2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival to screen world’s best in outdoor, environment, adrenaline sports and cultural films

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Banff, Alberta, October 19, 2010 -- In the mid-1980s, Swiss guide Ruedi Beglinger moved to the remote mountains northeast of Revelstoke, B.C., and built an alpine lodge by hand, creating one of the most respected backcountry guiding outfits in the world and establishing an enviable mountain life on his own terms. In January of 2003, an avalanche swept through one of Beglinger’s ski groups, killing seven. The reporting on this high-profile event didn’t get under the surface of the guide’s life, how it affected him and his family, and how he’s lived since. In November, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will screen A Life Ascending, a new feature-length documentary that travels deep into Beglinger’s world, uncovering an iconoclastic life above 6300 feet.   

A Life Ascending is one of 64 film finalists chosen for the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival, which runs October 30 to November 7 at The Banff Centre in Banff, Canada. Over the nine-day festival, audiences will experience the world’s best films chronicling the passions and obsessions of mountaineers, endurance and extreme athletes, and environmental and cultural advocates.  

The Festival opens October 30 with the first weekend of film programming, including the North American premiere of Nanga Parbat, a narrative feature retelling the story of Gunther and Reinhold Messner and their first ascent of the Rupal face of the Himalayan peak. Cultural films include candid glimpses into little-seen societies: in Tibet with Summer Pasture and My Country is Tibet, and in Peru with Mi Chacra, which follows the day-to-day life of a porter on the Inca Trail. Canadian adventurers lost one of their own last winter when pioneer ice climber Guy Lacelle was killed in an avalanche during a climbing competition in Montana. La vie de Guy Lacelle tells his story, on and off the mountain.  

On November 2, the Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre will fill with a rowdy crowd of extreme sports fans for one of the week’s most popular screenings, Radical Reels. A full evening of the world’s best skiing, boarding, climbing, base jumping, whitewater, and mountain biking films includes Cedar Wright’s condensed climbing epic, Squamish in a Day, and Fly or Die from Sender Films, in which free solo climber Dean Potter adds base jumping to the mix.  

The Snow Show November 3 gets into deep powder with Desert River, a ski film set in the high country around Haines, Alaska, and Rev: A Buried Treasure, an onscreen love note to one of B.C.’s ultimate ski meccas – the town of Revelstoke. Teton Gravity Research’s Deeper takes on the backcountry snowboarder’s life, “all-night hikes, sleeping on peaks, camping 65 miles from civilization.”  

On Friday, November 5, the film festival resumes with two concurrent evenings of screenings, including The Asgard Project, introduced by director / producer Alastair Lee and featuring Brit climbing wunderkind Leo Houlding and a crew of extreme adventurers as they tackle the first free ascent of the north face of Mt. Asgard in Baffin Island. B.C.-based director/producer Anthony Bonello’s Azadi: Freedom goes into the uncharted ski territory of Kashmir, where the world’s highest skiable gondola sits in one of the world’s most militarized zones. And discover the secrets of old-growth forests in Taiwan as revealed in the North American premiere of Song of the Forest.  

On Saturday, November 6 and Sunday, November 7, full days of film screenings include Le Monde de Gaston Rébuffat, the legendary climber who brought beauty, poetry and charm to some of the world’s highest points. The Canadian premiere of Last Paradise travels through almost 50 years of adventure in the remotest regions of New Zealand. On the evening of November 6, the Festival will screen a trio of remote river films, including the Canadian premiere of WildWater, with its lush visuals and keen sense of adventure, The Ultimate Ride: Steve Fisher, which pursues the renowned kayaker on Africa’s Zambezi River, and Eastern Rises, that follows a fly-fishing adventure on never-been-fished-before rivers in Kamchatka.  

On Sunday, November 7, an international jury will announce the Best of the Festival awards. Jury members include U.S. outdoor adventure athlete and climber Jacqueline Florine, executive producer Bruce Glawson of Discovery Channel Canada, Australian filmmaker and journalist Susan Kelly, U.K. mountaineer John Porter, former director of the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, and celebrated French filmmaker/photographer Eric Valli.   

Created 35 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 60 films will screened during the nine-day festival, and an international jury will award over $40,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

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The 35th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival is presented by National Geographic, The North Face and Parks Canada; sponsored by Deuter, OR (Outdoor Research), Stones into Schools/Three Cups of Tea, Prima Loft, Tom's of Maine, PROBAR; with the support of MSR (Mountain Safety Research), Fernie Alpine Resort, Petzl, World Expeditions, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Equipment Co-op, CBC Radio Canada, the Calgary Herald, and the Alberta Foundation of the Arts.  

The 17th annual Banff Mountain Book Festival, presenting partners: National Geographic and Redwood Creek Wines; sponsored by Parks Canada, Deuter, Outdoor Research, Stones into Schools/Three Cups of Tea, PrimaLoft, Tom's of Maine, PROBAR; with assistance from the Alpine Club of Canada, Pages on Kensington, CBC Radio-Canada, the Calgary Herald, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.