Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Banff Mountain Film Festival hits Spokane with big-screen adventure

The scenery, wildlife, skills and pucker factor of outdoor adventure will grace the big screen at the Bing Crosby Theater next weekend.

Fresh from the 41st annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, a World Tour of films is coming to Spokane.

The road show of films that were screened and judged in Banff, Alberta, has become an anticipated annual happening at towns and cities across North America and beyond.

The Friday and Saturday showings in Spokane sold out two weeks ago, but some tickets may still be available at Mountain Gear, 2001 N. Division, for next Sunday’s showing.

A different lineup will be shown each night, featuring a range of exhilarating and provocative films that explore life in the mountains, on the waters and in the skies.

About 18 films will be showing in Spokane over three days highlighting remote cultures, intense expeditions into exotic landscapes and bringing action sports into focus.

“I’m excited to confirm the film that won the People’s Choice award in Banff will be available to show in Spokane,” said Phil Bridgers of Mountain Gear, which sponsors the World Tour of festival films at the Bing.

“ ‘SHIFT’ is an incredibly good film about young people building world-class mountain biking trails to give a boost to their dying community in the Yukon.”

Bridgers joined the crowd at the Oct. 29-Nov. 6 festival in Alberta to get the buzz and see the top films during the sold-out shows and events.

“I saw 29 films in three days, about 25 hours worth, plus listening to the festival speakers,” he said. “It’s a marathon to watch them, but nothing compared with the amazing adventures some people are taking in the films.”

While the complete lineup of films authorized for the tour won’t be known until Friday, Bridgers has already tapped a few of his favorites from the shows he saw in Banff.

“The Accord,” features surfers who abandon the comforts of tropical waters to confront the harsh cold of waves and formidable wind in the North Atlantic. The 19-minute film won Banff’s award for creative excellence.

“It has a good pace and it’s funny,”

Two surfers are the protagonists. The antagonist is the unpredictable and relentless North Atlantic wind.

“ ‘Dog Power,’ is a super funny flick about a guy who wants to try skijoring with dogs and become a world champion,” Bridgers said.

“He picks out a Siberian husky puppy but realizes after two years that it wants nothing more than to be a big lazy dog; so he starts over.”

Even shows with an environmental message had upbeat people that brought the films to life, Bridgers said.

“Banff also owns the Radical Reels tour and it seems that most of the high-adrenaline, big hucks and massive waterfall drops are migrating to tht tour as the film festival grows,” he said. The World Tour will always have some adrenaline stuff, but it’s moving a little more to adventure travel, culture and some more thoughtful films, as well as funny stuff.”

Michael Boge of Mountain Fever in Sandpoint also attends the Banff festival each year to sample films he’ll schedule for the World Tour in Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene in January.

“It’s exciting to see what films these dreamers and adventurers have put their mind and effort to in the past year,” he said.

“Many of the films this year were very thought provoking, questioning what we do, how we do it and is it a good way to spend our time.”

Boge was especially impressed with several skiing films this year: “Not the huck your meat, I’m using a helicopter type of ski films, but instead very reflective thoughts of this passion with two sticks on the feet whether traveling through Iran, Bolivia, China, skiing for over 70 years, mountaineering, being in the back country or making your own skis out of wood for the kids in their backyard.

“For certain it was a refreshing take on a sport that so often gets taken in only one direction.”