Sasha DiGiulian on The Shining Uncut 5.14. Photo: Peter Hoang

Mountain film world tour visits North Island

Leaves aren’t the only things falling at this time of year as awards for this year’s Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival land in the laps of some very talented authors and filmmakers.

The annual event took place from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 and saw some of mountaineering’s leading lights gather in Banff, Alberta. This year’s guest speakers included Reinhold Messner, arguably the greatest-ever mountaineer who was the first person to climb all the 14 mountains over 8,000 metres, including the first solo ascent of Mount Everest and the first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen.

The Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival was a week packed with workshops, presentations, social events and, of course, films. Now that the festival has drawn to a close, some of the best films from this year’s main festival are starting out on a journey to show them in over 550 communities worldwide, including here on Vancouver Island. Traveling to stunning landscapes and remote cultures, and bringing audiences up-close and personal with adrenaline-packed action sports, the 2019/2020 World Tour is an exhilarating and provocative exploration of the mountain world.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to Campbell River at the Tidemark Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and Thursday, Nov. 28 as well as playing at the Quadra Island Community Centre on Saturday, Nov. 30. The complex process of licensing and organizing the individual films to be shown on the tour is well underway and details of the films to be shown locally will be announced as soon as possible online at wildisle.ca

One of the award-winning films we’re hoping to see here is The Last Mountain, the true story of the 2018 Polish expedition’s attempt on K2, the only remaining unconquered Himalayan peak to be climbed in winter. Tensions run high and the expedition is pulled apart when team members must perform one of the most extraordinary high altitude rescue operations in history of mountaineering. The Last Mountain won the award for best film on climbing sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada.

“In this film, we can find almost everything that can happen during a high altitude expedition. Avalanche, injury, teamwork, ego and conflict. The director captures these unexpected and dramatic moments with a sharp yet dispassionate eye. This allows the audience to make their own judgement with calming distance.” — Billie Choi, jury member

Another film with topical local interest is the winner of Best Film: Mountain Environment & Natural History – Artifishal. This is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide towards extinction, threats posed by hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.

“Every once in a while, there is a film that influences the way we think, we love, we live. This documentary will probably change the way we eat. Facing the challenges of feeding an ever-growing population on our planet we humans are forced to come up with solutions. It is our tendency to believe that we can engineer our way out of any problem. And sometimes this seems to work. But when it comes to fish one has to look under the surface. With disturbing images of robot-controlled fish-farms and a well composed narrative, this film gives indisputable evidence that we are swimming in the wrong direction.” — Joachim Hellinger, jury member

Whichever films from the over 400 films entered into the annual festival that make it into the three local shows, audiences are guaranteed three evenings packed with eye-popping scenery, thought-provoking issues and adrenaline-soaked action. Don’t miss this annual highlight Nov. 27 and 28 at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River and Nov. 30 at the Quadra Community Centre. Shows all start at 7 p.m. Tickets are available now from the Tidemark Theatre box office or web site at www.tidemarktheatre.com. Keep up to date with details of the film program as it becomes available by finding the event on Facebook or at www.wildisle.ca.

A portion of the proceeds will go toward supporting the Campbell River Search and Rescue Society. See you there!

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