Banff Mountain Film Competition announces 2019 Film Finalists

BANFF, AB, October 3, 2019 – Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is excited to announce that 100 films have been chosen as finalists in the Banff Mountain Film Competition.

The world’s top films in adventure, environment, and adrenaline sports were received in competition – a total of 442 films from 43 countries around the world. 100 films from 19 countries have been selected as finalists by pre-screeners, with 20 World premieres,15 North American premieres, and 23 Canadian premieres. View the 2019 Banff Mountain Film Competition finalists here.

On Sunday, November 3, an international jury will announce the Best of the Festival awards in 11 categories, and a selection of the winning films will be screened. Jury members for the 2019 Festival include Canadian filmmaker Niobe Thompson, president of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Lynn Robinson, Nepalese-based National Geographic explorer and filmmaker Ben Ayers, South Korean Billy Choi,  programmer for Ulju Mountain Film Festival, and German Joachim Hellinger, co-founder and managing partner of Moving Adventures Medien.

Audiences will once again see a great selection of films this year – here are some of the not to miss highlights: 

(USA, 2019, 90 min)                        
Director: Ross Kauffman              
Producer: Zara Duffy     
Half a century ago, in the jungles of India, a young forest officer rallied the world to save tigers from extinction. Today, the creed is carried on in Far East Russia by the guardians of the last Siberian tigers, who risk everything to save the species.
Morning Films (Oct 26)
All Day Films (Oct 26)
Lux – Tigerland (Oct 28)                                                    

Attla (World Premiere)  
(USA, 2019, 60 min)        
Director and Producer: Catharine Axley
Spanning his fifty-year dogsled racing career, Attla explores the life and persona of George Attla, from his childhood as a tuberculosis survivor in the Alaskan interior, to his rise as ten-time world champion and mythical state hero, to a village elder resolutely training his grandnephew to race his team one last time.
All Day Films (Oct 26)
Afternoon Films (Oct 26)                                                         

The Pathan Project (North American Premiere)   
(France, 2019, 43 min)       
Director: Guillaume Broust    
Producer: Jean Lou Wertz    
In a remote valley in Pakistan, a solid team of Belgian, French and Argentinian climbers are ready to combine exploration, music and good humor in their attempt to climb a new route up a big wall on an untouched massif.
Screening on Opening Night:
Climbing Through Barriers – and Films (Oct 26)

Queen without Land    
(Norway, 2018, 70 min)        
Director and Producer: Asgeir Helgestad        
This is a true story between Frost, a beautiful polar bear mother, and Asgeir Helgestad, a Norwegian wildlife filmmaker. It is a four-year cinematic journey to Svalbard where rising temperatures are responsible for dramatic changes in Frost’s ecosystem as the ice is melting at record speed.  Asgeir is determined to document all that is being lost, but his task his far from easy.
Morning Films (Oct 27)
All Day Films (Oct 27)
Lux –  Queen Without Land (Oct 29)

(USA, 2019, 75 min)        
Directors: Steve Jones, Todd Jones, Jon Klaczkiewicz    
Producers: Jon Klaczkiewicz, Brittany Gibeau, Drew Holt, Brett Hills    
Teton Gravity Research’s Winterland is a celebration of ski and snowboard culture as a new crop of modern-day pioneers eagerly etch their names in the annals of history. The technology and style might evolve, but the rush, excitement, and fun remain eternal – bonding past, present, and future riders.
Evening Films (Oct 27)

Manaslu – Mountain of the Spirit (North American Premiere)
(Austria, 2018, 100 min)    
Director and Producer: Gerald Salmina    
Renowned Everest record holder and skier Hans Kammerlander faces his demons 26 years after a tragic accident on Manaslu where one friend unexpectedly falls to his death and another is struck by lightning.
Manaslu – Mountain of the Spirit (Nov 2)

The River and the Wall  
(USA, 2019, 99 min)        
Director: Ben Masters
Producer: Hillary Pierce
Five friends venture into the wilds of Texas to travel 1,900 kilometres on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes along the Rio Grande as conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness while the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead.
Evening Films (Nov 2)

Piano to Zanskar (North American Premiere)
(UK, 2018, 86 min)        
Director: Michal Sulima    
Producer: Jarek Kotomski   
Facing his future in retirement, “sitting in deck chairs and eating lemon drizzle cake”, 65-year-old piano tuner, Desmond O'Keeffe, decides instead to take on the most challenging and perilous delivery of his four decade career: transporting a 100-year-old, 80-kilogram, upright piano, from bustling London to the remote heart of the Indian Himalayas.
Morning Films (Nov 3)
All Day Films (Nov 3, various venues)

Path to Everest
(Spain, 2017, 80 min)        
Directors: Josep Serra, Sébastien Montaz-Rosset    
Producer: Arcadia Motion Pictures & Mountainlife    
Follow famous runner and mountaineer Kilian Jornet to the top of the world in an intimate portrait that reveals his fears, doubts and his desire to keep seeking new challenges so that he can continue to dream, surrounded by the mountains and people who are his inspiration.
Chantel Astorga, Anne Gilbert Chase – and Films (Nov 2)
Lux – Path to Everest
 (Sat Oct 26)

8000+ (Canadian Premiere)
(Germany, 2018, 22 min)    
Directors: Christian Schmidt, Antoine Girad    
Producer: Luz  Marina Gennes    
From the town of Skardu, paraglider Antoine Girard sets off on a three-week hike and fly tour to explore the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan – alone. If he succeeds, he will set a new altitude record in paragliding.
 Andrzej Bargiel – and Films (Nov 2)

The 44th Annual Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place from October 26 – November 3, 2019 at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Over nine days, the Festival showcases tales of remote journeys, groundbreaking expeditions, and remarkable achievements, told by adventurers, photographers, authors, and filmmakers from around the world.

Highlights also include personal appearances by: Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, US climber Sasha DiGiulian, Swiss adventurer/explorer Sarah Marquis, US mountaineer/writer Mark Twight, Canadian climber Sharon Wood, and mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner.

For more information on the 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival and to view the schedule, please visit

If you’d like to provide media coverage of the 2019 Festival, please submit a media accreditation application form.

For more information and image requests, please contact:          

Jess Green
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 44 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival at 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. An international jury 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 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Presenting Partners are: Rab and Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. The Festival is also sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar & Company, Mountain House, Oboz Footwear, Yeti, BUFF®, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Kathmandu, Smartwool, NOLS, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, and MEC.

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.