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2021 Banff Mountain Film Competition Finalists

By Jess Elliott Posted on October 06, 2021
From the film La Liste, photo by Jeremy Bernard

Image from the film La Liste: Everything or Nothing © Jeremy Bernard 

BANFF, AB, October 6, 2021 – Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has chosen 76 films as finalists in the 2021 Banff Mountain Film Competition.

The world’s top films in adventure, environment, and adrenaline sports were received in competition – a total of 372 films from 36 countries around the world. 76 films from 12 countries have been selected as finalists by pre-screeners, with 18 World premieres, 9 North American premieres, and 14 Canadian premieres. View the full list of 2021 Banff Mountain Film Competition finalists here.

International jury members for this year’s Festival are:- documentary filmmaker, and film mentor Kesang Tseten (Nepal), filmmaker, and Festival Director of Mountainfilm, Telluride Suzan Beraza (USA), climber, writer, and filmmaker Paul Pritchard (Australia), writer, Devyani Saltzman (Canada), and filmmaker, Bachar Khattar (Lebanon).

Kudos to the filmmakers who continue to provide us with outstanding content year after year, even amidst a global pandemic. All indicators suggested that 2021 would not be a strong year for film completion with production crews and athletes in lock-down, but I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. The films submitted to this year’s competition are better than ever. 

Joanna Croston, Festival Director

Audiences will be able to see a great selection of online and in-person film screenings – here are some films not to be missed:


Torn (Canadian Premiere)
(USA, 2020, 91 mins)
Director: Max Lowe
Producer: Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Max Lowe, Chris Murphy
On Oct. 5, 1999, legendary climber Alex Lowe was tragically lost in a deadly avalanche on Shishapangma. Miraculously surviving the avalanche was Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, Conrad Anker, who went on to marry Alex’s widow and help raise his three sons. Now, Alex’s son, filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer Max Lowe, turns the lens on his own family as the body of his father is uncovered 17 years after his death.
Torn - Feature Film | Live (Sat Oct 30, Jenny Belzberg Theatre)
Torn - Feature Film | Live (Sun Nov 7, Lux Cinema Banff)
Torn - Feature Film | Virtual

Overland (Alberta Premiere)
(USA, 2020, 105 mins)
Director: Elisabeth Haviland James, Revere La Noue
Producer: Revere La Noue, Elisabeth Haviland James
Adventure unfolds across four continents as an eagle hunter, a hawk whisperer, and a falcon racer awaken an ancient art to connect to the wild that is fading out of sight and out of mind.
Overland and Films | Live (Sun Nov 7, Jenny Belzberg Theatre)
Overland - Feature Film | Virtual

The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness
(Austria, 2020, 44 mins)
Director: Myles Connolly, Florian Schulz
Producer: Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knoepfler
Imagine a place in the far north of Alaska that is vast, wild, and magical – where one of earth’s greatest natural spectacles unfolds. Princess Daazhraii Johnson of the Gwich’in tribe reveals the land that has sustained her people for untold generations. Journey with National Geographic photographer Florian Schulz on his five-year quest to film the elusive 200,000 strong Porcupine Caribou herd as it migrates to the Arctic Coastal Plain, one of the longest animal migrations on earth.
Moti Bagh and The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness - Feature Film | Live (Sun Oct 31, artsPlace, Canmore)
The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness - Feature Film | Virtual

Horse Tamer (Alberta Premiere)
(France, 2019, 85 mins)
Director: Hamid Sardar
Producer: Vivien Lemaignan
In the Darhat valley in northern Mongolia, the horses of nomadic tribes are disappearing. Bandits steal horses from their owners, and sell them for a few rubles in Russian slaughterhouses. But Shukhert, a vigilante Darhat horseman, pursues them relentlessly, all the way to the edge of Mongolian taiga, on the border with Siberia.
Horse Tamer - Feature Film | Live (Mon Nov 1, artsPlace, Canmore)
Horse Tamer - Feature Film | Virtual

Precious Leader Woman (World Premiere)
(Canada, 2021, 46 mins)
Director: Cassie De Colling
Producer: Hayley Morin, Mack Stannard
Hailing from the remote village of Alert Bay, British Columbia snowboarder Spencer O’Brien dedicated her life to becoming a world champion. But, being driven to win came at a cost. Snowboarding at the elite level was taking Spencer further from her Indigenous heritage than she realized. Precious Leader Woman tells Spencer’s story from childhood to the world stage, to coming full circle to embrace her identity as she pushes forward bringing her heart and soul to her next challenge, the backcountry.
Precious Leader Woman - Feature Film | Virtual

La Liste: Everything or Nothing (World Premiere)
(Canada, 2021, 70 mins)
Director: Eric Crosland
Producer: Malcolm Sangster
In 2016, Jérémie Heitz made a list of The Alps’ most iconic descents and skied them faster than they’d ever been skied before. The feat represented a complete reimagining of classic ski descents and a progression into a whole other level of freeriding. But in the words of legendary ski mountaineer, Sylvain Saudan: “You’ve done it in Switzerland, now you must do it in the world”. The feature documentary follows Jérémie and his trusted mountain partner Sam Anthamatten as they seek out ski descents in the planet’s highest mountain ranges.
Snow Show | Live (Sun Oct 31, Jenny Belzberg Theatre)
Snow Show | Live (Fri Nov 5, Lux Cinema Banff)
Snow Show | Live (Sat Nov 6, Lux Cinema Banff)
La Liste: Everything or Nothing - Feature Film | Virtual

The River Runner (Canadian Premiere)
(USA, 2021, 86 mins)
Director: Rush Sturges
Producer: Rush Sturges, Thayer Walker, Aidan Haley
The River Runner follows legendary expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren’s 20-year quest to be the first person to paddle the four great rivers that originate from Tibet’s sacred Mount Kailash. The film is not simply a jaw-dropping adventure, but also an intimate portrait of Lindgren as he navigates the terrifying terrain of trauma, addiction, and a life-threatening brain tumor.
The River Runner - Feature Film | Live (Sun Nov 7, Lux Cinema Banff)
The River Runner - Feature Film | Virtual

Find out more about the 2021 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festivals lineup of films and speakers, the schedule for the live and virtual events, “how to” watch, festival tips, and live Q&A with Festival Director Joanna Croston on Friday October 8, 12:30pm MT.

The Festival schedule is now available online and passes and tickets can be purchased at or Banff Centre Box Office (tickets for live in-person events in Banff from $15-$25 CAD, early bird virtual passes $125 CAD available until October 15).

Covid Safety: In accordance with Alberta's Restriction Exemption Program, attendees at Banff Centre events will be required to provide proof of full vaccination, proof of a negative rapid test result or proof of exemption prior to entry to the building. Once inside, mask use will be mandatory in the theatre lobby, restrooms, and other public areas, and may be removed only when consuming beverages while seated in the theatre. Covid safety regulations and protocols are subject to change without notice. See all safety measures here:

If you’d like to provide media coverage of the 2021 Festival, please submit a media accreditation application form (submissions open until October 16). 

For more information or image requests, please contact:

Jess Elliott
Media and Communications
Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, Alberta
T1L 1H5        

About Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 46 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival hosted by Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada, showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and explorers as presenters and speakers. International juries will also award over $40,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions.

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Partners: The 2021 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Presenting Partners are: Rab, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, and BUFF®. The Festival is also sponsored by Oboz Footwear, Yeti, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Doña Paula, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, and Lowe Alpine.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.