This was my third year attending the BANFF Mountain Film Festival in St. Louis, MO and it was another exciting tour that continued to extended the arts through adventure. On this 2017/2018 World Tour, there are 37 films being displayed. Each tour shows a standard program between six and ten films. I was able to see eight on this tour at The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries. Below is a brief summary of my thoughts on each film I watched that night. Enjoy!
This is a short 6-minute thrill ride, featuring poetic and artistic viewpoints of one man traveling through the traverse volcanic fields, exploring hidden lava caves, and racing down rivers of ice. DreamRide 2 captures the wonders of the first flick, while also expanding on the scenery and creativity.
Yvonne Dowlen, 90, has been ice skating for as long as she can remember. In Edges, we experience what keeps Dowlen going and how she finds beauty and balance in skating. Tugging on your heartstrings, Edges is a ripe 9-minute short film that celebrates a life that was well lived. As Dowlen’s stories are unveiled on screen, we see memories blossom before our very eyes. It was a stunning biopic and she left an inspiring legacy. Yvonne M. Dowlen July 5, 1925 – May 2, 2016.
Winner of Best Short Mountain Film, Johanna dives under surreal wonders. This 4-minute gem shares the point-of-view of a free-diver named Johanna. She dives under the ice into a calming environment that helps heal her injuries. You’ll be star-struck by it’s astonishing cinematography and vivid beauty.
Loved By All: The Story of Apa Sherpa:
Apa Sherpa has climbed Mount Everest 21 times. Having grown up in the remote Khumbu region of Nepal, Apa was forced to leave school and work as a porter at the age of 12. For Nepal’s rural people, the income earned as a high-altitude porter conflicts with their dreams made possible through an education. Loved By All, is an engaging story on the hardships for the Nepal people. Struck by gorgeous camerawork and a heartfelt narrative, we see Apa’s story gain magnitude. All he wants is for his people is for them to be able to have a proper education in life, as he makes his quest to accomplish it.
Maureen Beck has never let the fact that she is missing her lower left arm hold her back from climbing. Beck doesn’t want to be considered a “good one-armed climber,” or a “good female climber.” In the end, she just wants to be a plain “good climber.” Stumped is a foul-mouth infused party fest, as we climb with Beck and her efforts to climb a 5.12. Stumped is also a hilarious, wild ride as Beck spews off humor and language to keep her motivated climb after climb.
“When it comes to being Stumped, the point is you should try things that are ‘too hard,’ because sometimes if you chip away at it, it’ll work out,” Beck said. “The other thing we ended up accidentally doing with this film is kind of telling the anti-inspiration story. There are so many movies and clips out there about adaptive sports people or adaptive figures, it leaves you warm and fuzzy and everything works out in the end. We wanted this film to be, we’re climbers first, I am a woman climber second, and then, oh by the way, I happen to have one hand. The part that’s adaptive is a really small part of who I am.”
Into Twin Galaxies – A Greenland Epic:
Probably my favorite feature of the night, Into Twin Galaxies is an incredible adventure about three remarkable people who travel over 1000 kilometers of the Greenland Ice Cap. They do this by walking, kite skiing and kayaking. Of course, there’s always trouble along the way. One of the members gets injured during the kite skiing and when they finally make it to the river, it’s frozen solid. Winning the Special Jury Mention and clocking in at a lengthy 52-minutes, Into Twin Galaxies is a magnificent journey that proves to us adventure is really out there.
American skier Aaron Rice sets out to ski 2.5 million, human-powered, vertical feet in the backcountry. If he achieves this goal, Rice will hold the new world record. 2.5 Million is a story about strength, motivation and determination. Rice is a man of his game, as he sets out to conquer the world. It’s a stunning flick, lasting a brisk 22-minutes.
Where The Wild Things Play:
"There's an ongoing dialogue of asking why aren't there more females in the adventure industry?" Well, Where The Wild Things Play shows us where these strong female athletes are seeking out their next adventure. Whether it’s in big mountain skiing, climbing, or whitewater kayaking, Where The Wild Things Play plays all the cards. Giving us strong female protagonist(s) with the motivation to conquer anything. It’s a rally cry for women athletes everywhere.