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Sports >  Outdoors

Banff Film Festival returning with in-person showing in Spokane

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 27, 2022

An outdoor film bonanza will return to Spokane after a year’s absence.

The Banff Film Festival will be in Spokane on Feb. 18 and 19 at the Bing Crosby Theater starting at 7 on both nights.

“It gives the Spokane outdoor community a way to get together in the winter season,” organizer Paul Fish said.

Last year’s in-person show was canceled for the first time in 30 years, and the films were instead streamed virtually.

This year’s tour has had plenty of hiccups, Fish said, with some shows not selling nearly as well as they normally would. There have been bright spots, too. The Sandpoint Banff show sold out.

There is still an option to watch the films online, Fish said.

This year’s film lineup is a solid mix of traditional outdoor adventure films and thoughtful environmental pieces.

In particular, Fish highlighted the film “Bear-Like,” about a researcher in Alaska who gets terrifyingly close to bears.

“It’s scarier than the ‘Alpinist,’ ” Fish said, referencing a 2021 film about Marc-André Leclerc, a Canadian climber known for climbing dangerous alpine routes without a rope.

Fish also highlighted the film “If You Give a Beach a Bottle,” about a filmmaker and artist’s efforts to clean marine debris off beaches in Alaska.

Fish said this year’s Banff lineup “returned to its roots.” After a number of outdoor adventure films have gone mainstream, “Free Solo” and “The Dawn Wall” leading the way, Fish said he noticed an increase in big, expansive films.

This year’s lineup features more intimate and personal stories, with plenty of impressive cinematography.

Below is the film lineup for each night:

Feb. 18

“Follow the Light”

Film synopsis, from Banff: From sunsets over dramatic landscapes to the illumination of hot air balloons and the warm ambience of Turkey, immerse yourself in this colorful adventure with riders Kilian Bron, Pierre Henni, Pierre Dupont and JB Liautard.

“Finally”

After two months of confinement, Ben Buratti, the prodigy of French freeskiing, needed to feel what he was capable of again. As a setting, he chose his home mountain of La Clusaz. What skier doesn’t dream of finding themselves completely alone on their home mountain?

“Bear-Like”

Two adventurers engage in close contact with grizzly bears in Alaska experiencing firsthand the struggle for survival and dramatic fighting scenes. Driven by a desire to explore the unknown, the film tells a personal story of wilderness, framed through breathtaking footage of these amazing creatures.

“If You Give a Beach a Bottle”

Inspired by a picture book, Max Romey heads to a remote beach on Alaska’s coastline in search of marine debris. What he finds is a different story altogether.

“Dream Mountain”

Watch international mountain guide Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita as she questions, then follows, her intuition on the most important expedition of all – her own life. In “Dream Mountain,” Pasang reflects on her personal highs and lows and rediscovers for herself just how much the mountains have meant to her. The film offers insights into her struggle to balance mountaineering with motherhood and the pressures of respecting her traditional culture while pushing boundaries as an elite female athlete.

“EM”

Emilie Pellerin has spent most of her adult life traveling the world and living a “dirtbag life.” She has honed her skills on the rock and in the process has become one of the world’s best onsight climbers and now she’s ready to put onsighting aside and try pushing her level on her hardest trad route yet, La Zébrée, a spectacular overhanging crack in Quebec.

“My Midsummer Morning”

In 1935, a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas, had hardly even left the quiet village he grew up in. His idea was to walk through the country, earning money for food by playing his violin in bars and plazas.

Nearly a century later, the book Lee wrote – “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning” – inspired Alastair Humphreys. It made him fall in love with Spain – the landscapes and the spirit – and with Lee’s style of travel. He traveled slowly, lived simply, slept on hilltops, relished spontaneity and loved conversations with the people he met along the hot and dusty road. For 15 years, Humphreys dreamed of retracing Lee’s footsteps, but could never get past the hurdle of being distinctly unmusical. This year, he decided to go anyway. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day.

Feb. 19

“Never in the Way”

Chicago-based bike messenger Nico Deportago-Cabrera sees city maps like a central nervous system. Everything’s connected. Roads and buses and people and cars, all carrying bits of information around a giant organism and making it live and breathe. “The point,” he says, “is to never be in the way.”

“Always Higher”

Lysanne Richard is one of the world’s best international competition high divers. But the 39-year-old Canadian mother of three is ready to focus on personal projects. First on the list is a 22-meter-high dive in the dead of winter over a frozen lake, a feat that has never been done. But will it be enough? Or will she try to make the challenge even more difficult? Watch as she continuously tries to push the limit further and explores her reasons why.

“A Foreign Native”

A professional skier leaves his familiar world behind and spends close to a year in Iran. When military activity ramps up in January and COVID-19 hits in February 2020, his journey takes a very different route. Learning Farsi and playing the Tanbur, he goes to explore the South of Iran with his new and old friends.

“Markus Eder’s The Ultimate Run”

What if you could link every powder turn, every rail, every cliff drop, every comp run and every kicker nailed into one ultimate run? Well, Eder did just that in “The Ultimate Run.”

“Izembek”

There has been pressure for nearly four decades to build a road through Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Gerrit Vyn explores the area to document its wildlife and wilderness, before it’s too late.

“Reel Rock 15: Deep Roots”

Lonnie Kauk’s personal journey to honor his indigenous Yosemite roots and to connect with his legendary father by repeating his iconic climbs.

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