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Archives - Banff Mountain Film Festival Winners

Mysterious Mamberamo Wins Grand Prize at Banff
Mountain Film Festival

Mysterious Mamberamo, a film that tells a compelling story about the difficult and dangerous journey by two travellers into unknown and sometimes hostile territory in Irian Jaya, is the Grand Prize winner of the 2000 Banff Mountain Film Festival. The announcement was made on Sunday, November 5 as the 25th anniversary festival drew to a close.

The winning Slovakian film was directed and produced by Pavol Barabas. The Grand Prize award of $4,000 was co-sponsored by the Banff Centre for Management and Eagle Creek Travel Gear.

"Mysterious Mamberamo depicts a long and desperate journey over a tropical mountain amongst people never seen before by outsiders," says jury member Gretel Ehrlich. "A bold, raw, quiet window into a closed world."

"The film captures the pure essence of adventure filmmaking," adds jury member Roger Vernon. "It’s a solidly woven documentary that successfully draws the viewer into the jungle."

Film festival international jury members included: Arlene Burns (U.S.A.), Mireille Chiocca (France), Giorgio Daidola (Italy), Gretel Ehrlich (U.S.A.), and Roger Vernon (Canada). They selected the grand prize winner from 40 finalists in six categories. A pre-screening committee chose the finalists from 213 entries representing 24 countries.

Other 2000 Banff Mountain Film Festival winners include:

Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing: $2000 – sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada

Annapurna, l'histoire d'une légende (Annapurna – History of a Conquest)
(France, 1999)
Director: Bernard George, Producer: Luc Martin-Gousset

On the 50th anniversary of Maurice Herzog’s first ascent of Annapurna, this film approaches the adventure from a new point of view — that of the historian.

"A strong and engaging documentary," says jury member Mireille Chiocca. "This film is a fine analysis of an exploit that afterwards became a national event in France. The filmmaker has explored the very different motivation of the Annapurna climbers with exactitude and neutrality."

Best Film on Mountain Culture: $2000 – sponsored by Petzl America

The Sahara’s Secret Garden
(France, 2000)
Director: Gauthier Flauder, Producer: Manuel Catteau

This film travels to northern Chad, in the heart of the Sahara Desert, where a forgotten mountain massif shelters a flora and fauna of breathtaking beauty in its secret canyons.

"A perfect cocktail of respect for history, culture, true sense of discovering and exploration," says jury member Giorgio Daidola.

Best Film on Mountain Sports: $2000 – sponsored by

Shishapangma – A Celebration of Life
(USA, 1999)
Producers: Michael Brown, Claude Merkel, Kara Klein, Cherie Silvera, Executive producer: John Wilcox

This celebration of life in the mountains follows a trip to climb and ski on Shishapangma in Tibet. Tragically, Dave Bridges and Alex Lowe were lost in an avalanche on this expedition.

"The film captures the expedition’s social dynamics and enables us to understand the climbers’ invigoration and celebration of expedition life," says jury member Arlene Burns.

Best Film on Mountain Environment: $2000 – sponsored by Canadian Mountain Holidays

Mountain Rivals
(Netherlands, 1999)
Director/Producer: Rob Harrison-White

In the mountains of South Africa, black eagles must compete with their age-old rival, the caracal, who hunts the same prey. This is the true story of their desperate struggle to survive.

"This fine example of wildlife filmmaking exhibits the great patience required to photograph such challenging species," says jury member Roger Vernon.

Best Short Mountain Film (15 minutes or less): $2000 – sponsored by the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture

(Switzerland, 2000)
Directors: Didier Lafond, Dominique Perret, Producer: Vertical Zoo

Dominique Perret’s time-travelling ancestor takes a trip to the Film Library of planet Earth, where she relives a Y2K ski odyssey.

"This ‘futuristic’ approach reminds us of how special the fluid dance down the vertical white world is, and how much we would truly lose if all the snow melted," says jury member Arlene Burns. "Beautiful skiing footage with a unique perspective."

Best Feature-length Mountain Fiction Film: $2000 – sponsored by the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture

Premier de cordée and La grande crevasse
(Switzerland, 1999)
Directors: Pierre-Antoine Hiroz, Edouard Niermens, Producer: Dominique Rappaz, Production Companies: Gaumont TV, J.M. Henchoz Prod., RAI, F2, TSR

Based on the classic Roger Frison-Roche novel, La grande crevasse, these two films tell a story of bravery, tragedy, loyalty and love in the community of Chamonix at the end of the ’30s.

"Beautifully filmed and full of beautiful heroines, these are brilliant films that weave in a variety of issues that haunt the mountain life," says jury member Arlene Burns.

Special Jury Awards

The Dizzy Heights’ Knights
(Switzerland, 1999)
Directors: Fulvio Mariani, Gianluigi Quarti, Producer: Krysia Binek, Rebus; TSI

The three peaks of Lavaredo, in the Dolomites, feature the largest concentration of impressive overhangs in the Alps. Here, two climbers, Hugo Weber and Albin Schelbert, recall a competition that brought together top alpinists in an exciting challenge with an unexpected twist.

"This film exhibits wonderful storytelling in a humorous way, using archival footage and modern perspective by the old characters who, urged by local pride and a fair dose of testosterone, wanted to be the first to set routes on their local cliffs," says jury member Arlene Burns.

Yosemite – Ascending Rhythm
(USA, 2000)
Directors/Producers: Sterling Johnson, Ron Kauk

An elegant and poetic look at the art of rock climbing filmed in Yosemite, featuring world-renowned rock climber Ron Kauk, with Lynn Hill, Steph Davis, Dean Potter and Jerry Moffat.

"A beautifully photographed film. It’s evident that the filmmakers spent many hours looking for the best places to shoot in the best conditions," says jury member Roger Vernon.

People’s Choice Award: $2000 – sponsored by The Hostel Shop, Calgary, Alberta

A Higher Calling
(USA, 2000)
Director/Producer: Neal Michaelis

This film tells the story of six friends, whose goal is to fly cross-country together in western Nepal. Finding launches and landings develops into a daily routine, and the paragliders become vehicles into Nepalese culture as the group experiences instant immersion upon landing.



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