Australians’ South Pole adventure, Crossing the Ice, awarded 2012 Banff Mountain Film Competition Grand Prize

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Banff, Alberta, November 4, 2012 -- Crossing the Ice tells the tale of Australian adventurers and childhood friends, James Castrission and Justin Jones, as they dare to tackle the perilous journey across Antarctica to the South Pole and back again, completely unassisted – just two men dragging their food and shelter across 1,140 kilometres of barren ice. Many have tried; all have failed. After much planning and preparation, Cas and Jonesy arrive to tackle one of the last great Antarctic odysseys, but discover an eerie similarity to Captain Scott’s race to the South Pole: there’s a Norwegian on the ice. He’s more experienced, he’s tackling the same record, and he has a head start.

The film Crossing the Ice has won the Grand Prize at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, and has also been chosen Best Film in the Adventure and Exploration category. Audiences at the Festival clearly loved the film as well, awarding it the People’s Choice Award.

We found the humour and humanity in the face of incredible adversity an important element in this film,” said filmmaker and jury member Tommy Heinrich of the Grand Prize winner, sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-op. “What could have become a competition, evolved into a greater example of camaraderie and friendship -- reflecting the true spirit of the Banff Mountain Festival.”

Created 37 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films, books, and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, wildlife, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers.

The 79 films chosen as finalists this year, selected from 370 films entered in competition from 34 countries, were screened during the nine-day festival. An international jury awarded more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes in 12 categories tonight.

Category winners for the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival include:

The Banff Centre Award for Creative Excellence (provided by The Banff Centre)   Petzl RocTrip China
Producer / Directors: Vladimir Cellier, Julien Nadiras, Guillaume Broust, Petzl (France)

Best Feature-length Mountain Film — Sponsored by Town of Banff   Ready to Fly     
Producers: Scott Zeller, William A. Kerig, Director: William A. Kerig, Salt Mine Storyworks (USA)

Best Film — Exploration and Adventure – Sponsored by Nemo  Crossing the Ice 
Producers: Justin Jones, Greg Quail, Doug Howard, Director: Justin Jones, Quail Television (Australia)

Best Film — Mountain Culture – Sponsored by Bow Valley Power:  Nomadic Nights    
Producer / Director: Marianne Chaud, ZED – Zoo Ethnological Documentary, Arte France Cinema (France)

Best Film — Mountain Environment – Sponsored by Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative  Hell’s Miners of Potosi 
Producers: Jean Queyrat, Jean Queyrat, Jerome Segur, Director: Jean Queyrat, ZED – Zoo Ethnological Documentary (France)

Best Film — Climbing – Sponsored by Alpine Club of Canada  REEL Rock 7: Honnold 3.0  
Producer / Directors: Peter Mortimer, Josh Lowell, Alex Lowther, Nick Rosen, Sender Films, BigUp Productions (USA)

Best Film — Mountain Sports – Sponsored by Live Out There   1st Afghan Ski Challenge
Producer: Alex Wohlgroth, Director: Hans-Urs Bachmann, HalsundBeinbruch Film  (Switzerland)

Best Film — Mountain Wildlife and Natural History – Sponsored by ExOfficio  Untamed Americas: Mountains
Producers: Jonathan Halperin, Karen Bass, James Byrne, Erin Reuss, National Geographic Television (USA)

Best Short Mountain Film — Sponsored by The North Face   REEL Rock 7: Wide Boyz
Producer/Director: Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, Sender Films, BigUp Productions (USA)

Special Jury Mention —   Industrial Revolutions
Producer: Mike Christie, Director: Stu Thompson, A Cut Media Production for Renegade Films (UK)

Special Jury Mention —    Gone Curling
Producer/Director: Rachael Patching, Roland Kahurangi (New Zealand)

People’s Choice Award — Sponsored by Buff  Crossing the Ice 
Producers: Justin Jones, Greg Quail, Doug Howard, Director: Justin Jones, Quail Television (Australia)

People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels — Sponsored by Bergans of Norway   REEL Rock 7: La Dura Dura
Producer/Director: Josh Lowell, Brett Lowell, Peter Mortimer, Alex Lowther, Nick Rosen, BigUp Productions, Sender Films (USA)

The Dolby Audio Scholarship, chosen by Dolby Digital sound engineer Charlie Robinson, was given to Of Souls + Water: Shapeshifter (Producer: Anson Fogel, Director: Skip Armstrong, Forge Motion Pictures, USA). The purpose of the award is to help filmmakers produce surround DVD soundtracks for their projects while helping The Banff Centre further its goals in audio education and quality sound. The award provides $10,000 in studio services and staff expertise in the Centre’s facilities.  

Jury members for 2012 included development/distribution executive Kathryn Bonnici of Spain; CEO of US television production/distribution company Principal Media, David Brenner; alpinist/photographer Tommy Heinrich from Argentina; Charlie Robinson of Dolby Research in the US; Dale Templar, UK-based television producer/director; and Canadian television executive/interactive pioneer, Cindy Witten.

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About the Banff
Mountain Film and Book Festival:
 Created 40 years ago,
the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its
kind in the world. The Festival 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 extreme sports as presenters and
speakers. More than 80 films screen during the nine-day festival, and an
international jury awards over $50,000 annually in prizes.  

About
The Banff Centre:
 The Banff Centre's mission is
inspiring creativity. Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from
across Canada and around the world participate in programs at The Banff Centre
every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, The Banff Centre provides
them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make
the impossible possible. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate the art
and ideas developed in Banff through initiatives in digital, web, radio, and
broadcast media.