Banff film fest brings high-adrenaline movies for great cause in Breckenridge
summit daily news
After losing both of his legs from a grenade explosion in Iraq, Heath Calhoun went through an intense rehabilitation process in order to become a ski racer at the Paralympics games. Calhoun also participated in the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s (BOEC) annual Hartford Ski Spectacular (a ski event for people with disabilities, including “wounded warriors”) last December, so it was a natural choice for the BOEC to include a film about him called “The Fall Line,” in its second annual Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
“The Fall Line” is one of nine films (out of 29 making up the tour, which were selected from 260 entries worldwide) the BOEC picked for the Breckenridge viewing. Marci Sloan, BOEC development director, said she chose the nine pieces due to their action-packed, high-adrenaline extreme sports depiction, which Breckenridge audiences tend to love.
“The Fall Line” portrays how Calhoun endured a tortuous recovery after serving as a 101st Airborne Ranger, then finds freedom in the mountains, where he discovers his talent for racing and earns a chance to represent his country once more – this time by carrying the flag for the U.S. team at the Paralympics.
Other films include: “Chimaera,” which was shot with a unique camera system capable of capturing more than a thousand frames per second, allowing filmmakers to blur borders between the real and imaginary world of a skier’s life; “Deeper,” which follows Jeremy Jones and other top freeriders as they explore untouched verticals; “Fly or Die,” which highlights innovator Dean Potter’s combination of free solo climbing and base jumping; “Into Darkness,” a journey with cavers who push through nearly impossibly small passages of remote interiors of the earth; “Life Cycles,” a celebration of mountain biking; “Parking Garage: Beyond the Limit,” a spoof on the Discovery Channel Show “Everest: Beyond the Limit,”; “The Swiss Machine,” the story of Ueli Steck’s record-breaking ascents in the Alps, with aerial footage that captures him racing up 2,500-meter alpine faces; and “WildWater,” a journey into the mind and soul of white-water running.
Sloan calls “The Swiss Machine” an “edge-of-the-seat climbing (film showing) some of the highest walls in the world … it got the most rave reviews,” she said.
Last year, the Banff Mountain Film Festival debuted in Breckenridge, and it sold out (so get there early; you can buy tickets after 2 p.m. Saturday at the Riverwalk Center).
“It was the talk of the town,” Sloan said. “I couldn’t believe it … and this year, we’ve sold even more tickets (compared to this time last year).”
The private reception features food, drinks, live music by The Pine Beetles and an exclusive viewing of Banff’s photography contest.
All guests (VIPs or not) are eligible to win a Unity snowboard from a drawing during intermission.
Proceeds from the Breckenridge event support the BOEC’s general fund. 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.
“For (at-risk) kids, it helps with confidence and independence and comfort level (with outdoor sports),” she said. “It’s very therapeutic for each population.
“I think (the film tour) is a great deal and a way to experience (exciting films) and a way to help us – give something in return.” she said.
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