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Banff Film Festival continues through weekend

Laura Umthun Correspondent

This year’s Banff Film Festival takes viewers on a solo trek across Australia, down deep-powder ski slopes in Nelson, B.C., and follows the humorous pursuits of a weekend snowboader.

Films once again will be shown in Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene this year thanks to Michael Boge, the local Banff Mountain Film Festival organizer who has been bringing films to the area for the last seven years.

Tonight is the last chance to see seven of the films at Sandpoint’s Panida Theater. Eight films will be shown at North Idaho College’s Boswell Auditorium on Sunday. Showtime for all the films is 7 p.m.

Filmgoers generally agree a “certain kind of energy” is released during the showing of Banff fest films.

“Part of the energy comes from the massive outpouring of creativity showcased during the festival,” says Bernadette McDonald, vice-president of the Banff Centre, located in Banff, Alta.

“It’s hard to resist stories that entertain, educate, and help us aspire to new levels of involvement as the filmmakers and authors bring us along on their journeys – to wild places, with world-class athletes and brave adventurers.”

One of the festival highlights this year is Jon Muir’s “Alone Across Australia.”

“It is a story of extreme endurance and survival, and was Muir’s fourth attempt to become the first person to cross the continent unsupported,” Boge says.

During the 128 days Muir spent crossing the Australian continent in 2001, he lived on small amounts of rice, flour, and muesli, supplemented by whatever he could shoot, catch or forage. Muir ate termites, bull rush greens, wild duck, dried lizard, a piece of a dead cow, spit-roasted snake and about 50 types of native bush fruits and vegetables along the 2,500-kilometer walk.

Another highlight is “Sinners – A Powder Art Film.”

” ‘Sinners’ is an ode to deep powder and the sheer love of skiing, and most of the footage is originates from the Whitewater Ski and Winter Resort in Nelson,” Boge says. “There are shots of big air, hard landings, and incredible aerial maneuvers but ‘Sinners’ also boasts an awesome vibe partially inspired by a solid soundtrack.”

In addition to the films, 16 winners of the 2003 Banff Mountain Photography Competition will be exhibited during the shows.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $10. A portion of the proceeds from the Sandpoint showings benefit the new Mickinnick Trail, and a portion of the proceeds in the Coeur d’Alene showings benefit the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation.

The Centennial Trail Foundation will also be selling raffle tickets for an Electra Classic Bicycle that will be given away during intermission.

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