Becoming Who I Was takes Grand Prize at the 2017 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

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Scene from the film, Becoming Who I Was 

BANFF, AB, November 5, 2017 – The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is honoured to announce the film Becoming Who I Was, directed by Moon Chang-yong, has won the Grand Prize for the 2017 Banff Mountain Film Competition. 

Padma Angdu is ten years old. He is also a Rinpoche — a “Living Buddha” or reincarnate of a high Tibetan Lama reborn in Ladakh, India. His appointed destiny is to be reunited with his predecessor’s monastic order — but seemingly insurmountable geographic, political, financial, and existential obstacles lie between him and that goal. The usual trials and tribulations of fifth grader are nothing for Padma as he and his elderly guardian seek to overcome struggles when no disciples from his former monastery in Tibet come to claim him and, as a result, he is expelled from his local monastery. 

“The film takes its viewer on a strenuous journey, a journey begun when its characters are ostracized from their own community,” said Shannon O’Donoghue-Child, a member of the 2017 Banff Mountain Film Festival jury. “Facing immense burdens, including poverty, political upheaval and extreme geography, the protagonists are shown not only in poignant and intimate scenes of daily life, but also as small figures in expansive landscapes.” 

She added: “But what comes through from the opening scene to closing credits, more impactful than the hardships, is the overwhelming sense of humanity, the innocence of childhood, and the extraordinary bond between two people, whose love and support for each other transcend all the struggles they face. That element of hope was beautifully captured by the filmmakers.” 

Jury members in 2017 included adventure filmmaker Paul Diffley (UK), journalist and filmmaker Gilles Chappaz (France), producer Katie Moore ( UK), former Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Director Shannon O’Donoghue (US), and journalist Keme Nzerem (UK). 

Category winners for the 2017 Banff Mountain Film Competition include: 

Grand Prize – Sponsored by MEC

Becoming Who I Was 

(Republic of Korea, 2017, 96 min) 

Director and Producer: Moon Chang-yong  and Jin Jeon 

Production Company: Sonamu Films & Prosum 

Creative Excellence Award- Sponsored by The Camera Store 

Planet Earth II: Mountains

(UK, 2017, 60 min) 

Director and Producer: Justin Anderson 

Production Company: BBC Natural History Unit 

Best Film – Exploration and Adventure - Sponsored by Treksta 

Blood Road 

(USA, 2016, 96 min) 

Director: Nicholas Schrunk 

Producer: Sandra Kuhn 

Production Company: Red Bull Media House 

Best Film – Mountain Culture- Sponsored by Helly Hansen 

The Last Honey Hunter 

(USA, 2017, 36 min) 

Director: Ben Knight 

Producer: Ben Ayers, Renan Ozturk, Travis Rummel

Production Company: Felt Soul Media 

Best Film – Climbing - Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada 

Psycho Vertical 

(UK, 2017, 64 min) 

Director and Producer: Jen Randall 

Production Company: Light Shed Pictures 

Best Film – Mountain Sports- Sponsored by Experticity

Intersection: Micayla Gatto 

(USA, 2017, 5 min) 

Director and Producer: Lacy Kemp 

Production Company: Juicy Studios 

Best Film: Snow Sports - Sponsored by Boreale Explorers 

Imagination: Tom Wallisch 

(Canada, 2017, 4 min) 

Director: David Mossop 

Producer: Mitchell Scott 

Production Company: Sherpas Cinema 

Best Film – Mountain Environment and Natural History - Sponsored by lululemon 

Samuel in the Clouds 

(Belgium, 2016, 70 min) 

Director: Pieter Van Eecke 

Producer: Hanne Phlypo 

Production Company: Clin d’oeil Films 

Best Short Mountain Film - Sponsored by The North Face 


(UK, 2016, 4 min) 

Director and Producer: Ian Derry 

Production Company: Archer’s Mark 

Best Feature Length Mountain Film - Sponsored by the Town of Banff 

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey 

(USA, 2017, 95 min) 

Director: Dave O’Leske 

Producer: Jason Reid, Andy McDonough, Colin Plank

Production Company: Fred Beckey Film LLC 

Special Jury Mentions 

Into Twin Galaxies: A Greenland Epic 

(Germany, 2016, 52 min) 

Director: Jochen Schmoll 

Senior Producer: Niko Jäger

Producer: Nicola McQuiston 

Production Company: Red Bull Media House, Drehxtrem 

The Frozen Road 

(UK, 2017, 24 min) 

Director and Producer: Ben Page 

People’s Choice Award - Sponsored by Osprey 

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey 

(USA, 2017, 95 min) 

Director: Dave O’Leske 

Producer: Jason Reid, Andy McDonough, Colin Plank

Production Company: Fred Beckey Film LLC 

Next Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: October 27 to November 4, 2018 

For more information on the 2017 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, please visit

About Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 42 years ago, the Banff 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. An international jury will also award over $50,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions. 

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 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.