From The Slopes to the Silver Screen

Banff Mountain Film Festival Kicks Off Quebec Tour at Concordia University

  • The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will kick off the Quebec leg of its tour on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Concordia University’s Hall Building. The film festival will be showcasing nine films that will appeal to adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and travellers. Photo Faith Dickey

  • The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will kick off the Quebec leg of its tour on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Concordia University’s Hall Building. The film festival will be showcasing nine films that will appeal to adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and travellers. Photo Banff Winter Festival

This coming Wednesday evening, outdoor sports fans can partake in a cinematic experience that will bring together adventure and sport, which is sure to bring a thrill to all movie-goers.

“There’s a lot of movies that marry both human adventure and active adventure. So, you have a well-balanced kind of evening,”

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will kick off the Quebec leg of its tour on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Concordia University’s Hall Building. The film festival will be showcasing nine films that will appeal to adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and travellers.

The tour will be showcasing 24 shows in 18 cities across Quebec from January to March, including six shows in Montreal, which will be the only date to feature animation in English.

“This is something we’re testing right now at Concordia and it should be a good hit,” said Stéphane Corbeil, director of the World Tour in Quebec.

Corbeil added that the short films tend to be more adrenaline-oriented, such as “Arctic Swell: Surfing the Ends of the Earth,” which focuses on photographer Chris Burkard capturing surfers under extreme conditions. He thinks there are a few longer movies that attendees should pay attention to as well.

“There’s two movies, Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell and Valley Uprising: The Golden Age,” Corbeil said. “That would be the two most intense movies we’re going to be presenting this year. Cerro Torre was filmed in Patagonia with a very well known climber in the industry whose name is David Lama. The other film is about the golden age in the Yosemite Valley at Camp 4.”

Corbeil has always had the mindset of having variety in the films shown at the festival, rather than 150 minutes of only extreme movies.

“I’m looking for movies that are going to inspire people and in which the protagonist is someone who can make a close contact [with the audience],” Corbeil said.

Enthusiasts will be watching movies Corbeil viewed four to ten times during the selection process. A jury selected 80 films out of a pool of 300. The lucky ones were presented over several
days before the tour hosts built their own program from an even shorter list.

“For working for a long time, I think I developed a good sense for what people are expecting,” said Corbeil. “So I try to select diversity from where the action is being taken, where the movie brings us … it’s a matter of balance.”

The festival has received films from both experienced and first-time directors.

“When I’m on stage, I always tell people you don’t have to be a professional with five or ten films in your background,” said Corbeil. “Each year, I see about ten films being presented to the public of Banff where it’s only the filmmaker’s first movie.”

Corbeil remarked that he has seen a consistent rise in terms of quality of the production during his years at the helm. He said it has become more dense and intense in terms of emotions. Today, the films have stories and a penchant for art.

“You have more art in adventure-oriented movies compared to 20 years ago, where the art part of the movie was more in the European movies that we didn’t see so frequently,” he said. “Right now, you can have Canadians doing adventure films that have very interesting tandems of engagement and determination, but also in terms of an artistic way of doing them.”

Corbeil is amazed by people’s attachment to the festival and is preparing for a growth in attendance for this year’s edition.

“Most people buy the tickets without even knowing what the movies are because they know in the past they always had a very good evening, so I guess we have a relationship of trust being built during the years,” Corbeil said.

“Last year around 18,000 people attended the festival and this year we’re adding new cities and new venues, so I would believe it would be around 18,000 to 20,000 people in the province.”

The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be held in the Hall building at the H-110 Alumni Auditorium on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

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