grandiose scenery of remote Arctic environments. The Banff Mountain Film Festival is just as much about having a giggle and celebrating everyday life in the great outdoors. It’s a wonderfully fun night out for all the family.
– Fiona McIntosh
Hosted by Cape Union Mart for the eighth consecutive year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will be screened at five Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country from 25 October to 1 November 2013. Ticket prices are the same as a standard Ster-Kinekor ticket and can be booked online via www.sterkinekor.co.za.
Cape Town: Cavendish Square, 25 Oct – 1 Nov & Tygervalley Centre, 25-31 Oct
Johannesburg: Sandton City, 25 Oct – 1 Nov
Pretoria: Brooklyn Mall, 25-31 Oct
Durban: Gateway Centre (one screening only on 1 November)
For more information, visit www.banff.co.za
Entries for the 2014 Cape Union Mart Adventure Film Challenge are now open, visit www.banff.co.za/adventure-film-challenge-2014.php