Ever since the Banff Mountain Film Festival came to Breckenridge three years ago, it has been a hit, selling out in advance - and Marci Sloan of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center expects the same this year, she said.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is the largest mountain festival in the world, with screenings in about 390 towns throughout 35 countries. Each year, the tour debuts the most inspiring action, environmental and adventure films, culled from about 300 entrees.
A group of 18 people review clips, audience comments about the tour and which films garnered awards, then choose the films for the Breckenridge stop.
"We also consider how active our local community is and how much we all enjoy the outdoors, so we always look for the more adventurous, higher adrenaline films to add in the program," Sloan said.
One of the stand-out films is "The Freedom Chair," which tells the story of Josh Dueck, an aspiring skier and coach, until a ski accident in 2004 changed his life. He overcame his obstacles and succeeded in the world of competitive sit-skiing, but still wasn't content: Now his dream involves tackling the backcountry and the steepest and wildest mountains in the world. As Sloan pointed out, it directly ties in with the mission of the BOEC - plus Dueck has skied at Copper and has been to The Hartford Ski Spectacular, of which the BOEC is the local host chapter. He's the first person to pull off a back flip in a mono ski.
"The Last Frontier" is another unique film, featuring Tim Cope's three-year adventure from Mongolia to Hungary by horse. It won the Peoples Choice Award at Banff and holds the No. 1 spot in online voting.
"Blue Obsession" - The beautiful and ever-changing icefalls of Alaskan glaciers provide a stunning setting for some unusual ice climbing adventures.
"On Assignment: Jimmy Chin" - A brief portrait of a passionate athlete who has melded climbing and photography. Jimmy Chin believes that "the most honest photos happen when both the subject and the photographer are just in the moment, and the rest of the world has just fallen away."
"On the Trail of Genghis Khan: The Last Frontier" - On an epic journey of truly historic proportions, Australian Tim Cope, his band of horses and his dog, Tigon, travel overland 10,000 km from Mongolia to Hungary, following the footsteps of legendary warrior and nomad Genghis Khan. Cope visits distant parts of the world rarely seen, places on the cusp of modernity yet proud of nomadic traditions. "The Last Frontier" captures the culmination of his stunning three-year journey, the crossing of the Carpathian Mountains.
"All.I.Can: The Short Cut" - Stunning time-lapse sequences, creative visuals, great skiers and deep powder are highlights of this excerpt from the award-winning feature film that looks at snow sports and the environment.
"C.A.R.C.A" - One man's quest to revolutionize the world of animal avalanche rescue.
"Reel Rock: Ice Revolution" - A revolution is taking place, led by Canadian maniac Will Gadd. After 30 years of ice climbing, Gadd has finally realized his dream of climbing radically overhanging, heinously difficult ice at British Columbia's spectacular Helmcken Falls. Gadd and Tim Emmett dodge exploding icicle bombs and ascend the hardest pure ice climb in the world.
"Reel Rock: Sketchy Andy" - American climbing dirtbag Andy Lewis is taking the discipline of slacklining into the future as he solos the world's longest high-lines and masters the hardest aerial tricks while pushing his equipment to the limit. As Andy goes higher, harder and faster with climbing, slack and B.A.S.E., viewers wonder how far he can go before it'll be one step over the line.
Proceeds from the Breckenridge event support the BOEC's general fund. The nonprofit relies on special events to provide support for the organization and for its tuition-assistance fund, Sloan said.
The nonprofit helps more than 2,000 people with disabilities and special needs throughout 40 states and seven countries by providing elements necessary for successful outdoor experiences, Sloan said.
Programs include the Adaptive Ski and Ride Program, accessible downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding based out of Breckenridge and Keystone Ski Areas; the Wilderness Program, providing accessible whitewater rafting, canoeing, camping, backpacking, snowshoeing, ropes course, climbing walls and team initiatives; and the Internship Program, one of the preeminent training programs in the world for young professionals learning to work with special needs populations.
"For (at-risk) kids, it helps with confidence and independence and comfort level (with outdoor sports)," Sloan said. "It's very therapeutic for each population."
Last year, the BOEC netted more than $22,000 from the film festival.