BRECKENRIDGE – Watching the films at the Banff Mountain Film Festival is so rousing, it almost qualifies as a sport itself.
The festival has its own rating system for movies – it measures the adrenaline factor. Needless to say, most score high.
From the unscaled face of Mandela in New Guinea to the Karakoram mountains in Pakistan, the films take viewers on inspired journeys.
For the second year in a row, the best of Banff lands in Breckenridge with two different screenings of award-winning films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge.
The granddaddy of all mountain film festivals, the Banff Mountain Film Festival delivers the world’s best short outdoor adventure films, chosen from 263 entries and representing 31 countries.
The 4 p.m. show features “Front Range Freaks: Urban Ape,” “Cannibals and Crampons,” “WhiteTrax” and “Anomaly.”
In “Front Range Freaks: Urban Ape,” renowned Boulder climber Timmy O’Neill turns his hometown into a playground where he scales buildings, leaps across walls and generally hassles locals, all in the name of fun.
More than 175 cities host the Banff Mountain Film Festival, and “Urban Ape” was the most popular choice out of the 28 films available to tour. The film won the award for best short film at last year’s festival.
“This film is hilarious,” said film festival world tour coordinator Seana Strain. “Filmmaker Peter Mortimer has a knack for finding and recording the interesting characters in the climbing world.”
“Cannibals and Crampons” won the people’s choice award at last year’s festival.
“The people’s choice award winners tend to be some of the most popular films on the tour,” Strain said. “Bruce Parry and Mark Anstice endured incredible hardships as they traveled through the jungle to Mount Mandela. Mark and Bruce both spent extended periods in hospitals after the journey. Mark had vivax malaria and several unusual bacterium breeding in his leg. Bruce had vivax and falciporum malaria, salmonella and worms and visited more than four hospitals including the hospitals for tropical diseases in London and Frankfurt (Germany).
“The expedition travels through areas which still exist in the stone age where the locals were still using and making stone axes and bamboo knives, had no pots or pans and no idea of curing skins – no development of the wheel or whatever. The film was made in demanding conditions with a minimum of resources. It is a thought-
provoking account of encountering new cultures as well as an honest account of personal feelings.”
There’s nothing unusual about riding moguls, steep hardpack, snowboard parks and backcountry terrain in snowboard movies, but in “WhiteTrax,” Kris Holm rides the terrain on his unicycle.
“Anomaly” tells the story of Kevin Connolly, a 16-year-old champion ski racer who was born with no legs. It follows his preparations for the U.S. Disabled Alpine Championships in Big Sky, Mont.
The 8 p.m. screening features “The Essence of Adolescence,” “Shepherd Women of Shambala” and “M.”
Producer Daniel Kingsbury should know about the “Essence of Adolescence,” because he completed the film when he was 15. He had no budget. He just shot the local boys of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia with his camera and edited it on his home computer. He hopes to travel the world and work in the film industry as a director and editor.
“When “Essence of Adolescence’ was shown to the festival selection committee, the members were very impressed by the way the film was constructed, how well the soundtrack fit the images and the sense of humor,” Strain said. “Daniel Kingsbury, the filmmaker, was hoping that we would accept his film as an entry. He had no idea it would become a festival finalist, win an award and tour to more than 25 different countries.”
“This film was made by kids and features kids between the ages of 14 and 18 mostly,” Kingsbury wrote in an e-mail. “”Essence of Adolescence’ is a celebration of youth sport, music, culture and mountains. Mountains provide an adrenaline rush and freedom. This film is about the culture of teen-age boys in North America. In just under seven minutes, this film captures what life is all about for so many teen-agers.”
“Shepherd Women of Shambala” tells the story of one American woman’s intimate journey into a small group of Ismaili Muslim shepherd women living in the rugged passes of the Karakoram mountains in northern Pakistan.
The story focuses on breaking down barriers of language, customs and stereotypes and developing relationships through kindness. Director and producer Joy Tessman made the film in honor of her husband, who was a photographer with National Geographic but died while training for an expedition.
“M” showcases four of the best mixed-ice climbers in the United States. Denver resident Rich Purnell directed and produced the film and is one of the top innovative ice climbers in the nation. His films portray the new revolution of mixed and pure ice climbing, leashless climbing and difficult first ascents. The climbing is steep, and the footage ranges from The Designator and Lucky M11 in Vail to ice bouldering on Cascade Creek’s overhanging drips and smears.
Tickets are $15 for one show, $25 for both. All proceeds benefit the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. For tickets, call (970) 453-6422.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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