Media Release


For immediate release
November 5, 2006

Story of man versus tiger takes Mountain Film Festival Grand Prize

Conflict Tiger, a compelling documentary about the pursuit of a Siberian tiger suspected of killing two men, has taken the Grand Prize at this year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival. Directed and produced by Sasha Snow, Conflict Tiger (UK/Sweden) pits the pressing demands of human survival against an endangered species and a threatened environment.

“Direction, photography, editing, sound, and music are combined in this film to achieve a masterpiece,” says jury member Emmanuel Priou. “The strong and personal vision of the director allows us to understand the complicated relationship between man and nature.” “Conflict Tiger is a parable,” adds fellow jury member Bill Noble, “in which man becomes the hunted.”

The 2006 Banff Mountain Film Festival jury included Priou, a French film producer, and Noble, a Canadian filmmaker, as well as U.K.-based photographer John Beatty, founding executive vice president and executive producer of Outside Television Les Guthman, and Spanish alpinist Edurne Pasaban.

The award for Best Short Mountain Film goes to Cobra Crack (Canada), directed by Sonnie Trotter, in which Trotter free climbs Squamish, British Columbia’s, 40-metre Cobra Crack. “This film records an historic first ascent of the world’s hardest traditional climb,” says Noble. “It succeeds in putting you in the place of the climber, capturing both the excitement of the attempt and his dedication to the sport.”

Cherub of the Mist (India), directed by Naresh Bedi, takes the 2006 award for Best Film on Mountain Environment. “This film is a technical tour de force by two eminent filmmakers working in extremely challenging conditions,” says Beatty. “It tells an important story about the struggle for survival of the red panda, a critical indicator species threatened by deforestation in the eastern Himalaya.”

The Alpine Club of Canada award for Best Film on Climbing goes to L’homme qui revient de haut (Return from the Heights) (France), directed by Gilles Perret. The film records the journey of French alpinist Marc Batard as he comes to terms with his homosexuality. “This film tells a very personal story with a universal theme,” says Noble. “It provides profound insight into the motivation that drives people to climb big peaks.”

A film that takes viewers into the lives of a Mongolian nomad family takes the award for Best Feature-length Mountain Film. The Cave of the Yellow Dog (Germany) is directed by Byambasuren Davaa. “The simplicity and beauty of this film — telling a story of everyday life and of good and bad choices and their consequences — is very moving,” says Priou.

The award for Best Film on Mountain Sports goes to Fatima’s Hand (Germany). Directed by Jens Hoffmann, it follows an attempt to climb and BASE jump from a mountain in one of the poorest areas of Mali. “Rarely does elegant filmmaking combine with a world-class extreme expedition and a passionate social conscience to produce a film with the mesmerizing power of Fatima’s Hand,” says Guthman.

Balapan — Wings of Altai (France), directed by Hamid Sardar, takes the 2006 award for Best Film on Mountain Culture. “With spectacular imagery, Hamid Sardar takes us to Mongolia to witness a dying cultural practice driven by a background of necessity,” says Beatty. The film follows Sheik Pawli, a famous eagle master, as he struggles to keep his herds safe from wolves.

The People’s Choice Award, chosen by the festival audience, goes to Asiemut (Canada). In the film, directors Olivier Higgins and Mélanie Carrier embark on an 8000-kilometre bike trip from Mongolia to Nepal — a journey of wonder, hardship and discovery. Asiemut was also chosen for a Special Jury Mention. Despite limited resources and budgets,” says Pasaban, “these first-time filmmakers have created a film and story that we can all identify with.”

Two other films were also selected for Special Jury Mentions:

Aweberg (Canada), produced by Will Gadd, takes viewers along on a daring — and somewhat foolhardy — attempt to climb icebergs. “This short film represents in a microcosm the spectacular, the audacious, and the pure play that is at the essence of mountain sports,” say Beatty.

The Giant Buddhas (Switzerland), directed by Christian Frei, documents the destruction of 1,600-year-old Buddhas carved into the cliffs of the Bamiyan Valley. “There is no more important film at the festival this year,” says Guthman. “The Giant Buddhas is a chilling meditation on the destruction of sacred art and culture by religious fundamentalists; a crime against humanity, of course, that is not limited to Afghanistan.”

The Banff Centre Audio Post-Production Award was awarded to the producers and directors of Cherub of the Mist. This award provides up to $10,000 in audio post-production resources at The Banff Centre for a future film production.

The 31st annual Banff Mountain Film Festival screened 60 finalist films chosen from 324 entries from 37 countries.

The 2007 festival takes place October 27 to November 4. Entry forms will be available in spring 2007 on the Festival’s web site at www.banffmountainfestivals.ca.

— 30 —

Downloadable images from the winning films

Details on winning films

Award Sponsors:

The $4000 Banff Mountain Festival Film Grand Prize award is sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-op.
The Best Film on Mountain Environment Award ($2000) is sponsored by Patagonia.
The People’s Choice Award ($2000) is sponsored by Ortovox.
The Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing ($2000) is sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada.
The Best Film on Mountain Sport Award ($2000) is sponsored by Big Rock Brewery.
The Best Short Mountain Film Award ($2000) is sponsored by is sponsored by GORE-TEX products.
The Best Film on Mountain Culture Award ($2000) is sponsored by PETZL.
The Best Feature-length Mountain Film Award ($2000) is sponsored by Lowepro.


Media Contact
Jill Sawyer
Media and Communications Officer, The Banff Centre
403.762.6475


The 31st Banff Mountain Film Festival is presented by National Geographic and Dunham, and sponsored by Patagonia, Deuter, OR, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Polartec, with assistance from MSR, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, PETZL, World Expeditions, Mountain Equipment Co-op, CBC, the Calgary Herald and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.