Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival


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Fact Sheet

Banff Mountain Film Festival
World Tour and Radical Reels Tour

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival – a flagship program of Film and Media at The Banff Centre – is one of the most prestigious mountain festivals in the world and is a founding member of the International Alliance for Mountain Film. The Festival, which began in 1976 and has included a Mountain Book component for the past 18 years, showcases a selection of outstanding adventure, exploration and mountain culture speakers, films, books, and photographs from around the world during a nine-day period each autumn in Banff, Canada. The Festival is an international, competitive event that awards over $50,000 in prizes, both in cash and services.

For more information on the Festival, see below or visit our “About” page.

What is the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour?

Immediately following the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in November, a selection of the top films submitted to the Festival go on a tour around the world. Host organizations in each tour location choose a program that reflects the interests of their community, creating a unique celebration of adventure and adventurers at each stop.

The World Tour spans the globe, reaching over 430,000 audience members through more than 940 screenings in 500 locations in 40 countries. Many of the tour screenings benefit local outdoor programs, community causes, or nonprofit organizations. Some of the causes supported by the tour include bursaries for outdoor pursuits, adventure programs for disadvantaged children, search and rescue operations, climbing clubs, youth ski programs, and trail maintenance groups.

Check the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival website for World Tour locations, dates, and local host contact details.

What is the Banff Mountain Film Festival Radical Reels Tour?

In addition to the regular World Tour screenings, audiences in Canada and the USA can see a special selection of high-energy action sports films at about 100 screenings of the Radical Reels Tour. Visit the Radical Reels Tour website for more information and the Radical Reels Tour schedule.


Events featured over the nine days include:

Film screenings — A wide range of films are screened, from 5-minute shorts to feature-length films including many premieres. Dozens of filmmakers are in attendance to introduce their films. Over 300 films are entered into the Banff Mountain Film Competition each year, and the best are screened to the public during the Festival. Our International Jury announces the Film Competition award winners on the final night of the Festival, handing out more than $50,000 in prizes.

Guest speakers — World-renowned adventurers, explorers, authors, conservationists, and filmmakers take to the stage in Banff, appearing in a variety of events, including literary readings, “Hot Topic” panel discussions, presentations, and slideshows on the big stage. Speakers have ranged from true legends like mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary and Reinhold Messner to avant-garde alpinists like Ueli Steck and Alex Honnold.

Additional speakers through the years have included:

  • In 2002, blind mountaineer Erik Weihenmeyer telling his tale of summiting Mt. Everest.
  • In 2004, writer and adventurer Aron Ralston telling the story of saving his own life in the remote canyons of Utah.
  • In 2006, author Nando Parrado retelling his first-had account of the 1972 Andes plane crash.
  • In 2009, conservationist Mike Fay explaining the plight of the California Redwoods.
  • In 2011, one of the world’s first woman solo adventurers, Dervla Murphy, sharing tales spun from travels on two wheels and on two feet.
  • In 2014, Yvon Chouinard, conservationist and Patagonia clothing founder, presenting the film DamNation which goes behind the myths surrounding hydro energy to explore the economic, environmental and cultural value of a river.

Mountain Art & Craft Sale — This colourful sale spans the Festival’s Opening weekend, and features unique mountain-themed gift items made by regional artisans, including original artwork, pottery, jewelry, weavings, woodwork, handbags, and more.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Tradeshow — An exhibition featuring the latest in gear and apparel, mountain organizations, and adventure travel. There are also opportunities to purchase top-selling mountain books and have them signed in-person by authors and adventurers.

Exhibitions — Each year, a selection of artists’ works are mounted in various venues throughout The Banff Centre and the Banff townsite, including historical memorabilia, artist retrospectives, and the winners of the annual Banff Mountain Photography Competition.

FREE events allow audiences to rub shoulders with those at the top of the field, including “Hot Topic” noon-hour seminars, “Big Topic” breakfast conversations, and a wide-range of learning opportunities and workshops.


The Banff Mountain Film Competition is an international film competition featuring the best moving footage of mountain and adventure content from around the world. Hundreds of films from approximately 30 countries are entered into the competition each year. A pre-screening committee selects approximately 60 to 70 finalists to be screened throughout the Festival. During the Festival in Banff, an international jury presents awards to the best films in 12 distinctive categories. Over $42,000 in cash, services, and prizes is awarded. The films range from productions created by first-time filmmakers to professional crews working with companies like the BBC and National Geographic. The categories include: Grand Prize, The Banff Centre Award for Creative Excellence, The Banff Centre Audio Post Production Scholarship, Exploration and Adventure, Climbing, Mountain Sports, Mountain Environment, Mountain Culture, Mountain Wildlife and Natural History, Short Mountain Film (under 15 minutes), and Feature-Length Mountain Film (documentary or fiction).

Audience members select the winner of the People’s Choice Award and Radical Reels’ People’s Choice Award.


Each year, the Festival brings the spirit of outdoor adventure and the tradition of mountain literature to Banff, uniting writers, publishers, editors, photographers and readers. The Banff Mountain Book Competition is an internationally-recognized literary competition.

A pre-selection committee spends hours reviewing the more than 100 books entered into the competition and an international jury presents awards to winning titles in four categories (Adventure Travel, Mountain Guide Books, Mountain Image, and Mountain and Wilderness Literature). Over $6,000 in cash and prizes is awarded.


The Banff Centre is Canada’s creative leader in arts and culture. Our mission is Inspiring Creativity. In our powerful mountain setting, exceptional artists and leaders from around the world create and perform new works of art, share skills and knowledge in an interdisciplinary environment, explore ideas, and develop solutions in the arts, leadership, and the environment

In addition to the fall Festival and the two touring programs (Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and Radical Reels Tour), other mountain-related programs at The Banff Centre include: Banff Mountain Photography Competition; Banff Adventure Filmmakers’ Workshop; Banff Adventure Photography Workshop; and the Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program.


Banff is located in the province of Alberta, Canada, about 130 km west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. The Town of Banff is situated in Banff National Park, which is part of the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Banff is Canada’s oldest and most popular national park.


The 37th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Presenting Partners include National Geographic, The North Face; sponsored by Deuter, OR (Outdoor Research) PrimaLoft, Thermarest; with the support of MSR (Mountain Safety Research), Petzl, World Expeditions, and Kicking Horse Coffee.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is a founding member of the International Alliance for Mountain Film.


Details about the Banff Mountain Festival and mountain programming at The Banff Centre are available at


Louise Healy
Media and Communications Officer
The Banff Centre
phone: 403.762.6395; fax: 403-762-6158